Tyne and Wear HER(1135): Wallsend, Bigges Main to Wallsend Waggonway - Details
Wallsend, Bigges Main to Wallsend Waggonway
Deep collieries which opened to the east of Newcastle in the second half of the 18th century included Bigges Main, won in 1784. The colliery was owned and operated by Matthew Bell and William Brown and named after William Bigge, the owner of the Royalty. It was served by a waggonway which became a major access route to the River Tyne at Wallsend for a number of collieries. Casson’s 1801 Plan of the Rivers Tyne and Wear shows this waggonway running from Bigges Main to a staith at Wallsend south of the Wallsend A and B pits. A detailed plan from 1803 (Watson 19/16) shows Bigges Main’s A, B, C and Engine pits located along or on branch lines feeding in to the waggonway which extended as far west as B Pit. In addition to serving Bigges Main, the line had branches to Willington Colliery’s George and William Pits to the north (Willington Colliery was also owned by Bell and Brown), the connection being severed when West Willington Waggonway was opened. The line was also extended to the west in 1808, becoming the feeder line for Kenton and Coxlodge Waggonway to Wallsend and was relayed with cast iron rails and stone sleeper blocks. The riverside terminus of the line at Wallsend is shown on the 1803 map, with just one line running to the staith. A plan of 1811 shows a fan of three, each serving different collieries; that to the south Bigges Main - the line confusingly re-named Willington Waggonway - the middle line Kenton and Coxlodge and the line to the north from Fawdon Colliery. Bigges Main Colliery was flooded in 1857 and closed.
<< HER 1135 >> 1st edition Ordnance Survey map, 1865, 6 inch scale, Northumberland 89; Alan Williams Archaeology, 2012, Waggonways North of the River Tyne: Tyne and Wear HER Enhancement Project 2011-12; Turnbull, L. 2009 Coals from Newcastle: An Introduction to the Northumberland and Durham Coalfield; Casson 1801: Map of the Rivers Tyne and Wear; North East Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineering: All Watson Papers prefixed NRO/3410/ Watson 19/16: Estate plan of Backworth, Seghill and Burradon and colliery plan of Willington, Wallsend and Bigges Main, showing boreholes and pits and intended new winning in Seghill. Not dated