Ancient Monuments

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Haswell Colliery engine house, 180m north west of Plough Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Haswell, County Durham

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Latitude: 54.7738 / 54°46'25"N

Longitude: -1.4204 / 1°25'13"W

OS Eastings: 437383.300125

OS Northings: 542246.066856

OS Grid: NZ373422

Mapcode National: GBR LFJ7.9J

Mapcode Global: WHD5Y.48WQ

Entry Name: Haswell Colliery engine house, 180m north west of Plough Farm

Scheduled Date: 10 November 1969

Last Amended: 29 September 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018229

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30930

County: County Durham

Civil Parish: Haswell

Traditional County: Durham

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): County Durham

Church of England Parish: Haswell and Thornley

Church of England Diocese: Durham


The monument is situated to the east of Haswell Plough, 180m north west of
Plough Farm, and includes the ruins of a 19th century colliery engine house.
It is the only remaining building of a colliery which once extended over a
much larger area.
Coal mining at Haswell began in 1831 when the Haswell Coal Company, after
failed sinkings in the area, bought the rights to a neighbouring field from
the South Hetton Coal Company. Success soon followed and, with the
establishment of two separate pitheads, the first coal shipments took place in
1835. In 1844, however, disaster befell the colliery when an ignition of
fire-damp claimed the lives of 95 men and boys. The colliery continued to be
productive throughout much of the century until closure in 1896. The
surrounding colliery site has been landscaped and the monument, known locally
as the Haswell Arch, stands isolated as a memorial to the 1844 disaster.
The monument includes the remains of a beam pumping engine house of c.1830-
1840, a rare survival within the North East Coalfield. It is built largely of
random, roughly dressed and coursed Magnesian Limestone. Three external walls
remain standing, whilst the west wall will survive as a buried feature. The
surviving walls have an external batter widening to a base approximately 2m
thick. The east wall stands to the eaves line and has a large top floor
opening through which the beam of the engine originally passed. A smaller
opening, situated immediately below, is thought to have provided access to the
condensing equipment. The wall includes a number of other features which
provide important evidence for the design and operation of the engine house.
Both the north and south walls are less complete with the west ends no longer
visible above ground. They do, however, include a number of openings and joist
sockets which are important indicators of internal engine house design. The
south wall has openings on the lower and middle floors, whilst the north wall
has a single opening in the lower floor. In addition, the lower floor of the
engine house includes the remains of engine mountings at the base of the north
and south sides. It is considered that further mountings and other important
technological evidence will survive below modern ground level.
All modern fencing and the modern monumental stone to the 1844 disaster are
excluded from the monument, although the ground beneath is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 3 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Coal has been mined in England since Roman times, and between 8,000 and 10,000
coal industry sites of all dates up to the collieries of post-war
nationalisation are estimated to survive in England. Three hundred and four
coal industry sites, representing approximately 3% of the estimated national
archaeological resource for the industry have been identified as being of
national importance. This selection, compiled and assessed through a
comprehensive survey of the coal industry, is designed to represent the
industry's chronological depth, technological breadth and regional diversity.
The term `nucleated' is used to describe coal mines that developed as a result
of increased capital investment in the 18th and 19th centuries. They are a
prominent type of field monument produced by coal mining and typically
consist of a range of features grouped around the shafts of a mine. The
simplest examples contain merely a shaft or adit with associated spoil heap.
Later examples are characterised by developed pit head arrangements that may
include remains of engine houses for pumping and/or winding from shafts,
boiler houses, fan houses for ventilating mine workings, offices, workshops,
pithead baths, and transport systems such as railways and canals. A number of
later nucleated mines also retain the remains of screens where the coal was
sized and graded. Coke ovens are frequently found on or near colliery sites.
Coal occurs in significant deposits throughout large parts of England and this
has given rise to a variety of coalfields extending from the north of England
to the Kent coast. Each region has its own history of exploitation, and
characteristic sites range from the small, compact collieries of north
Somerset to the large, intensive units of the north east. A sample of the
better preserved sites, illustrating the regional, chronological and
technological range of nucleated coal mines, together with rare individual
component features are considered to merit protection.

The Haswell Colliery was typical of the large capitalistic nucleated mines of
the mid-19th century where activity was concentrated on one or more main
pitheads. The site provides a valuable opportunity for the study of 19th
century colliery engine houses. Colliery engine houses of comparable date and
design are now very rare in the North East Coalfield with only the Friars
Goose engine house at Gateshead Fell surviving to a similar degree. In
addition, the survival of engine mountings at the interior base of the north
and south walls indicate that important technological evidence will survive
beneath modern ground level, providing valuable information for the internal
arrangement of the engine house.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Atkinson, F, The Industrial Archaeology of the North-East of England, (1974), 17, 33

Source: Historic England

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