Silverwood Logo by John Doxey background photo Mick Carver1900 - 1994

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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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1900 to 1914




By 1907 the Silverwood Football Club was formed, Harry, Brandon was one of the early players and played for Silverwood colliery football in 1907.


First report of the ... Committee appointed to inquire into the ...: Parts 1-3
Great Britain. Miners' Eight Hour Day Committee 1907
You give us average times, not the exact times of the Dalton Main Colliery ? No. If you will excuse me, I will leave out Dalton Main Colliery. I would rather deal with the circumstances of the whole district.


 William Henry Ball age 39 who was born in Hoyland West Barnsley Yorkshire was the manager at Roundwood he was soon to be Manager of Silverwood. He had in 1901 been a manager at Flimby Cumberland. The family moved into what is now Milburn House Hollings Lane Thrybergh, the intersection of the road was nicknamed " Balls Corner" by locals. William and his wife Rhoda were to suffer the sad loss of their son Henry in the First World War.

Also from Hoyland came Joseph Robert Francis Thompson He was a pit deputy at Hoyland (don't know which pit) but between 1901 and 1907 he moved to Thrybergh. His sons were to become employed at Silverwood also

On the 23rd April 1907 George Simmone  age 20 a collier and another miner were taking a tub down a gateway when the rear wheels came off the rails, George went to the front of the derailed tub and swayed down on it, whilst the other miner lifted the rear,  eventually they managed to get the tub back on to the rails but alas George could no longer hold the tub, the tub rolled and carried him some 20 yards crushing him against a train of tubs that were full. George was killed by the impact, the other miner stating later that the lockers he and George had placed on the wheels had fallen out when the tub had derailed.


Thomas Hather age 34 was also a collier whose life came to an untimely end when on the 26th of July 1907 he with others had just arrived to start their shift when they observed that the roof looked to be in urgent need of more props, after checking out the situation. Thomas set up a prop and was in the process of tightening it and that's when the roof fell, dislodging a section of the gate pack plus props, which killed Thomas.
The following month on the 1st August 1907 Thomas E. Liddiard age 37 a Collier was a victim of rules not being carried out underground, two men one of whom was Thomas were working in a space of 9 feet 3 inches wide cutting into the solid coal preparing for a board place which would carry along the longwall, without warning a stone fell striking Thomas on his back, the result was a fractured spine. Apparently as the face advanced the bottom coal in the seam had not been extracted and the roof timbers consequently had not been set at a safe spacing and not in accordance with the Timbering special rules of the time. It was stated that had the timbers been set correctly Thomas may have possibly been able to avoid the falling stone.

On the 19th of September 1907Thomas Buxton age 28 a Ripper apparently ignored a warning not to proceed along the level as the shotfirer was soon to fire a shot. The ammonite charged shot was soon after fired, later on, the body of Thomas was found underneath the stone dislodged by the shot.


Born 18th January 1891at 34 Hooton Road, Kilnhurst, near Rotherham Leonard William Barlow began his career in the coal mining industry in Kilnhurst around 1905. Date of moving to Silverwood Colliery uncertain but he cycled from Kilnhurst to Silverwood each day, rising at 3.30a.m. to catch the 6 a.m. shift.


Reports of the Royal commission appointed to enquire into and to ---- Volume 3
Great Britain. Royal commission on canals and waterways, Ughtred James Kay-Shuttleworth Shuttleworth (1st baron), W. H. Lindley - 1908 -
Then there is the Aldwarke Main, and the Carhouse Collieries, the output from which is 1200.000 tons ; Dalton Main, a portion of which is near the canal, and the output there is 500000 tons. Rothervale is not quite so near the canal, .


Edward P. Bohan was an hostler who looked after the Pit ponies in 1908.
1908 was the year in which the implementation of the Coal Mines Act which meant an eight hour day for miners.

In 1908 J. E. Adam of Barnego, Whinney Hill Thrybergh is listed as M. B. C.M. GLAS Glas 1893 D.P.H. Surgeon to Silverwood Collieries.

Edward P. Bohan was an hostler who looked after the Pit ponies in 1908.


