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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Stuart Tomlins Collection

Stuart Tomlins Collection 2

Stuart Tomlins Collection 3

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Photo kindly submitted by Brian Eyre

In 1930 Tom Weaver who lived on Vale Road opposite the Fullerton Hotel was the Check Weighman at Silverwood. This was the year Silverwood achieved a world record output

In 1931 the Silverwood structures consisted of  engine houses,  wagon shops  a coal-washing plant, lamp cabin, offices, electricity generating station, workshops, and a coke works was constructed with  an associated by-product plant and also an associated acid and tar plant . 

During this period the Brickworks were demolished to expand the tip and extend railway sidings.

This was also the year Roundwood Colliery stopped producing coal in June of 1931, this apparently was because of output quota restrictions.

Silverwood  also broke a record by producing an incredible for the time 7,073 tons in one day.


A young John Ford, started work  at Silverwood colliery in 1930 and remained there until 1978. As he was born in 1913 , he would have been 16/17 when he started at the mine. He lived for most of that period at 51 Avondale Road, Masbrough, Rotherham.


Honest Doubt: Being a Collection of Papers on the Price of Modern Politics - Page 246
by Ernest John Pickstone, Benn - 1932 - 248 pages
"At Rotherham Main Colliery work has again been completely suspended. At Silverwood Colliery 3500 men and boys will be unemployed from to-day until Monday ...


Dave Edwards writes:- Apparently Silverwood was closed in 1933 and re-opened in September of that year. This seems to imply that the shaft incident occurred, when the cables in both shafts failed and the men down below had to walk to Roundwood underground and exit from there. It would have been a slow process as the cage at Roundwood was very small.
Dear John The only time the men at Silverwood would have needed to use the Roundwood exit was probably when there was a problem with cage ropes breaking in both shafts I believe it appeared to be hushed up somewhat at the time It would have occurred during the war years I think  1939 to 1945. As you can imagine they would have used the ropes way past there use by dates. In these bad times every ton of steel was needed for the war effort there would have been many tons in those ropes.. There are no more incidents where they would have used Roundwood that i ever heard about ...Iwould be interested to hear from anyone who has information on the above incident. Regards Dave Edwards ex Silverwood

PS they didn't call it the MERRY WIDOW for nothing I think the war years was probably the the worst period for fatalities and injuries except for the 1966 mail crash..


The Colliery guardian and journal of the coal and iron trades: Volume 146 1933
The Yorkshire branch of the Institute of Mine Surveyors held a meeting in the Rotherham College of Technology on Saturday, ... that the Dalton Main Colliery Co. were considering the erection of pithead baths at the Silverwood Colliery,

Walter Dickinson age 64 a Stoneman was working in a longwall gate on the 20th April 1933, he was cutting down the side room for a girder when suddenly stone dislodged from the side and one of his legs was pinned to the floor. After examination it was found that he had a compound fracture of the leg, unfortunately the leg had to be amputated when
Septicaemia set in, sadly Walter passed away two months later.


The Colliery guardian and journal of the coal and iron trades: Volume 147
The coal produced was 112154 tons less, while that produced "by their subsidiary, the Dalton Main Colliery Co., at 1085595 tons, was slightly higher by 7498 tons as compared with 1931. This output was only rendered possible by purchases

The 2nd of April 1934 was the day quite a few dismissals were to take place, This also was the year that the new coke oven plant was installed at Silverwood on the 24 January


 Clifford (Cliff) Hanton [ Born March 12th 1921 ].Started Silverwood 1934 aged 13. and worked at Silverwood all his working life signing up as a Pony Boy in 1934 or 35 age 13 and retiring as an Overman in 1982.During his time underground he worked in several jobs but his main position was as a Mechanic. I still remember being taken to see the first "Joy-loader" when it was on the pit top, as I had drawn a similar machine (probably based on Dad's description). He later got his shot-firer's ticket and moved on to Deputy & Overman. He was the son of John Wm (Jack) Hanton and the nephew of Albert & Fred who you have listed already. His younger brother Jack also worked at Silverwood from about 1938. The Hantons moved from Dalton and lived at 41, West Crescent, Sunnyside; Cliff moved to Bramley for a short time after his marriage but then obtained a house next to his parents at No 43 where he lived until 1966, moving on to Flanderwell Lane where he lived until his death in 1994. [ Submitted by Alan Hanton, and Ian Hanton].


On the 4th of May 1934 John Nettleship a 54 year old collier was a victim of a roof fall which hit his head whilst working on the face getting coal.

Sheila Khan tells us that Earnest Butler a Silverwood fireman received an award from King George V for bravery in 1935.


Alfred Blyton a 57 year old Stoneman was sent to clean and dress sides at a gate on the 13th November 1934 he had been to the passbye to collect a tub and as he bent over to insert a locker a section of roof fell on him, Alfred survived just four days after the accident. About a week later a further death when Samual Stacey a 62 year old Painter on the 21st November 1934 whilst working in the washery fell 20 feet into a wagon, he had been walking across a wooden plank platform over a hole in bottom floor of the washery. He was rushed to hospital but died later that day.



The average weekly wage in 1935 for a Yorkshire miner was 2 . 15s. 2d but in real terms by the time a miner finished paying stoppages this would be 2 11s. 4d, this amount was the remainder after the colliery company deductions. This would be further reduced taking into account other items. Sometimes Benevolent funds and Union fees, and in some cases miners were charged a disgusting sixpence a week for the hire of his lamp. In effect his net pay would be reduced by at least another 4 shillings. Add on to that any further cost such as transportation to work, and the miners wage is not looking as good as most people thought


According to the Colliery Year Book and Coal Trades Directory for 1935 the average earned per shift all mine-workers,  was 9s. 1 3/4 pence. Which would indicate a miner was earning 142 .00, but if you then took into account  his deductions, plus non working days the actual annual gross pay was substantially much less than given in the year book. In fact for the preceding year 1934 the average gross earnings in Great Britain was given as 115 11s. 6d. which again taking into account deductions and fees brings the actual figure  down to around 105.00 p. a.  Not forgetting days not worked, and non productive days which again reduces the actual total.


