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ARCHIVE: Chatterley Whitfield Colliery, Stoke
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Default ARCHIVE: Chatterley Whitfield Colliery, Stoke - 04-10-2008, 16:47

Chatterley Whitfield was once one of 22 collieries on the Staffordshire coalfield, and one of only 2 remaining in preservation (the other being Apedale). The site was turned into a museum, but this closed in 1991 after some alleged mismanagement and the site is not normally open to the general public except by arrangement. This visit was on a Heritage Open Day which presented a good opportunity to see something we wouldn't normally be able to access particularly easily.

A full history can be found at here is one that I've abridged from that site.

The colliery opened in the first half of the 19th century, and was the first to produce a million tons in a year. However, after World War 2, as oil imports increased, the coal industry contracted and output dropped from over a million tonnes a year inn 1937 to 408000 tons in 1965. In 1974 it was decided that Whitfield coal could be more easily worked from Wolstanton Colliery and an underground roadway was driven to join the two pits. In 1976 coal drawing at Chatterley Whitfield came to an end. It was then run as a mining museum, but closed in 1991 as described above. Since then the place has opened occasionally, but has fallen into disrepair and only 2 buildings are accessible the Lamp House and the Bath House. English Heritage has decreed that the site is of national importance but requires around 25 million spending on it.

An interesting site, but the draconian H & S (miles of Herras fencing, multiple escorts and lack of access) spoiled things. On a more positive note, it was good to hear a former mineworker describe his experiences underground and what life was like working in the coal industry in the 60's and 70's, and the tea and cakes were ace!

Visited with DCG, Bungle, Gibbo and R1.

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