wet earth colliery
It was used as a roving bridge by the horses that pulled the coal barges because the tow path needed to be on the south side being more convenient for the Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal tow path at the aqueduct.
As the number of boilers increased over the years the chimney had to be heightened. The output under the Pilkingtons doubled and the Clifton and Kersley Coal Company was formed. Wheel chamber The wheel chamber was built in the 1750s by James Brindley to help solve the problem of flooding in the mines. The dark red sandstone you can see is over 200 million years old. the river Irwell via the tail-race tunnel. Although bricked up, the line of the tunnel curves noticeably to the left to bring it into alignment with the earlier course of the feeder. The pump dates from the late 1870s. The site would have been very bare. The History and Traditions of Clifton. Here you can see the remains of a drop shaft. Fletcher’s Canal and the Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal became major coal carrying waterways for the Irwell valley. (There is no archival evidence to show this, although you may be able to see a slot across the Irwell which may have been used to create an early form of lock – known as a ‘flash lock’. Instead, Brindley chose a more permanent solution; an 800 yard tunnel cut through the soft red sandstone located along the Irwell Valley Fault. This Act prohibited Fletcher's Canal from being used as a railway line but it did give mine owners free carriage on the proposed railway branch. Gaskill, A (1964). He sank the Manor and Spindle Point Collieries (to replace the exhausted Little Mine and Doe Pits), and severely strained the family finances. It seems that in anticipation of making a connection, Matthew Fletcher had built a lock in his canal, which was located about 220 yards from the proposed head-on junction with the MB&BC Around the corner a large bung of gravel/orchre/mud blocks the passage to the ceiling, the start of which can be made under the arch shown below. After going through a portal known as the penstock arch was a short tunnel leading into the wheelpit. After that, Ringley Fold Weir was used to supply cooling water to
This was the first application of steam winding in the area, and it doubtless encourages its growth. Two winders were employed, each on a twelve hour shift. The size and depth of the seam eventually caused too many problems for these small shafts (such as haulage and ventilation) and attention was turned to a new major sinking to connect the Doe seam workings at a greater depth. The land on the Kearsley side (south), however, belonged to the Hulme’s (of Kearsley Hall), and it can be assumed that they would not have welcomed a large water course spoiling their estate.
The first major function is with the square shaft, like all shafts in the system it was capped long ago and now a rungless ladder leads upwards. Alternatively you may now follow the longer trail, in which case return to (15). This chamber would have originally held the massive water wheel, over 6.5 meters in diameter, which produced the power to drive the pumps. ( Log Out / canal linked both Wheatsheaf and Spindle Point collieries. Schofield, ‘Brindley at Wet Earth Colliery’, David & Charles 1968, A. Gaskell, ‘The History & Traditions of Clifton’, Swinton & Pendlebury Public Libraries 1964. Ultimately the waterwheel at Botany Bay ceased winding coal but Fletcher's Canal continued to be used for drainage purposes. The canals declined early in this century as commercial waterways. A depth of no more than 50 feet was required to cut into the Doe seam at this point, the seam being worked down a slope. Established around 1740, the colliery was one of the first deep mines to be sunk in the Irwell Valley. The Wet Earth Colliery has a unique place in British coal mining history, apart from being one of the earliest pits in the country; it is the place where the engineer James Brindley made water run uphill. They received the most attention by the exploration group who had found silted up tunnels on the riverbank and spent months digging them out and exploring. The Manchester Evening News published a fear mongering article about safety in February 1997 and the Coal Authority sealed the tunnels up. The exploration group had used it to store pipes in, further on it split. The colliery is situated on the Irwell Valley Fault which follows the River Irwell north to south, eventually becoming the Pendleton Fault.
Although the main colliery was sunk in the early 1750s, it is reasonable to assume that the two original shafts continued in production for some years, so the wharf would have been a useful outlet for the coal prior to the construction of the canal in 1790, the shafts being connected to the river traffic by a short track. A gin was used to sink this pit in the late 1740s and one was still used for shaft and pump repairs until closure. The haulage ropes, which moved the coal tubs around the underground workings, were operated by two steam engines on the surface, the ropes travelling down the shaft in wooden box channels. OK. Croal Irwell Valley Warden Service (1984). The Trail starts and finishes at the railway bridge (.
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