.. Jig Washery at Silverwood Colliery. Cott. Eng., 13, 119 (1936).

Bertie Halford worked at Silverwood colliery, and may have been killed in an accident at the mine in the 1930's
A matter was raised concerning a dispute over Non-unionism at Silverwood Colliery in the year 1935, it was to occur again in 1937
Frank Carver followed his Dad Harry into the Mine in 1938, although he started work at the age of 14 he could not go underground until he was 15. So he worked in the blacksmiths shop for a year before going underground. He often said that it was strange to be working with men you had started school with, and some of them kept the nicknames they had at school


The nature and number of deaths resulting from non fatal accidents, seem to be rather from medical ignorance of the time, as in the following two incidents which show that the initial injury did not kill the men below, it was the onset of further problems, perhaps related to the age of the men concerned.


On the 25th May 1936 Charles Edwin Smith a 67 year old Enginewright suffered what might seem a simple enough injury today, he was wielding a heavy hammer whilst repairing a rail crossing on the full wagon siding. Charles swung the hammer and missed his target causing him to spin around which twisted one of his knees. Overnight the knee became badly swollen and being unable to work a Doctor was called who diagnosed phlebitis and treated him accordingly. Charles died 36 days after the accident of a  pulmonary embolism.

 James Gent a 47 year old Deputy who was walking along a machine cut conveyor face on the 17th June 1937 when suddenly a flash occurred and the resulting fall dislodged a steel prop injuring one of James hands and a foot. He was taken to Hospital and after examination was discharged home on the same day. On the 7th of August James Gent passed away, the cause of death stated as Heart Disease

Arthur Machin  a 59 year old Collier who had just finished his snap on the face on 21st May 1937 and was just about to pick up his pick to resume work when a slab of coal dislodged from the face and had his thigh fractured, he sadly died from a embolism some five weeks after the accident.

In 1938 Silverwood was listed as Dalton Main Collieries Ltd., Rotherham Roundwood & Silverwood Thrybergh, nr. Rotherham manager G Wilshaw under-manager D Tuke with 2,439 men underground and 815 men on the surface.


 Frederick Bennett a Coal cutter was killed age just twenty one in a accident on the face on the 9th October 1937. He was turning a machine and knocked out a steel prop which caused a fall of coal from the roof. The likely cause of death was believed to be that the prop had hit his head knocking James into cutter which fractured his skull, he survived only a few minutes after the accident.

Around this time the Miners gained a Bathhouse, and at last they could return home clean, Fred Kelly was one of the first Bath House attendants, and later applied for and gained a position as Bath House Superintendent at a mine near Royston. He was to return to Silverwood as a Bevin Boy during the second World War.


Danny Williams started at the mine in 1938, he played football for the Silverwood team, later when he joined Rotherham United as a part time player he would turn up for games still in his grime and pit clothes.


On the 5th April 1938 Sydney F. Sims a 48 year old Filler was engaged in dismantling a steam driven compressor to enable the removal of the main bearing which was standing on the inter-cooler water pipe. Having just removed the bolts from the high pressure relief valve which weighed 2.5cwt, he was shaking the valve to ensure that it was now free, when suddenly it fell some 15 feet taking Sydney with it. However he survived only 3 hours after the fall.

Around this time a young Ralph Law started work at  the mine and was to undertake a very important though sometimes overlooked role which was that of  colliery Blacksmith.

James Oliver a 41 year old Collier was killed on the 2nd May 1938 whilst working on a new cutting track he was getting the bottom coal from the track when from the top of the face a section of coal fell on him.
On the 23rd June 1938 Isaac Clarke a 62 year old Collier was killed outright whilst drawing props from the waste at the face, with only one prop remaining, Isaac was walking towards this last prop in the waste with a Sylvester chain when he was hit by a fall .

Owing to the depressed state of the coke industry, the Silverwood coke ovens which supplied the Board with 3-1 million cubic feet of gas a day have been closed

National Society for Clean Air - 1939


William Davidson age 22 a Mechanic And George A. Wheeler age 41 a Collier were killed together in a roof fall on the 3rd August 1939, George had just resumed work with his pneumatic pick when the fall occurred, it took 30 minutes to remove the men from the fall but they had both died.

Just prior to the war Wilfred Durham of Thrybergh lost a leg in an accident at the pit before WW2,  his son Earnest [ Ed] Durham is today trying to obtain details of that accident  he writes "I regret I have no better date than "before the war".

James Albert Horton a 47 year old Ripper was working in front of a conveyor belt on the 17th August 1939 he was cleaning the track some nine yards away from the belt when a piece of coal burst from the face pinning James against a steel prop, he was killed outright.

On the 2nd October 1939 there was a "paddymail disaster" at Silverwood Colliery  Thomas Thackery was The First Aid man and received a watch and money for his services during the disaster. Thomas was living at 1 East Crescent Sunnyside at the time.

Fred Willey started work as a fitter in the late 30's, he would move the conveyor belt underground on night shift ready for the day shift. He then became a face cutter and then a Deputy. He suffered with his lungs towards retirement and worked on the cage, he actually met the Queen on her visit in 1976.






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