Tyne and Wear HER(15385): Wallsend, Waggonway to Wallsend A and B Pits - Details
Wallsend, Waggonway to Wallsend A and B Pits
A waggonway running to Wallsend A and B Pits from coal spouts on the riverside. The line was in place by 1783 when the pits were won, the first successful pits to be sunk at Wallsend Colliery, reaching the High Main Seam at a depth of 105 fathoms. The line is shown on a plan of 1803-4 (Watson 19/16) Wallsend Waggonway was the scene of experimentation and development of steam locomotives in the early 19th century. William Chapman, the early owner of the mine and friend of the viewer, John Buddle, set a locomotive of his design on the line in 1815. Initial trials and use were not successful as the waggonway was laid with timber rails and the engines were removed for a time. Once the timber rails were replaced with Losh iron rails, steam locomotives returned to the waggonway. It is possible that Steam Elephant, an engine known to have worked at Heaton Colliery (and which has been replicated at Beamish Museum, County Durham), may have operated on the lines at Wallsend. Wallsend Colliery In 1778 the Royalty of Wallsend, with large reserves of deep and previously unworkable High Main Coal, was leased from the Dean and Chapter of Durham by William and John Chapman who introduced powerful new steam engines to sink and dewater proposed mines. But winning the coal was still problematic. Following an expensive failure in sinking an unnamed first shaft, A and B pits were nearing full depth when the partnership was declared bankrupt by the Sunderland bankers Russell, Allan and Wade who had mortgaged the costly work, and who proceeded to take over the colliery. The High Main Seam was won at 105 fathoms in 1782 and found to be nearly six feet thick. The coal was of the highest quality and greatly favoured by the important London market. The C (Wallsend) Pit, D (West) Pit and the E (Beany Field) and F (Tommy Mann’s) pits were sunk in 1790, followed in 1800 by the G (Church) Pit. As the High Main Seam was exhausted across the colliery, the deeper Bensham Seam at 150 fathoms was reached by sinking from the existing A, C and G pits.
Alan Williams Archaeology, July 2012, Waggonways North of the River Tyne - Tyne and Wear HER Enhancement Project; 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