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







Home Page

Site Guide


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

Work and Leisure

Working Life

Biographies and Tributes


Facts, Stories and Features

Interesting facts

Legends from the Mine

Tales from the Mine

Mining Information

Mining Information

For Your Use

Students Page

Guest Book


Local Villages





Photo courtesy and copyright Steohen Purshouse

In the 1950's a miner on the coal face earned around 18. 00 a week, which was a decent wage for the time, but they earned it!

Geoff Walker, started at Silverwood in1951 as a  Pan Turner, leaving the mine in 1962 when he moved to Scarborough and as Geoff tells it [ 2007 ] he is "still alive and well and enjoying retirement.  " You can read more about Geoff here.    
Geoff  Walker

 Big Ern and little Ern. worked at Silverwood in the early 1950's, the reason for their nicknames was to simplify who was who.

Ernest Wigglesworth ( big Ern) had worked at the mine since the 1930's, his son also named Ernest Wigglesworth (little Ern) started work at the mine in the early 1950's. So to differentiate between the two they were referred to as Big Ern and Little Ern.


 Joe Walker of 21 Silver St Thrybergh had worked at Silverwood mine for many years, he lost the tips of his fingers in a mine accident in previous years and thereafter inherited the nickname "Fingers" 

Brian Chatterton was Diesel Foreman on the Pit Top.  He started work at the mine in1952 at the age of 15 and retired at 50 in 1987.  He was born in Thrybergh and lived at Railway Terrace there till 2003 when he moved out of the village.  His daughter Leanne tells us that her dad was a really good artist, [ which I can verify as I can remember seeing his talent back in my School days] Unfortunately due to his hands shaking so badly he finds it really hard to paint are draw anymore.


 Herbert Walker was an undermanager during the 1950's he had been there from leaving school, during this period his nephew's Alan and Tony Pearman worked with him.


Sometime prior to 1953 Les Coulson of Thrybergh was yet another life claimed by Silverwood


In June 1952 a strike was called by  the National Association of Colliery Overmen, Deputies and Shotfirers this strike was initiated at Silverwood and was called off  on the 23rd June, 1952. 

The men were on strike during the winter of 1953 and returned to work on the 16th of February 1953


Arthur Hellewell started work at Silverwood in 1953 leaving during the1980's, in 1955 his brother Cyril Hellewell joined him at the mine, Cyril left in 1967.

In 1953 a young Brian Miree started work at Silverwood as a miner he was to become one more success story in his career. He progressed and became a deputy, he then furthered his career by becoming a colliery Overman he retired  in 1989 after serving 36 years. His father Clifford Miree (senior) started work at Silverwood in 1924 as a pony driver.

Brian married the daughter of another well known miner at Silverwood one Jack Sansome who started work at Silverwood on the pit top working on the coke ovens in 1940.

Brian's children were Lee Miree who continued the family tradition starting work at Silverwood in 1983 as a Conveyer operator until the pit closed in 1992.
His proud daughter Debra Bryce (nee Miree) kindly subscribed the above to this site.


One important aspect of the mine was the Landsale Office where the sale of coal was carried out. Stan Horton who worked in the office explains that John Browne of Silverwood Cottages also worked there and that all the coal which was dispatched other than by rail had to deal with the Landsale Office, where the Lorries would drive onto the weighbridge to have their load checked.  Home coal deliveries to the miners also were dispatched from this point, most people would remember Duggie Cheetham and Chuck Willoughby who drove the lorries.  Local coal merchants would arrive for their allocation of coal and also retail sales.  The Obrien Brothers Peter. Pat, Jim Will and Dennis would also collect coal from the mine


Leonard William Barlow attended Ambulance Classes in his younger days and later became a judge in the inter -colliery ambulance competitions.


 Tommy Race started in 1954 as a haulage hand down Hooton in the Barnsley seam at fifteen years of age, at eighteen (1957) he went as a collier and did his training in Braithwell in the Barnsley seam, he then went working back down Hooton as a collier, packing, ripping and filling on the face until 1968. Tommy left Silverwood and worked in the steelworks until 1972 and then returned to to the mine until he finished in 1986.

In the September of 1955 there was an incident involving the cage, Geoff Walker who was working on the day recalls " I don't think I'm wrong with this, being on the Pans we worked the sort of "back"shift and were on our way to the pit bottom in good time for our usual cage out,
It was the middle of the night about 3.00 am. We were a bit early and sat a few yards further back from the loading area.
Anyway there was such a  "BANG" then all hell let loose, we all scattered and when the dust settled, this piece of machinery, it turned out to be a "cutter" base which was too big to go on the cage, was slung (not well enough), under the cage.  I believe it was intended for it to be unloaded at the Melton Field seam but finished at the Pit bottom!   Luckily there was no one injured."

 There was also an accident on recordin 1955 that took place on the 28th of July. There is also an incident concerning a paddy mail train accident in this year on the 23rd of November

Many of the top side workers were tradesmen like Frank Page who worked at Silverwood as a locomotive fitter , learning his trade in the Navy. During the second World War. He was on MTB boats and spent some time posted to Lord Mountbatten, he saw quite a few places, Egypt and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) amongst them.

