Colliery

Bournmoor Colliery
 
Bournmoor Colliery (also known as Lambton Colliery) was actually a collective title for the pits named A to E, the William Henry Pit and the Lady Ann Pit.
 
Location: Fencehouses (6 miles [9 km] NNE of Durham).
 

The earliest dated reference to Bournmoor Colliery is in February 1784 when the 'scale of changes for wagon maintenance at General Lambton's Collieries at Harraton, Lambton and Bourn Moor' were recorded. This suggests that the initial sinkings for the colliery may have begun in 1783 or earlier. In August 1784 calculations regarding the dimensions and accounts of an engine house at Bourn Moor were made by George Green. The engine house had provision for three 13 foot diameter haystack boilers and an undated plan showing the same dimensions and the title 'Bourn Moor Engine House' has survived. The A pit lay to the north side of Bournmoor Farm. B Pit (HER 4997) at NZ 3207 5154. It is not clear which of the early pits the engine house was designed for. The colliery was expanded in 1789-1797 with the sinking of C Pit which lay to the north of the A183, probably sunk in 1789 or 1790. In june 1791 D Pit was working the high Main Seam suggesting that the sinking may have begun as early as 1789. Although General Lambton would have been involved in the establishment of Bournmoor Colliery (other Lambton family collieries were Lumley, Harraton and Lambton) it is likely that from the beginning the operation would have been leased out. An abstract for an agreement has survived dated 1st January 1785 by Mr Featherstonehaugh and Co for working General Lambton's Collieries at Harraton, Lambton, Bournmoor and Lumley for five years. In 1800 John Buddle was appointed inspector of the Lambton Collieries and reports soon followed regarding Bournmoor Colliery. The upcast was then being aired from Lady Ann Pit (HER 3141). Buddle descended the D Pit shaft to the Maudlin Seam and noted the poor state of the roof which required two rows of props. In 1800 a new set of pumps were installed in the D Pit engine house and a new beam installed in the following year. An estate map of 1812 shows a raff (timber) yard, brick garth, cottages (D Pit Row), engine and small gardens. Records are illusive at this time which suggests that the mine was used for pumping rather than drawing coal. The importance of the pumping role is underlined by concern at the state of the engine, with the option of its abandonment in favour of the Morton engine (HER 3140) being actively considered in 1814. A significant change occurred in the organisation of the Lambton collieries in 1813 when John Lambton came of age. He immediately took back control of his collieries from the contractors and in their place he appointed a 'colliery board'. In 1815 deposits of salt were discovered coating the inner surface of one of the boilers at D Pit. Similar discoveries at Lambton led to the discovery of a saline spring and the subsequent establishment of a salt works at nearby New Lambton. D Pit was closed by 1823 and the engine is likely to have been used exclusively for pumping. It is recorded as drawing water from a dormant colliery in 1835. The centre of coal production on the Lambton Estate at this time appears to have shifted from this area to collieries at Cocken, Sherburn and Littletown. Around 1854 a new pit was superimposed on the D Pit and coal production was resumed. The old arrangement of the D Pit was replaced by new buildings, including a new engine house erected on the south side of the shaft. A group of at least 19 buildings had been built to the north of the D Pit, arranged in a rectangle so enclosing a central yard. These are likely to be houses with a series of gardens on the south and east sides. By 1856 the Lambton Railway (opened in 1819) had been extended with the addition of the Lambton Railway D Pit Branch linking the D Pit and Lady Ann Pit to the Lumley Branch. The Bournmoor engine was located at the junction of the D Pit and Lumley branch lines. This may have been a stationary steam engine and a long narrow building to the west, recorded on the Ordnance Survey 1st edition map as 'Duney's Bay' may have been an engine shed. An early electric telegraph line (HER 3144) was constructed. Elba had acquired a number of gardens on the east and south sides. B Pit had been long abandoned by 1856/7. The development of the colliery during the second half of the nineteenth century is poorly understood, though it is likely that the collieries were leased out for much of this period. By 1895 a new engine house and ancillary buildings had been built at the D Pit. A new terrace of workers housing was erected to the west of D Pit Row. The D Pit branch was abandoned, and a new branch had been built which ran from the main Lambton Railway on the west side of the Firebrick Works northwards. The Lumley Branch had also been diverted northwards to join the new line. In 1896 James Joicey took over the Lambton Collieries Ltd from the Earl of Durham. By 1940 a new engine house and several buildings had been erected at the D Pit. The spoil heap continued to expand and a large lake had developed on the north side of the spoil heap. In 1947 the running of the colliery passed to the National Coal Board. In 1965 the D Pit closed for the final time

 
The map below dates from 1939 and shows the complex layout of the railway lines, firebrick works, brick and tile works and collieries all in this one highly-industrialised area. The Lady Ann Pit is at the south east corner and D pit is off centre-right. Click on the map to expand it in your browser.
 
