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 Dabs.

Additional content Mick Carver






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The Shaft is Sunk

Dalton Mining Co

Early Years

Early Years 2
1913 Accident






War Years at the Mine


Early Trains

The 1920's

War Memorial of 1923


Travelling to work

Coke Ovens


1947 Accident


The Blacking Mill

1966 Disaster

The Silverwood Disaster song


Mine improvements 1970

Journey to the Face


Loading Coal

Maps of Workings

1984 Strike

1984 Strike 2

The Miners Return

The 1985 Strike

One Million Tonnes

Weekly Record

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

The Last Trains

Final Years

Final Years 2

Work After Silverwood

Silverwood 2007

Listing of Miners

The Colliers

Where the Miners of Silverwood came from

Origins of Miners

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Silverwood 1990's photo copyright Jonathan Dabs

In 1940 Joseph Clark, had been the Chief Mechanical Engineer for the Dalton Main Collieries Ltd., Silverwood, near Rotherham. since November, 1910. [ Source: Colliery Year Book 1940 ]

Starting at the mine in 1940 William Barlow worked in the Fitting Shop at Silverwood from the age of 15 until his death at the age of 49. He worked long hours, often at weekends to keep the headgear and other equipments in good working order.


Charles William Butter age 47 a Collier was working alongside another Collier on the 12th July 1940 they were setting a bar when a roof fall occurred and killed William on the spot.

Youngsters like Geoffrey Haith started work at Silverwood at the age of 14 in 1941. He worked there all his life working his way up to Deputy and Overman. He was also on the miners rescue team.

On the 27th July 1941 William Ryding a 50 year old Collier had just started his shift, his first job was to make a pocket for a cutting track which had no support he was killed when a roof fall happened

Danny Williams started his football career playing for Silverwood.


A young Jack Wooton of Sunnyside started work at Silverwood around this time and accepted early redundancy just before the strike in 1983
In 1942 Silverwood Colliery had a dispute and went on strike the men returned to work on the  01 June 1942.

In this year there were Inspections and surveys of pits in the South Yorkshire Coalfield, and on the 23rd February 1942 Silverwood Colliery shafts came under scrutiny.

Julie Palmer nee Browne writes: My Grandfather Thomas Joseph Kearns "Tommy" was a miner at Silverwood and died rescuing other miners in a pitfall in 1942. Records show that on the 25th November 1942 John Thomas Kearns a 41 year old Ripper was using debris from a ripping lip to stow up one of the old gates when he was hit by a falling piece of stone he died from his injuries within hours. One of the Christian names in the records is wrong Thomas Joseph being correct and not John Thomas

 The brother of Thomas also worked at Silverwood his name was Jim Kearns.


The Electrician: Volume 80
On the 21str inst. an inquest was held upon Murdoch McLean, who met his death at the Silverwood Colliery Coke Ovens on the J 9th inst. Deceased was in charge of a slack compressor electrically driven. A fellow workman saw him fast on a ...


Arthur Charles William “Bill” Barber, used to make the steel cables that were used to lower the cages into the mine.  His handy-work was seen all over the Silverwood area because old cables were also used as fencing, keeping people from wandering too far from the pathways through the woods.  His wife, Elizabeth “Lilly” Barber was famous in Thrybergh for her knitting, and neighbours from all over the village would give her a pattern and some wool and commission her to knit a garment for her.  They both fostered many children, taking two or three girls at a time, or sometimes a very young baby.

During the second World War there was an acute shortage of coal miners after an unsuccessful call for civilian volunteers a scheme was developed by Ernest Bevin the then Minister of Labour to send men of the armed forces into the coal mines. Prior to that men were given an option either the forces or return into civvies as a miner, most men chose the Forces. The men were chosen by Ballot each month which was simply the drawing out of the hat two numbers, servicemen whose last two service numbers matched the numbers drawn were then sent to work at a coalmine. A refusal was not accepted. 
Roland Welling's was one of the many Bevin Boys and was signed on in 1947 as a Bevin boy, he became an Headings worker. Ironically Fred Kelly ex employee of Silverwood was sent back as a Bevin Boy despite trying to enlist in two of the armed forces. Leonard William Barlow in his capacity as Training Officer at the time found himself instructing the Bevin Boys as well as young trainees.