 Charles William Pearman brought his family from Nuneaton, Warwickshire between 1905 and 1908 and lived at 48 Doncaster Road, Whinney Hill, Thrybergh. He worked at Silverwood until his leg was smashed in an accident down the pit. His son William Alan Pearman born 1910 worked at Silverwood for a short time after leaving school. He was sent to live in Coventry with relatives after getting into trouble with his mates. He returned to Thrybergh in 1937 and went to work at Silverwood, he remained there until coming out of the pit due to his health. He was a committee man at the Top Club and concert secretary for many years. Alan Pearman the Grandson of Charles worked at the pit during the 1950's, when he left his brother Tony Pearman followed in the family tradition and started work at Silverwood.<more>

William Somerville age 38 a miner was possibly the first casualty in 1908, on the 3rd of January that year he was sitting down having a break from extracting coal from the face and watching a Trammer loading up a tub. Earlier he had set a prop close to where he was sitting when sandstone fell from the roof knocking aside the prop, William was killed instantly.

Just nine days after the above accident on the 12th of January Samual Baker age 47 a coke loader was engaged in lowering wagons to the coke ovens, near the rail points. The position of a stationary train whose wagons were full was just four inches away from the wagons in motion, either Samual was unaware of the danger or ignored the danger but in the process he was crushed to death between the wagons.
 Two men and Samual Bailey age 48 a collier were twisting a tub which was on a flat sheet when Samual collided against a nearby prop, he received injuries that appeared quite minor. This accident occurred on the 28th of March sadly to say Samual survived only until the 5th of May 1908 when he passed away due to peritonitis and Heart disease which were possibly a result of Samuels accident.

Now we could all be forgiven for mistakenly thinking that after the sad demise of Samual Baker above, that safety precautions would have been undertaken with the regard of working with wagons in a close proximity but it becomes obvious that this was not the case. On the 22nd of April 1908 James Hanton age 32 a Labourer walked between the buffers of a stationary wagon which was on a crossing, this was due to the fact that too many wagons had been placed on that section of rails, as the unfortunate James stepped between the buffers a second train which was being moved by gravity only on the other rails struck the wagon behind which James was walking, and James like Samual was crushed between buffers.

William Boden age 32 a Ripper at the mine was relaying the tram road and also removing dirt after a shot had been fired was killed by falling stone caused by a bump this was on the 27th of June 1908
On the 16th of November 1908 James Ryder age 46 a collier was bannocking above the seam with another man, James was struck by a stone falling from the roof after they had touched a slip, and died from his injuries on the day after the 17th of November the day.


Transactions: Volume 32 Institution of Mining Engineers (Great Britain) 1908
 Elce, James, Silverwood Colliery, Thrybergh, Rotherham.


Army pension papers show, that on enlistment in 1908, Arthur Stretton Pratt was a 35 year old Coal Worker at Silverwood Colliery and lived at 54 Norfolk Street, Rotherham.


The high death rate and accidents continued into the following year and on the 4th January 1909 J. Merrils age 52 a collier was working on the face when a large stone fell from converging slips which had formed a pot hole striking James on his head and shoulders
Shortly after on the 13th January 1909 Lawrence Ward age 37 a collier was working on the face when a bump occurred and Lawernce was killed by a slab of coal which burst out of the face.

The Mining Magazine - Page 317 1909
... description of two geared Ward-Leonard dc winders for Silverwood and Cadeby Collieries ...


Engineering and mining journal: Volume 88 American Institute of Mining Engineers 1909
In July last I visited their Silverwood mine, from which is taken the greatest output of coal per year, of any shaft of its depth in England. The shafts are circular, 21 ft. in diameter, and extend 2238 ft. to the Barnsley seam. .


In February of 1909 a main haulage road was being enlarged when a large section of the roof fell killing three men, this occurred on the 28th of February, two of the men were both Datallers they were George Goynston age 30 and William Poxton age 30.

