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

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1913 Accident






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Silverwood at night photo copyright and courtesy of Stephen Pursehouse

Silverwood at night photo copyright and courtesy of Stephen Pursehouse


The Silverwood Mine (Diesel Vehicles) Special Regulations were established in 1963 S.I. 1963/1618 Regulations 4 to 6


David Churm continued to work at Silverwood through the 1950's, married Doris Crabtree and brought up 4 sons and a daughter. Although working and wage conditions had improved into the modern age, against his advice he saw his first son, David born in Dalton,1939 sign on at the colliery, but only for a short time.....In 1960 the Churm sons and daughter experienced the death of their father down the Silverwood Mine, age 47years.


Marriages between mining families were commonplace as in the case of  Frank "Ticker" Harvey who married Margaret McGowan on May 6th 1961 at Dalton on a typical rainy day. Frank who was the son of William Harvey worked on the same shift as William McGowan the father of Margaret . Frank and Margaret's daughters Julie and Nicola believe  that their parents only met because their granddad worked the same shifts as their dad and decided he was as "a nice fellow.

Both William and Frank were no strangers to mining accidents, William had been badly injured during an accident which left him with severe scarring on his back and a due to leg injuries had a metal pin inserted into one of his legs.
Frank as an underground train driver was later to be greatly affected by the 1966 tragedy [ see below ]


Glyn Williams, who had worked at Aldwarke mine  1952 -1961 was transferred to Silverwood when Aldwarke closed,  during his time at Aldwarke he worked in the Surveyor office as Line Lad, became a Dust Suppression Officer, completed coal face training, and worked as a Ripper in the Silkstone Seam.  He then trained as a shotfirer and Deputy , he was also a member of the Mine Rescue Team, he was already a Deputy when he was transferred to Silverwood.
Glyn writes:

You asked me in your email what were the duties on a LINES LAD well it was their job to assist the Surveyors to make sure that all the roads (tunnels) were driven in the correct direction; this was done by installing plumb line in the roof of the tunnel they were placed approximately 6 feet apart and by sighting through these lines on to the ripping lip a centre line could be drawn in chalk, this job was done in all the tunnels that were being driven underground, about once a month a line would be chalked through the coal face to make sure that the coal face was being extended in an even manner.
On a Friday of each week the Lines Lad would measure the distance that each coal face had advance, on Saturday morning I would go into the Surveyors office and plot on the underground plans the amount each coal face had advanced.  This was my job at Aldwarke; the Surveyors would always check my work.
The duties of the Dust Suppression Officer were to take air borne dust samples; first the ventilation was checked using an anemometer; then by using a pump that had a paper filter in the inlet of the pump a specified number of strokes drawing air through the filter, this sample was then sent to the Area Scientific Laboratory for inspection (they checked the sample looking through a high powered microscope checking the size of the particles of dust collected on the filter.  If the sample failed the test the dust suppression methods had to be improved, this was usually improvements to water spray systems.  Dust samples were collected from the floor and walls of the tunnels, these samples were again sent for analysis to check the percentage of coal dust and stone dust in the sample, if there was too much coal dust, more stone dust had to be spread along the stretch of tunnel that had failed the test, these test were carried out in both the intake and the return airways.

The Mining magazine: Volume 105 Thomas Arthur Rickard 1961
Mine Safety Appliances Co., Ltd., of Glasgow, have developed a ventilation smoke tube assembly to detect the speed and ... Orders are in hand for two sets of equipment for use in such systems at the Silverwood Colliery, Nr. Rotherham, ...

W. A. Colthart started work at the mine in 1962, his check number was 730 and he became a fitter. He gained a nickname at the mine which was "The Mole", he left Silverwood in 1987


New Regulations were introduced like  The Silverwood Mine (Electric Trolley Locomotives) and in 1963 The Silverwood Mine (Diesel Vehicles) Special Regulations. Silverwood was now completely electrified. This followed from the reconstruction which began in 1953   The Meltonfield Seam now had 5 ton mine cars hauled by Diesel locos, whereas the Barnsley Seam had the 5 ton mine cars hauled by Electric trolley Locos. The output from the Melton field seam and the Barnsley seam was hauled to the surface in 12 ton skips on the new skip winding plant.  At  this time the Silverwood Manager was:- A. W. Tuke and the under manager was A. Barnes There was 1, 050 men working at the pit with seams at Swallow Wood and Haigh Moor.

1963 Grade 1 Deputy at Silverwood colliery Mr Moore joined The Institution of Mining Engineers in he was awarded a Peake Travelling Scholarship of the Midland Institute

Albert Merrill as a boyEvery large workplace has its comedian and Silverwood not only had a comedian he was also a cartoonist. His name was Albert Merrills of  Dalton [ Pictured ] who would draw cartoons of events and people at the Mine and post them on the notice board [ Anyone have a Merril cartoon hiding away somewhere? ] Albert was also a member of the colliery band. He was an accomplished melodeon player and it is said he was one of the nicest men you could ever wish to meet. Sadly Albert was to be yet another victim of the mine and was killed in an accident in 1963.



Thomas Ridge of Shelley Drive, Herringthorpe Rotherham worked at Silverwood pit, he was born in 1901 and apparently he was strangled and died while working there, presumably by accident, he was aged 62 at the time, so that makes the date of the incident 1963. Your help required


During the following year 1964 there was a fatality  when yet another roof fall occurred.


In 1964 the last trolleybus to operate in Rotherham a 1949 Daimler CT8 with Roe bodywork , was a number 53 to Silverwood.


Proceedings of the Institution of Electrical Engineers: Volume 111 Institution of Electrical Engineers 1964
The heaviest locomotives in use in British mines are the trolley-type locomotives at Silverwood Colliery in Yorkshire, which weigh 25 tons each and have a 1 h rating of 190 hp. The trains are double-headed and the traction unit is thus ...