The following is copyright to the Author and B. B. C. W.W. 2 PEOPLES WAR

Contributed by  Braintree Library
People in story:  Albert Trim
Location of story:  Rotherham, Yorkshire
Background to story:  Civilian Force
Article ID:  A3342638
Contributed on:  29 November 2004
My brother Albert was 16 in 1942 and he was called up and sent down the coal mines as a Bevan Boy to Silverwood Pit near Rotherham. He was an outdoor chap and hated to be confined inside so hated working down the mines. He was also 6'2" in height so it was awful for him. My mother really worried about him being so unhappy but when she went to see the doctor, he said the only way he could get him out was if it could be proved he was losing weight.

He must have lost weight (I don't remember) and a short while later the doctor was able to discharge him from that work on medical grounds. Albert was so happy not to have to go down below again and he went to work for the Post Office


At the time it was falsely believed by locals that the Bevin Boy's were conscientious objectors when in truth out of nearly 48, 000 Bevin Boys only 41 were known conscientious objectors. To make matters worse for the Bevin Boy's  they were often resented by their new work colleagues, suspected often in the street as being deserters for they were not issued with a uniform. At the end of the war these servicemen were treated very badly in that they were not given what other servicemen received, a demob outfit, medals, paid leave, and were not given the right to return to the jobs they held before being conscripted. These men had taken on work that most of them had never done before, suffered abuse, and  yet it is without doubt that their role in coal production had greatly helped the British War Effort. Some of them did not get demobbed until 1948. To further the shame of the Governments since the war, these servicemen known as Bevin Boy's were not officially remembered in the V.E. and V.J. days nor the Remembrance Sunday Service until 1995, fifty years after the event. Silverwood then during the War found itself with a few Bevin Boys.

Frank Furness worked as an electrician at Silverwood and lived on Whinney Hill in Thrybergh in the 1940's his wife being the well remembered midwife Nurse Furness.

Barry Pugh writes:- My Dad was Harold Pugh born in 1926 who worked there in his early years (from when he was 14 I believe) so he was probably there around 1940. He joined the Royal Navy in the 2nd world War when he was old enough and after the war he briefly returned to Silverwood (collecting the new of National Insurance as part of his role I believe) before  before finding other employment and becoming a well know insurance agent in Bramley and well know small business man in Bramley and Maltby along with my mother Dorothy Pugh. They owned a Fish & Chip shop in Maltby and at one stage also owned a Fish & Chip shop in Bramley on Blackthorn Avenue. They used to live on Pear Tree Avenue in Bramley before moving to Maltby in around 1969.
The second Pugh family member was my uncle Richard (Dick) Pugh who also lived on Pear Tree Avenue across the road from us. He was I believe a bit older than my father.  If my recollections are correct he was mentioned in dispatches during the war in Burma.
One other quick note. I see Jackie Pugh on the list - He was my cousin and lived in Thrybergh. He became extremely well known as an angler and was mentioned in the Daily Mirror newspaper on Several occasions I believe. He would have gone down the pit I guess round about 1965.
Yet a further note - one of my uncles was in the disaster of 1966 - George Smith who tragically was one of the fatalities.


Edward G. Briggs a 68 year old Bricklayer was working at the base of a ten foot high nest of economies repairing the brickwork inside one of the chambers. Water at 240 degrees Fahrenheit with a pressure of 130 lbs was passing through the Economies as Edward worked, suddenly a rubber plug blew off releasing the water which created a chamber full of steam, incredibly he climbed out of the chamber on a ladder after the steam had been turned off. We can only imagine the severity of the scalding he received, and the pain he suffered. This accident happened on the 25th August 1942 and Edward passed away on the following day. 

On the 25th November 1942 John Thomas Kearns a 41 year old Ripper was using debris from a ripping lip to stow up one of the old gates when he was hit by a falling piece of stone he died from his injuries within hours.

Frank Brozier a 31 year old Collier was killed by falling stone on the 12th December 1942. Shortly after this incident Thomas Colquit an 18 year old Supply lad was taking a bar along conveyor gate on the 17th December 1942 when he was struck down and buried by a falling girder and falling dirt.