J. Kilbride age 44 a collier on the 22nd April 1909 was in a waste drawing back timber but he was not using the timber drawing appliances instead he was using a hammer when suddenly two props were displaced when a piece of rock five yards in length, five feet in width and a thickness of nine inches fell on him
 Less than a month later on the 7th May 1909 John Taylor age 30 a Ripper was plucking stone after a shot had been fired when a piece fell and Silverwood lost yet another miner. James Butler a trammer age 33  on the 24th May 1909 was removing coal from the face when a large roof fall happened, six props were displaced by the fall, and it is stated that the cause was a slip and a smooth parting between the shale and sandstone strata, and James was added to the ever increasing death roll.


Back then the Skellams had the chippie (I think it's now a Chinese) same side as the Grapes Hotel they were known as Skellams, and used to sell a penneth of chips and a penneth of fish. Skellams used to run buses to the pit (charabancs) (Jim Wroe) nicknamed Lat (because he was thin) used to be the conductor.
Silverwood Brass Band was formed in 1909.


A fatal accident also occurred in this year on the 1st of July details not known.


In July of 1909 on the 5th Walter Barrawclough age 49 a collier chose the wrong route he was traversing in-bye but instead of taking the travelling road he used the haulage road, unfortunately for Walter a train of empty tubs running by gravity were also using the haulage road and he was run over by the train.

J. H. Gascoyne age 39 a miner on the 21st December 1909 badly crushed his hand whilst taking an empty tub to the face, his hand was caught between a prop and the tub, he died on the 6th January 1910 from subsequent blood poisoning


Reports of the inspectors of mines, to her Majesty's Secretary of ...Great Britain. Home Office  1910
Attention may, however, be drawn to the most glaring cases. (a.) Using hammers instead of proper timber -drawing appliances. 17th April at Orgreave Mine ; 22nd April at Silverwood Mine ;

Edward Thomas G Watkin age 42 was appointed as a Train guard at Silverwood in 1910.

Yet another accident with tubs occurred  on the 5th August 1910 when Samual Cartwright age 21 an haulage hand was coupling two sets of full tubs as he stepped back from between tubs he tripped over a chain as another tub collided into the back set, Samuels skull was fractured due to his head being trapped in-between the two sets of tubs.

 John Henry Green was the most popular labour leader in South Yorkshire, and was at the head of over 3000 Silverwood miners.  In this capacity he fought many stiff battles for the cause.  When addressing the men at their meetings he was noted for his outspokenness, and never feared to risk his reputation through plain speaking if they were taking up any unreasonable attitude, the late John Brown’s strike being a typical example of this. When the Workers’ Compensation Act came into force, Mr Green held the post of adviser and secretary for compensation for the Silverwood miners. In this, as in everything else he took up, he quickly became adept, and he had no rival in Yorkshire in compensation matters. Dr. Pye-Smith, the eminent Sheffield doctor, counted him as a friend, whilst nearly every gentleman of influence in the Rotherham area was proud to shake hands with him.  He could have made a great name at Barnsley as a miner’s leader and probably become an M.P. however he declined all offers.


Robert Dyson age 24 a Corporal was killed on the 8th February 1911 when he was trying to lift a tub back on the rails a full tub which had knocked out a leg from under a bar of 12ft when it derailed. This caused a large section of roof to fall on Robert, a total of three bars were dislodged and it is stated that before he tried to replace the tub back on the rails a mid prop should have been set

Born 18th January 1891at 34 Hooton Road, Kilnhurst, near Rotherham Leonard William Barlow began his career in the coal mining industry in Kilnhurst around 1905. Date of moving to Silverwood Colliery uncertain but he cycled from Kilnhurst to Silverwood each day, rising at 3.30a.m. to catch the 6 a.m. shift.


In 1911the coal mines act of that year stipulated that all miners signing on should receive a copy of the act, and that each miner should declare whether or not he was qualified to work other than under the supervision of a skilled worker. The bill was passed after Parliament and the Lords debated it. Also a compulsory introduction of Mine Rescue Stations was brought in with the bill.

In 1886 a Royal Commission recommended the establishment of Rescue Stations, but they did not become general until the Coal Mines Act of 1911 made their provision compulsory.