 
 
 

Above: taken from the approximate area of Lambton Lane, the pit in the foreground is the Lady Ann Pit. In the background can be seen the larger Lambton D Pit.

 
The picture above, taken in the 1920's is looking towards New Lambton, with the Lambton baths building just left of centre. Lambton D pit is on the right. Note the proximity of the houses to the pit - not too far to walk to work! The row of houses to the left, behind the pit baths is Railway Terrace, the row in the centre (nearer the pit) is D Pit(t) Row, the end of which marks the modern-day entrance into Elba Park. In the background-left is Lambton cokeworks
 
 

Above: this photograph, dating from the 1960's, shows Lambton Lane, looking in the direction of Lambton D Pit which is visible in the background. The large brick building in the foreground is the Pithead Baths (not to be confused with Lambton Baths which are out of view in this picture). The pithead baths were opened in March 1940 at a cost of £24,000. A contemporary news report of this event:

 

Accommodation for 1,300 miners at Lambton. Provided by the Miners’ Welfare Fund, at a cost of about £24,000.

Pit head baths to accommodate nearly 1,300 miners were opened this afternoon at Lambton Colliery by Mr Austin Kirkup, Managing Director of Lambton, Hetton and Joicey Collieries Ltd., supported by Mr Charles Howson, chief agent to the company and Alderman James Gilliland, President of Durham Miners’ Association and one of the County hon. Secretaries of the Miners’ Welfare Fund. Designed by Mr F.G. Frizzell of London, architect to the Miners’ Welfare Committee, the building has 1,296 clean clothes lockers and 1,296 pit clothes lockers, with sufficient accommodation to enable all the men on the largest shift to take their baths without delay. Among the adjuncts are boot-cleaning room, boot-greasing room and bottle-filling room, while in the clean entrance lobby there are drinking fountains and access to a canteen. Adjacent to the clean locker room there is a first aid room in which scratches, sores and other minor injuries can be dealt with promptly. Messrs Gordon Durham & Co. Ltd. of East Boldon were the contractors. Trustees of the baths are Messrs A. Thompson (manager of the colliery), H. Jackson (under manager) and County Councillor M. Doyle and Mr B. Stephenson (workmens’ representatives). Those four and Messrs J. Watson (engineer), E. Hind (keeker), J. Wood (mechanics), and J. Craggs (miners) for the Management Committee. Mr W. Atkinson is secretary of the Management Committee and clerk to the trustees.

 
 
 
Above: Lambton D Pit. The row of houses to the left is D Pit Row which show on many of the oldest maps of the area. They were built to the north, and at a right angle to, Railway Terrace which was built later.
 
 
 
The above picture is of the "Shops" at Lambton D Pit.
 
 
Above: The Lady Ann Pit at New Lambton
 
 
 
Above: Lady Ann Pit, 1891
 
Above: Lambton D Pit, 1965
 
 
 
Above: Lambton D Pit, c.1900
 
 
 
Above: The "Old Engine", New Lambton
 

 
Pit Locations
A pit location: (Sheet 88) NZ321518
B pit location: (Sheet 88) NZ321514
C pit location: (Sheet 88) NZ317517
D pit location: (Sheet 88) NZ318508
Lady Ann Pit location: (Sheet 88) NZ318505
William Henry Pit location: (Sheet 88) NZ316504
 
Owners
1820: Earl of Durham
1896: Lambton Collieries Ltd
1910's: Lambton and Hetton Collieries Ltd.</
1930's: Lambton, Hetton & Joicey Collieries Ltd
1947: National Coal Board (N.C.B
 
Output
1873 - Coal
1888 - Lady Ann Pit - Coal
1896 - D Pit - Coal: Coking, Gas, Household, Manufacturing
1896 - Lady Ann Pit - Coal: Manufacturing, Steam
1902 - D Pit - Coal: Coking, Gas, Household, Manufacturing
1902 - Lady Ann Pit - Coal: Manufacturing, Steam. Fireclay
1914 - Coal: Coking, Gas, Household, Manufacturing, Steam. Fireclay
1921 - Coal: Coking, Gas, Household, Manufacturing, Steam. Fireclay
1930 - Coal: Gas, Household, Steam
1947 - Coal: Gas, Household, Manufacturing, Steam. (237,724 tons
1950 - Coal: Gas, Household, Steam. Fireclay
1955 - Coal: Gas, Household, Steam. Fireclay
1960 - Coal: Coking, Gas, Household, Manufacturing. Fireclay
1961 - Coal: Coking, Gas, Household, Manufacturing. Fireclay
1964 - Coal: Coking, Gas, Household, Manufacturing. Fireclay
 
 

 
 
Although not of Bournmoor, the above map (from 1939) shows Lumley Sixth Pit, with Floaters Mill Bridge and Farm at top-centre. What is now Woodlea School is the building just visible at the far bottom-right.
 
The two images below are of Sixth Pit and date to the early 1960's. They are reproduced here courtesy of Mr Geoff Robinson, formerly of Fence Houses.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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