Roy Osborne a 17 year old Face Conveyor Attendant was riding a gate conveyor outbye on the 23 February 1943 and his foot was caught in the longitudinal slit which carried him around the delivery end, Roy died on the 24th December the following day.
Ironically another Conveyor Attendant one Leslie Grainger age 19 met a similar fate on the 22nd July 1942 when he took an illegal ride outbye on a belt conveyor towards the end of the shift, Leslie passed under some scaffold which was being used for repair work then he decided to jump of the belt and in doing so he was caught between the conveyor frame rollers and the belt, he survived for just three hours

On the 14th January 1944 John Henry Pike a 62 year old Haulage Corporal was hit by loaded tubs which had been in a collision with 14 run away derailed tubs

Two days later on the 16th January Albert Rackham a 59 year old Labourer was working with a Washery Attendant cleaning out the water softening tank which was constructed in sections, there was just one door remaining to be slid back into position when Albert lost his footing and fell into the tank which was fourteen foot in depth with a temperature of 40 degrees Centigrade, he was rescued from the tank almost immediately but survived only half an hour.


Gas journal: Volumes 245-246  1945
 Mr. HS Haslam, Managing Director of the Dalton Main Collieries, Ltd., who has just returned from a comprehensive tour of coal mines in the United States, points out that no direct comparison can be made between coalmining conditions

In 1945 Silverwood was listed under the ownership of Dalton Main Collieries Ltd., Rotherham, York's. Roundwood Silverwood Thrybergh nr. Rotherham manager C Dickinson under manager HG Spooner.

In 1945, the Coal Industry Nationalisation Act 1946 was implemented and on the 12th July 1946, the National Coal Board (NCB) was established, and was made responsible for managing the coal industry. though the Minister of Fuel and Power was to be consulted regarding production, recruitment,  modernisation,  pricing, and also wage negotiations  .

Also in 1945 on the 9th October a price list was produced for turning over conveyors on Longwall faces in the Barnsley seam.
In those early years many of the men were joined by their sons at Silverwood, men like John Towell who was the Electrical Engineer at Silverwood Colliery, his son Ronald Towell became a winder at Silverwood until he died in 1972. Arthur Mullins snr was to be joined by his two sons, George Mullins and Arthur Mullins. Pat and John McGuinness (pre 1960) who I am informed had the reputation of being amongst the best workers at Silverwood. Martin McGuinness (Son of Pat) was made redundant from Silverwood in the 1980's - he was the 3rd generation to work there.
Edmund James Edwards was followed by no less than four sons  Edmund James Edwards started work in1951 , Terry Edwards, David Edwards, and Adrian Edwards. The latter son Adrian being seriously injured in a mining accident which occurred shortly after a Paddy Mail  accident at the Hooton Roberts field, Bill Edwards a foreman in the tub shop was the brother of Edmund Edwards snr. Then there was the Waller family who had eleven family members employed at Silverwood from the Mine opening until its closure Joseph Waller: Early 1900's, John Thomas (Jacko) Waller early 1900's, Jack Waller late 1920's to 1960's, Joe Waller early 1900's, Tommy (Tucker) Waller early to mid 1900's,  Ernest Waller 1930's to 1970's, Tony Waller 1960's, Allan Waller: 1960's, Brian Waller1962 to 1987, Neil Waller 1980's to 1990's, John Patrick (Paddy) Waller: 1980's - 1990's.


For most of us looking at the tip we would assume that all and sundry was dumped on the same spot, but this was not the case. Silverwood from time to time also produced red shale, this shale was not only used by the mine it was also sold externally. The red shale had its own section of the tip known as the " Red Shale Tip" [ No surprise there! ] What was known as Run of the Mine white dirt  was taken to the Tippler station, then transported in tubs to a transfer hopper. From the hopper a Maclane haulage system was used together with a cross conveyer and deposited on the Red Shale tip.

Boiler Ash had its own tip and need I name the tip, alright it was the Boiler Ash Tip, the location of this tip was North of Hollings Lane, Side tipping Jubilee rail wagons were used to carry the ash from the boiler plant to the tip itself.

Everything else which was mainly Washery dirt was tipped on the Main Tip, the method of transport was small tipping skips on a rope haulage system.


Steel: the facts about monopoly and nationalism
Henry Owen  1946
Brown also controls 50 per cent of the shares of Westland Aircraft, Ltd., at one end, and collieries at Aldwick and Rotherham and controls Dalton Main Collieries, Ltd., at the other. Coltness Iron Co., Ltd. — iron and steel .

George Mosley and Wallace Theodore Beavis who worked underground on the coal face at Silverwood became yet further fatalities at the mine when they were killed in an underground accident during 1947.

There was also an accident at Silverwood Pit on the 30th of November 1949 when someone was buried, he was saved by his workmates. James William Parker known as Jim who lived in Silver Street Thrybergh was one of the rescuers for which he received a clock for his contribution to the rescue.






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