Silverwood Logo by John Doxey background photo Mick Carver1900 - 1994

Dedicated to the Miners of Silverwood

History of the Mine


Silverwood Mine

Hollings Lane


South Yorkshire England

Webmaster John Doxey

Main Photos Jonathan Dabbs.

Additional content Mick Carver





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The Shaft is Sunk

Dalton Mining Co

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Early Years 2
1913 Accident






War Years at the Mine


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The 1920's

War Memorial of 1923


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1947 Accident


The Blacking Mill

1966 Disaster

The Silverwood Disaster song


Mine improvements 1970

Journey to the Face


Loading Coal

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1984 Strike

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The Miners Return

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One Million Tonnes

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Home of Quality

Riddor Incident

Silverwood Closure

Silverwood Closure 2

Final Years Photos

Stuart Tomlins Collection

Stuart Tomlins Collection 2

Stuart Tomlins Collection 3

Sunset on Silverwood

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Silverwood 2007

Listing of Miners

The Colliers

Where the Miners of Silverwood came from

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Photo courtesy of Brian Eyre

On the 11th November 1918: Armistice was signed, and the World was never to be the same again.

With the war behind them the miners who had been in the forces returned to civvy street, with many scenes of horror in their memories it was now the time of great personal adjustments, and a time to regain shattered lives. Many of them were to carry visual scars from this conflict during their life, others hid their mental scars behind a wall of silence.

The families of those lost received a Bronze medallion like the one pictured left  presented to the family of Samual Simpson of Dalton.

J. W. Bacon of 53 Osberton St. Dalton started work at Silverwood in 1918.

The following years were to be times of great depressions, the war had taken its toll throughout Europe and America. Britain like other countries now needed to rebuild, and coal was a much needed fuel for industry.  The future lay within the hands of miners.  Lloyd George met with the miners leaders as a strike was imminent and somehow or other he had to find a solution, that solution was the Sankey Commission Report which recommended a subsidy on coal.

The workers of England had now gained a voice, a voice that could no longer be ignored, nonetheless it is noted that the miners never received a fair deal under Private ownership.

After the first World War men like Ernest Lee Linney a machine gunner in  the 1914 -1918 War came to Silverwood and worked the rest of his natural life there. He was joined later by his sons  known as Sonny and Pop both worked at Silverwood.

William Tuke a 55 year old Dataller died on the 25th February 1919. Four men including William were at a section where the roof was giving way setting a stretcher. As Charles was fixing a tightening wedge a bump occurred dislodging the stretcher,and he had his skull fractured by a resulting piece of stone falling.

John Waller writes "One job at the pit that is not recorded on the census is that of Gaffer; you will recall that it tends to be a Yorkshire term for "the boss". They were probably officially called something else but gaffers did exist in the true sense of the word.
When coal was hand cut it was the duty of the miner to ensure he sent coal out of the pit, not stone plus coal because they were paid by the tub of coal. Any miner sending out excess dirt would find his tubs waiting for him at the pit top so he could remove the excess dirt.
However, it was impossible to achieve the desired vend of coal in this way so it had to be "washed". Modern washing is a highly refined process, but in the days of hand cutting the first process was for the coal to pass across large picking tables where rows of men picked out any stone. Above the tables ran a walkway gantry where the gaffer stood with a long stick. Any man missing a stone had it pointed out to him with the stick - or gaff.
It's not an old practice because my father worked at Dinnington for many years (as did most of my family) and as a young chap he was asked to help out on the picking tables, which he did for a good half shift. Unfortunately the gaffer gave my dad a prod with the gaff and promptly had it pulled out of his hands and the favour returned. Fortunately being a Waller and having an excellent reputation saved him from getting the sack."
In 1919 men like George Highton came from Wigan Lancashire to start work at Silverwood, he was a faceworker, working at Silverwood was to become a family tradition. George was followed into the mine by his son William who started work there in 1923, he was a faceworker. Georges grandsons William Highton started in 1946 he was a tail gate ripper, Ken Highton started in 1950 he was a heading worker ,Phillip Highton started in 1964 he was a faceworker. In 1969 Georges great grandsons who were William Highton who started in 1969 as a fitter, John Highton started in 1971 as a faceworker,  followed by the last Highton to work at the mine Peter Highton who was a faceworker.


Charles Browning age 50 a Collier was working with his son-in-law they were Bannocking Charles died from a roof fall which was caused by a bump dislodging props on the 24th April 1919.
Francis H. Oxley a 17 year old Weighman was involved in an accident on the22nd August 1919


In August of 1919 there was a huge intake of men into the Silverwood workforce,  706 in total none of them having previous occupations listed, I will try and verify why. It is possible that they were mostly demobbed servicemen, and that the demand for coal had increased.  There was a worldwide demand for coal following the war in particular in Russia and America.

A rather astounding fact is noted that is two of the men who signed on were aged 63 and one of them was 67 years old!