In the late fifties there were three teams of rescue workers at Silverwood comprising of six men per team. These men were highly trained and if called upon gave their all, and were willing to risk life and limb to save injured workers.
Silverwood became a leader thanks to the foresight of the Management in the removal of deadly Methane gas from Mines, the Braithwell seam in particular was having 328 cu feet of pure methane gas removed per minute in 1958/59.
The medical Staff in the 1950's were Sister Bailey, Albert Illsley, Clarence ?, Bill W. Foster?, and Eric?
The workload for the Medical team at Silverwood was enormous, with 4,816 Reports treated, 24,954 redressings, 117 new cases requiring radiant heat, and 1,265 existing cases receiving radiant heat treatment.

In the 1950's the biggest threat to coal mining was increased introduction of Diesel Engines and also the trend towards Atomic Power.  In 1953 the reconstruction of Silverwood was undertaken, a reconstruction that was to take nine years to its completion at a cost close to one million pound sterling. The scheme included a new electric winder for the east pit upcast, which included a new 3,700 h. p. double drum electric winder and housing to extract the output from the Meltonfield Seam , and the Barnsley Seam . A skip winding plant, that used  12ton  skips and a modern pit bottom Haulage scheme. The Barnsley Seam saw the introduction of electric trolley locomotives with 5 ton mine cars.
The West Pit  or the Downcast Shaft gained a new 2,100 h. p. electric winder with housing and a new Heapstead circuit.  This shaft catered for men, materials and dirt.

This work greatly improved the output of the mine.

Around 1955 Stephen Ball who had worked at the mine for some time ran out of the pit in great fright. He reported he had seen the Ghost of a Miner below. After showing Mining Supervisors the location of his sighting on a map, Stephen quit his job never to return underground again. Some thirty years later Stephen Dimbleby had a similar encounter  Full Story


One surface worker was hit by a train at Silverwood in 1956. ...


In 1956 Silverwood Colliery Manpower; below ground - 2,166

Above ground - 561
Manager - Mr A Wild
Undermanager - Mr L Coupe
[ Source: Colliery Guardian - Guide to the Coalfields 1956]

Medical Room Staff 1950's and 60's
Albert Henry Illsley
Eric Palmer
Clarence Kirk
Bill Foster
Sister Bailey
Sister Balcon
Sister Adsett

By 1959  the Braithwell North West and Braithwell North seams were using Panzer Chains for the extraction of the coal. The Washery Plant was nearing completion and Silverwood had the largest, most effective electric Locomotive underground system in the Country.
The Coal Preparation Plant received improvements, and the tip was introduced to a press house, thickener and dirt bunker.  At this stage Silverwood colliery was now completely electrified.

Somewhere between 1957/58 Silverwood was host to students from" King Edward VII School Sheffield

Greg Loftus writes:- My uncle Pat Loftus who came from Lahardane, County Mayo, Republic of Ireland used to work at Silverwood. I remember many trips from Birmingham to visit him when I was a child in the 1950's. It's only when you get older that you appreciate what brave men these were descending under ground to provide the nations' coal. What a pity that the nation repaid them with such ingratitude.



Clean Air Act.

... were accused of emitting dark smoke from a chimney at the Silverwood Colliery for a total of 10 minutes during a 30 minute inspection on August 1958. ...

The Electrical journal: Volume 161, Part 1 1958
Winders for Coal Mine Two large electrically-driven winding engines are to be made for the North Eastern ... This contract follows the recent installation and commissioning of the main coal winder at Silverwood Colliery, East Shaft.


A young Tom Philips started work at Silverwood 1n 1959.Tom recalls that he first went to Manvers Main & completed approx. 6 months of training, travelling by bus from Silverwood to Manvers each day. On completion of the training he worked in the stores for a while and then was sent with the surveyors as a linesman in the Barnsley Seam, the team members he worked alongside were Tony Hopkinson, Brian Liversidge & David Philpot.
A linesman duties was to keep the ongoing roadways [tunnels] straight this was done with theodolites and other surveyors equipment similar to those you see, when the road works are being done on the surface [motorways].
At the age of 18 Tom did his coalface training in the Melton field seam, on completion he was transferred to the market crew in the Barnsley Seam [coalface& ripping work ]until he left in 1964. He married a Maltby girl and got a job at Stanley Tools in Maltby where he remained until emigrating to Australia in1968. Toms father Tom Phillips snr. worked at Silverwood from 1935-1980 as a underground fitter. Tom jnr explains that the underground fitters responsibilities was to keep all the mechanical equipment going e.g. coal cutters, conveyors, pneumatic, hydraulics, basically anything that moves before the electrics, that's when the sparky appears.


David Philpot [ above ] was one of three brothers who worked underground at Silverwood, he ceased to be a linesman and went on to work  on haulage, there he had an accident resulting in a broken jaw, after many weeks off work, he returned to work in the lamp room and remained in this position until leaving in1956. The younger brothers of David were John and Derek Philpot . Sadly David has now passed away at the time of writing [ 2007 ] and he is remembered fondly by his family.


To enable the Silverwood Colliery band to purchase new and up-to-date instruments, the miners of Silverwood, near Sheffield, have decided to contribute towards the cost.




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