1966 apart from the tragic death of my father Ike Doxey, was a tragic year for the miners at Silverwood. Ken (Kelly) Nightingale was killed in January of that year. The cause again was a roof fall. Ken was known locally as a footballer and played for Rotherham United during his career.

This was shortly followed by the loss of more Miners killed in the paddy mail accident on the 4th of February1966. Sonny Linney was working at Silverwood at the time of the crash, and walked away from it Pop Linney his brother was on the afternoon shift, neither of them went down the pit again. The family lived on Silver Street where many of the disaster victims lived. Shortly after this accident another miner died in yet another incident.


The Mining engineer: Volume 125, Issues 61-72 Institution of Mining Engineers (Great Britain) 1966
More than 100 million has been spent on such schemes and the largest include the combined mines at Manvers Main, Cadeby Main, Grimethorpe and South Kirkby while most extensive reconstructions have been carried out at Silverwood,

Michael Shaw was born and raised in Dalton and started work at Silverwood Colliery in 1966, working there just three years. However he was never to forget those years at Silverwood, or the men he worked with.

This was the decade that the Swallow Wood seam was developed, approval was granted in 1965 and the seam went into production in 1967. This opening of a new seam was because the existing  Meltonfield seam was poor quality coal, and the conditions of the seam made it difficult to extract coal.  The other existing seam which was the Barnsley seam had bad faults within, and also the risk of combustion was high. Due to the remoteness of the Barnsley seam ventilation was also a problem. The Swallow Wood seam proved to be a successful venture resulting in the closure of both the Meltonfield and Barnsley seams. Meltonfield was closed in 1968, and The Barnsley seam closed in 1970. Once again Silverwood as it was in the early years was producing coal from one seam only.
A regular occurrence in mining areas was subsidence, when the earth really did move beneath your feet, this cost the coal board dearly on repairs to houses affected by this. Sometimes the movement would cause irreparable damage to dwellings. The subsidence was caused by the settlement of coal seams worked on.

Often locals would complain that they could hear the men working below their houses at night, how true this was is not known to me.
Silverwood was not allowed to use electricity on the coalface in the main seam which was the Barnsley seam because it was very gassy & also subject to spontaneous  combustion. Consequently all machinery was driven by compressed air & the supply hoses were widely known as bags or baggings" The air picks were known as a Gun
New plant was ordered for the colliery in 1965.
1967 a young miner by the name of George Frederick Speight slipped in the pit head baths on some soap. He was later to be well known as Paul Shane Comedian and T/V Actor.
Silverwood 1960's photo courtesy and copyright Stephen PursehouseTerry Johnson started in 1968 and finished in 1994 he was a face worker and also on the N. U. M. Committee, Terry was born in Dalton on Norwood Street and was educated at Thrybergh School
George Henry Roberts who had worked at Silverwood from around 1922 was informed he could no longer work on the coal face in 1962.  Five years later  in 1967 George left due to ill health. He became one of the first miners in this area to obtain compensation for an industrial disease.
In 1967 Les Rust a Thrybergh a faceworker of Thrybergh departed from Silverwood after 16 years and with his wife Madge opened The Davy Lamp in East Herringthorpe from new. Les and Madge went on to run the Tabard East Herringthorpe and also the Mason Arms at Crookes Sheffield.





Silverwood  photo copyright and courtesy of Stephen Pursehouse


An accident occurred in 1968 when a miner was trapped in a coal cutting machine and was killed.


The ever expanding tip was to create a problem in the 1960's , the tip was moving, causing slides, this effectively blocked the Dyke down at the Blacking Mill, suddenly new ponds appeared in the valley.  This problem was overcome by the laying of two new pipes to divert the stream. The tip continued to expand and a further stiffening beam was necessary this was constructed down in the valley in 1969.


Albert Hart became one more fatality at the mine in the late 1960's, the cause of death and the date is unknown.


In March 1969 Eric Riley  an Overman at the time left Silverwood to emigrate to Australia  in a recent email Eric tells me his family  history goes back a fair way regarding Silverwood in that his grandfather William Riley worked there as a collier in the1920s.  William had six sons all of whom worked underground,  the six sons in order of seniority were Isaiah, Tom, George ,John, Joe,  and William, Eric is the son of  John Riley who was known as Jack.  Eric's Uncle George worked on coal up to his sixty fifth birthday until he retired in 1962.  Starting at the mine in 1953 working in the West Pit bottom for eighteen months, Eric then moved into the then Melton Field on January 1st 1955 where he did his face training. On January 1 1962 he started as a deputy, and then in 1967 he was promoted to Overman a position he held until his decision to emigrate down under. Does Eric remember his days at Silverwood with pride, you bet he does,  how do I know, just take a look at his email address.  Eric Riley Says it all doesn't it! <more>


The electrical review: Volume 185, Issues 10-18 1969
For instance, the outstanding trolley locomotive in use at Silverwood colliery, where 25 ton double-headed units haul trains of eighteen 5 ton mine cars up a gradient of 1 in 28, is not mentioned, nor is the complex battery locomotive ..


Mining journal: Volume 273  1969
Coal Mining Spearhead Faces at Silverwood Colliery TWO "'spearhead" faces established in J the Haigh Moor seam at Silverwood Colliery, South Yorkshire Area of the NCB, consistently exceed their original targets of 1000 saleable----

Millhouse in Dalton which pre 1970 was used by the Coal Board for Senior Staff i.e. Mr Colin Fairhurst and Family, who worked at Silverwood. There was  also was a yard used by the N. C. B.





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