 Anthony " Hank " Burrows, tells us that:-

Amongst those starting in August were Charles Burrows a Collier age 47 who is listed in the 1901 census as a Coal Heaver and came from Pontefract. He and his family moving in at 61 Dalton Lane Dalton. . He worked until he was 67, at Silverwood, and only finished after breaking his leg in an accident in 1939. His son Charles Burrows age 23 also signed on as a Filler living at 61 Dalton Lane Dalton. Also starting in August that year was E. Burrows [ Thought to be a relation of Charles] a Collier age 25 living at 47 Osberton St Dalton.  

There was to be quite a succession of the Burrows family who followed family tradition and worked at the mine
Stanley Burrows who signed on in March of 1923 age 19 also living at 61 Dalton lane became a Ropeman at the mine leaving his previous employment at Bellards saloon.
William E Burrows appeared at the mine in the same year firstly working on the surface and then at the age of 14 signed on as a Chainworker, in June 1923. With regards to Ebenezer Burrows, he is the individual named as "Burrows William E  age  14 living at   61 Dalton lane     Chainworker June 1923  previously worked on  Surface". Everyone called him Bill, hence William. However he was born Ebenezer William. He wasn't born until 1909.
 Keith "Skinner" Burrows, the [ Grandson of Charles above] who came from Dalton and still remembers vividly the Bughut, Grapes, Bookies runner etc. Keith signed on in July 1955 as a haulage hand.
Anthony "Hank" Burrows, the son of Keith, signed on in July 1980 as an apprentice electrician, leaving on 15th January 1988 to join the Prison Service. Other members of the family who signed on at Silverwood over the years were George Burrows , George Burrows [ Two of ], Percy Burrows , Herbert Burrows, and Si Burrows


 Modern Transport
... London Pit drivers need training FOLLOWING a disaster at Silverwood Colliery,


John Thomas. Fulford, a Collier of 17 Nodder St Parkgate returned to Silverwood in December of 1919, he may have returned from the forces, and like many of the miners back then he changed his place of work a few times after 1919. Johns story begins in 1881 where he is found with his parents and siblings.

John Fulford Head M Male 34 born White Heath, Stafford, England Coal Miner
Mary A.Fulford Wife M Female 34 born Oldbury, Stafford, England
Deborah Fulford Daur Female 8 born Low Valley, York, England Scholar
James W. Fulford Son Male 7 born Low Valley, York, England Scholar
Clara Fulford Daur Female 2 born West Melton, York, England
John Thomas Fulford Son Male 2 m West Melton, York, England
Census Place Brampton Bierlow, York, England
Public Records Office Reference RG11 Piece / Folio   4682 / 47 Page Number 15

As can be seen from the above Johns father also moved around in his places of work. By 1901 we find John Thomas now married and living in Rotherham with his new family
John T Fulford 21 Yorks Wath Yorkshire West Riding Rotherham Coal Miner Hewer
Annie  Fulford 21 Yorks Rotherham Yorkshire West Riding Rotherham
Mary E Fulford 0 Yorks Rotherham Yorkshire West Riding Rotherham

 Alison Salter a descendant informs us  that John Thomas moved to Deal in Kent sometime after 1927 possibly to work at the new Betteshanger pit.

Roy Nixon recalls:- Mr. Burgin, who I never knew, was my fathers stepfather. He was a timber contractor to the mines, and he forced my father to leave school at 12 (1917) to work down the pit. My father had to crawl into worked out seams to recover still useable timber, so that it could be used again. Later on he became a pony driver before joining the army (Duke of Wellingtons).


In 1919 it was suggested by a commission following the Coal Industry Commission Act, 1919, Section I. That the Coal Mines Regulation Act of 1908 should be amended with a shorter shift underground down to six hours, and 46 1/2 hour week for those men on the surface. A 2/- per shift increase was also suggested . There was a  condemnation of the existing mining ownership and working conditions, and it also stated that miners should be given a voice in the operation of the mine. A levy on coal of 1d. per ton l was recommended to implement a fund which would be used to improve housing and amenities in mining areas.

It was also stated in the report between 1914 and 1919 the real wages for a miner had dropped substantially enough to warrant a 30% increase, and it was reflected that "Low wages in the mines in the past have led to all-round waste and inefficiency in the production and distribution of coal". In the report the suggestion was put forward that unified ownership would greatly improve production and nationalization was the answer.

However in a further report it was suggested that "Insufficient evidence has been taken to enable a judgment to be made about unification or nationalization". Also to give way to the claims regarding hours worked and wages would effectively mean a decrease in output by 50 million tons a year.



Prior to 1920 [ date unknown ] There is an old postcard with the caption "Dalton Main Smash" and shows an overturned rail carriage on a railway line which appears to cross a causeway and join another line in the distance.
James Slater who worked for the railway at Silverwood colliery for many years from aprox. 1910 to 1940 was involved in this Train accident.









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