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Site of pumping engine at Muxton Bridge colliery

A Scheduled Monument in Donnington and Muxton, Telford and Wrekin

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Latitude: 52.7168 / 52°43'0"N

Longitude: -2.4115 / 2°24'41"W

OS Eastings: 372298.633387

OS Northings: 313319.45845

OS Grid: SJ722133

Mapcode National: GBR BZ.1WKK

Mapcode Global: WH9CX.XZV3

Entry Name: Site of pumping engine at Muxton Bridge colliery

Scheduled Date: 16 November 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018468

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31760

County: Telford and Wrekin

Civil Parish: Donnington and Muxton

Built-Up Area: Telford

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Muxton St John the Evangelist

Church of England Diocese: Lichfield


The monument lies within woodland near the village of Muxton. It includes the
standing, buried and earthwork remains of a site which formerly housed a
rotative beam pumping engine, used for draining coal workings at Muxton Bridge

Coal was mined in the area by the early 19th century, and small-scale workings
may have taken place before that date. Muxton Bridge colliery, established
around 1830, was a relatively early deep mine sited next to a canal to allow
easy and cheap transport of coal. Little is known of its history until 1870,
when a 26' Cornish type beam engine was installed to pump water from the mine.
Between 1882 and 1902 a pair of horizontal winding engines were installed in a
building which still survives but is not included in the scheduling.
Inefficient management, however, led to the closure of the colliery in the
early years of the 20th century.

The pumping engine was of an unusual free-standing design, rather than the
more common arrangement of an engine enclosed in a purpose-built structure,
and its remains include valuable technological information about the machine
which was originally sited here. The remains include a 2.5m high section of
the bob wall, a thick wall on which the pivoting iron beam of the engine was
supported. Large bolts to hold the engine in place survive in situ.

Immediately east of this wall fragment, stone foundations with further bolts
indicate the position of the cylinder in which steam was generated. Further
remains 3.5m east of the bob wall include an engine bed also with holding
bolts, a narrow flywheel pit of around 0.4m width and 2m depth, and further
fixtures including a 0.6m length of iron pipe fixed in sockets. The shaft
which the pumping engine drained lies immediately west of the bob wall, and is
now capped and defined by a low brick wall. In addition to these well-
preserved features, further features showing technological details will
survive as buried remains.

Modern fences, path surfaces and the modern wall outlining the shaft are
excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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 free-standing design of the pumping engine at Muxton Bridge colliery and
the survival in situ of details such as holding bolts make it an unusual and
informative site. The technological information included within the monument
adds to the range of data available on steam engines, pumping and general
approaches to coal mining in the late 19th century.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Pearce, A, Mining in Shropshire, (1995), 27-41
Horton and Biddle, Unknown (seen as photocopied extract only), (1987)

Source: Historic England

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