October 2022

Storforth Lane colliery, Hasland

In this blog we take a look at another industrial concern, not far from the former Broad Oaks or Derby Road Ironworks. Here we take a look at Storforth Lane colliery, which occupied most of the present trading estate of that name, although the pit top was a little further eastwards.

Today’s Storforth Lane Trading Estate – once the site of a colliery, then a brickyard. The actual pit-top was situated a little to the east of the estate.

This colliery was the third sunk on the Heathcote estate – on the north side of Storforth Lane to the east of the Midland Railway. When the Heathcote estate was sold in 1874 it was said that this coal had been leased to George Senior for a term of 21 years ending in 1889 and that Senior had assigned the lease to the Industrial Coal & Iron Co. Ltd. The company continued to be listed as owner until 1878, when it was succeeded by a Dr Black.

This 1876 surveyed Ordnance Survey map shows the colliery and its connections to the Midland Railway line. Notice the tramroad which travels in an easterly direction to the pit top. (Derbyshire Sheet XXV.SW, surveyed: 1876, published: 1883. Courtesy National Library of Scotland).
The actual colliery shaft was just off the first map – to the east – as shown on this extract. The tramroad presumably travelled to it and the pithead off-loading facilities. (Ordnance Survey Derbyshire Sheet XXV.SE, Surveyed: 1877, Published: 1883. Courtesy National Library of Scotland)

The Industrial Coal & Iron Co. Ltd, promoted with a nominal capital of £150,000, paid £40,000 for Storforth Lane colliery and another £22,000 to develop it and connect the workings underground with those of the Hasland and Whitebank pits. This enabled coal from all three to be wound at Storforth Lane. This work was complete by June 1875, when the company advertised redundant winding engines from the other two collieries and a long list of other plant for sale. They also took out a new lease of a larger area of coal at Storforth Lane. At the same time, the company owned Woodhouse colliery at Woodhouse Junction on the Manchester, Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway east of Sheffield (in Handsworth Woodhouse, Yorks.), where it also had a brickworks.

The company’s performance, compared with promises in its prospectus, was criticised by a shareholder at a half-yearly general meeting in August 1875. In March the following year the directors stated that, since Woodhouse colliery needed more capital to develop, the company had either to issue further shares or sell Storforth Lane colliery. In November 1876 a Sheffield builder petitioned for the company to be compulsorily wound up, which the directors indicated they would oppose.

In May 1877 the Chancery division ordered the sale by private tender of all plant, machinery and moveable items at both the Woodhouse and Storforth Lane collieries. The latter failed to sell and was put up for auction two months later.

The colliery was taken over in September 1877 by a newly formed Storforth Lane Colliery Co. Ltd, whose secretary in May 1878 absconded with the company’s books and papers. In August that year Dr Black, described as the lessor of the colliery, successfully applied to be appointed receiver. This was after the company had been summoned for not paying wages due to its men. It was stated then that the colliery had closed a month earlier.

In January 1879 the company, in a notice signed by a director named William Thomas Barrett, convened a meeting at which members resolved to wind up voluntarily, but a month later the court ordered the company to be compulsorily wound up.

Black, who may have been the main figure behind the company, seems to have tried to keep the colliery open for a few years. Soon after Black died in 1886 the plant at Storforth Lane was put up for sale. The colliery may have been restarted yet again, since in 1896 a business named the Storforth Lane Colliery & Derby Road Brickworks was advertising the sale of bricks, a steam engine, boiler and other equipment. It was certainly out of use by 1914, when part of the site was occupied by the Storforth Lane brickworks of C.J. Saunders Ltd.

The colliery was clearly denoted as disused on this 1897 revision. (Ordnance Survey Derbyshire XXV.10, revised: 1897, published: 1898. Courtesy National Library of Scotland).
By the 1921 6-inch Ordnance Survey map the former colliery site was now the site of a brickworks (Derbyshire Sheet XXV.SW Revised: 1914, Published: 1921. Courtesy National Library of Scotland).

Other collieries nearby

The Wingerworth Iron Co. operated a colliery at Boythorpe in 1854 and another named White Bank in 1855–7, of which the latter may be identical with what were described as Whitebank collieries Nos. 1 and 2, worked by the Industrial Coal & Iron Co. Ltd, in 1874 but not thereafter. There was a fire at the company’s 12 Whitebank pit in 1873. The colliery lay on the west 13 side of the Midland Railway north of the siding leading to Wingerworth ironworks. It was also called Derby Lane colliery and is recorded under that name in 1883, operated by the Industrial Coal & Iron Co. Ltd.

Our final blog in this series will look at the site’s subsequent use a brickworks, before its adaption into the present industrial estate.

Our Hasland book contains full source references for this blog.

You can learn more about other properties in Hasland in our book – ‘A history of Hasland including Birdholme, Boythrope, Corbriggs, Grassmoor, Hady, Spital and Winsick’. It’s on sale at the Chesterfield Visitor Centre and Waterstones in Chesterfield, priced at £20 for 206 pages with illustrations.

Our Hasland book

This post was slightly edited on 31 October 2022 to make it clear that the pit-top, including the single shaft to the colliery, were eastwards from the Storforth Lane Trading Estate.

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AGM reviews successful year

Our 2022 AGM, held at Matlock’s Imperial Rooms on the 1 October, was able to review a successful year for VCH in Derbyshire.

Our 2022 AGM in progress.

The meeting heard that highlights of the year included the successful launch of our latest spin-off book on Hasland and successful sales of both this publication and the earlier ‘Chesterfield and Streets and Houses’.

Finances were also reported to be in good shape, by our Treasurer Cathrin Wharton. Membership numbers are relatively stable.  

County editor, Philip Riden, commented that our publications strategy was now being concentrated on the spin-off titles, such as the Hasland book, with work actively progressing on Wingerworth and another volume on Temple Normanton and Calow.  He paid tribute to continued support from our members along with work by volunteers. Also highlighted was the contribution to VCH made by David Edwards which had resulted in the Wingerworth volume being substantially complete. Philip also commented that the Hasland book was nearing a sell-out position.

Our publicity officer, Philip Cousins, reported on increased social media activity and the excellent coverage achieved locally for the Hasland book launch.

Chairman Lyn Pardo Roques oversaw the meeting, with Secretary Becky Sheldon providing administration and IT support. This year, unlike 2021, we did not stream the meeting as there was little demand to do this. All existing Trust officers were re-elected.

As has been the case in previous years, the morning saw the AGM of the Derbyshire Record Society, with lunch provided jointly by VCH and the Society.

After the business meeting Award winning buildings archaeologist James Wright gave a well-received talk about ‘Late Mediaeval Great Houses in the East Midlands’. The meeting closed with questions to Dr Wright followed by light refreshments.

  • A minute’s silence was taken at the meeting following news of the death of Miriam Wood, who had been a VCH stalwart since reinauguration of the project in Derbyshire and a committee member. Dr Wood will be well-known for her outstanding contribution to local history in the county.
Dr James Wright gives his well-received talk about ‘Late Mediaeval Great Houses in the East Midlands’ to our 2022 AGM.

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