On the 17th May 1911 John Searles a miner was killed by coal bursting from the face he was 30 years old

It was quite an interesting year for coal mining in  July and August there was trouble brewing in the old West Riding,  by December of that year there was a coal trade crisis regarding miners wages.


At sometime prior to 1909 Thomas Done age 48 arrived with his family living at 59, Silver St Thrybergh by 1911he is listed as a coal hewer. His third son Thomas being 2 years old by 2011 which is the year Thomas senior died at the age of 50, it is not known if his death was due to a mining accident and if so which mine he worked in either Silverwood or Roundwood.

It was the year when Parliament decided that the Pit brow Lasses would stay in mining. Meanwhile amongst all this the Roundwood and Silverwood had a celebration of sorts where they consumed  ginger beer and apples in early August. A year when four people of No Fixed Abode were discovered sleeping in the Silverwood area. A year when in December poor old Thomas Atherton a Silverwood Miner who lived at Dalton Brook was arrested and jailed for a month for a  Mottying offence at Silverwood Colliery. In the days of private ownership  the colliers had motties, small pieces of cast metal with a number on them, when they filled a tub full of coal they'd put their "motty" on it, the coal was then paid to them.

Minimum Wages Act forced on it by striking coal workers.

Christmas was just a couple of days away when the unfortunate Edward Wilson a Stoneman was killed on the 22nd December 1911, he was 90 yards away from the coalface on a junction where two roads met hitching a horse to a tub containing dirt when a overhead bump caused a one and a half ton stone to dislodge to fall on him, he passed away just a few hours later at the age of 20.



In 1912 on the 8th July King George V and Queen Mary visited Silverwood, during the visit the Queen had a ride on a Railway Trolley belonging to the Midland Railway , during the visit to Silverwood an explosion occurred at Cadeby Colliery killing 88 men and boys. The King and Queen visited Cadeby the next day. The King and Queen at Silverwood


Recently [2011 ] I received this email which corrects the date given above.

"Dear Mr Doxey,
I've just been visiting your Silverwood Mine site, and noted with interest the photograph of Queen Mary visiting Silverwood in July 1912.
In connection with some cataloguing work here I was reading about the royal visit to Yorkshire in The Times online version. It's clear that King George V and Queen Mary arrived at Doncaster on 8 July, and visited Conisborough Castle en route for Wentworth Woodhouse, where they stayed each night until their return on 12 July.
They actually visited Silverwood and then Elsecar on Tuesday 9 July (not 8 July). Later that day they learned of the Cadeby tragedy, and motored there to visit the scene. They had seen the pit from the castle tower the previous day, and became aware that some of the miners who had probably been among the crowds greeting them were now dead. During their visit to Cadeby the Queen was moved to tears and the King was also reported to be visibly affected [The Times, 10 July 1912].
I hope this is of use in updating the information on your website.
With good wishes
Tristram Clarke"

Dr Tristram Clarke
Outreach Officer
Public Services Branch
National Archives of Scotland

Silverwood lost quite a few of it's own men in this tragic year.

On the 20th January 1912 William Lee a Coke Labourer age just 21 became yet one more miner to die due to lack of safety at the mine, the accident happened whilst in the process of making coke William went over a fence near the top of the coke ovens to proceed to the stamping house, and was electrocuted when he touched live wires. The motor used for the purpose of stamping was a 7.5-H.P. USING 55O volts alternating current.

Enoch Lawrence age 29 a collier was working  on a new heading on the 1st February 1912, the heading was for the object of making new cuts and had been started at the gate end. The top coal had been left up and formed the roof, however there was an unseen Pot Hole, Enoch was underneath the Pot Hole when it fell and killed him

The price of coal in 1912 was around 8s.9d. per ton [ Pit Head cost ] There was a strike in 1912 this was concerning the loss in earnings when miners worked in narrow coal seams, a narrow seam meant a slower production in the coal extracted, the miners got paid for what they produced so they fought for a minimum wage as compensation for being unable to earn a decent wage on these narrow seams.   Illegal coal picking was recorded at the time during the strike due to the obvious shortage of coal.

John Pennington age 28 a Stoneman died on the 15 April 1912 he was on night shift and with others was at the pit top waiting for the cage, he entered the cage first. He was ill and as the cage was being lowered he remarked to the other men that he was not well. Suddenly he slipped under the fence rail of the cage and fell, it happened so quickly that his mates did not have time to respond with any aid.

Blood poisoning from injuries received back then seem to be a common occurrence as in the case of Henry Shaw age 37 a Dauber whose leg was fractured when a 7.5 cwt shaft fell on it. Henry and others were renewing the shaft on the coke ramming machine and were lifting the shaft with a chain that had a weak link, the chain broke and the shaft fell hitting Henry. Blood poisoning set in very quickly and on the 12th of August Henry passed away. A similar case is that of Joseph Bailey age 48 a collier who received a small scratch to his foot on the 10th of August 1912, I can only presume that little was thought of the scratch but on the 9th June 1913 Joseph died from blood poisoning from that small wound

During 1913 Harry Pursehouse, J. Stamps, and J. Russell representing the Yorkshire Miners Association Silverwood Branch met with Rotherham Council to discuss a request that the street lamps between Aldwarke Toll Bar and Whinney Hill be left on until 6 a.m. for six nights a week between September and March.


On the 16th of September 1912 Ernest Turton a 27 year old Run rider was discovered underneath the third tub of a set of ten tubs, There were no witnesses and it was thought that he may have tripped on the tail rope and gone underneath the tubs

John Culkin age 29 a Filler and another man were engaged in pulling a ringer to remove a prop during this process a bump happened and a large section of roof came down which buried John.   

John Tarper age 21 a Stoneman was moving a tub of wood in a gateway on the 8th October 1912 when approximately two tons of bind fell killing him. Not long after this on the 25th October Allan Scholes a Stoneman was enjoying his snap with two other men when Allan was struck by a 4.5ft x 2ft piece of stone which fell from between two slips, both of his thighs had compound fractures and Allan died from the injuries. The fall happened at a gateway junction.
With Christmas once more approaching on the 10th December 1912 Frank Hague age 30 a Filler was doing his work at the coal face when a bump happened causing coal to burst from the face the coal crushed Frank against a tub


By 1913 European mines were introducing Mechanization whereas the United Kingdom mine owners rather than spend money on machinery relied on human labour and just below ten percent of coal was cut by machine in the U. K.  This percentage slowly increased and just prior to 1930 the U. K.  had increased this figure to only 25 percent,  ten years later the figure had increased to around 75 percent throughout the U.K. This of course meant that the coal industry in the U. K. could not compete with its European counterparts, a situation caused by mine owners not the miners.

The comparison in output is astonishing from 1913 until 1930, Germany and Poland by the implementation of machinery increased their outputs between 70 and 80 percent, whilst the U.K. lagged behind with a meagre 10 percent increase.

Silverwood was amongst the few mines actually competing with the European mines, but the overhaul percentages above included smaller low production mines.


Roof falls were still a constant fear in 1913

William B. Hall age 31 a Filler was filling a tub on the 29th April 1913 was suddenly hit on the head with a piece of rock which fell from the roof
A very young Arthur Winstanley age just 15 a pony driver was simply walking on a level to collect two empty tubs on the 5th of July 1913 when there was a bump resulting in a large fall of side which struck him on the head and young Arthur died on the spot.

Albert Henry Salter age 44 a Trammer was killed on the 15th August 1913 by a roof fall, he was working with others getting wood from the gob, a chain came off a prop which they had been pulling and Arthur went back to recover the chain as the roof fall happened.
George Haigh age 46 a Stoneman died on the 31st September 1913 whilst making an overcast when he was hit by a roof fall which run out a stretcher.

Then on the 29th September 1913 three men died in one tragic accident, they were dinting the floor of one of the underground stables and in the process weakened the support of side props, there was a large roof fall from a black parting which buried the three men. The three men lost were:

Peter Oakes age 41 a Stoneman

Thomas Harris age 46 a Contractor
Roland Harris age 18 a Driver
Full Story
1913 Accident





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