Tyne and Wear HER(4206): Walker Colliery B Pit - Details
Walker Colliery B Pit
Coal Mining Site
Walker Colliery B Pit. This is just marked as an Old Shaft on the 2nd edition OS mapping. The first shaft at Walker was West Engine Pit which opened in January 1762 and reached coal at 600 feet. The pit was fitted with winding apparatus driven by 8 horses. A corf of coal could be raised in 2 minutes. In 1769 the horses were partly replaced by steam. This early steam winder was then replaced by a water gin. In 1784 a rotative steam engine was installed. In 1796 a James Watt steam pumping engine was installed to raise water. By 1795 only creep-affected pillars of coal were left in the High Main Seam. By 1811 it was exhausted. The colliery lasted until 1918 working the lower poorer seams. There were four other pits besides the West Engine Pit - Anne Pit (HER 4207), Charlotte Pit (NZ 294 653 - opened in 1801), East Pit (HER 4215) and Jane Pit (HER 4200). Owners were Lambert & Co (1850s), N.G. Lambert & Co (who also ran Bebside Colliery) and then Walker Coal Company Ltd. The colliery viewer was TJ Jobling of Point Pleasant, Wallsend and the resident viewer was WH Cole. Several disasters - on 2 April 1765 an explosion killed 8 miners, another explosion on 18 March 1766 killed 10. A fall of stones on 19 June 1823 killed 6 people. Explosions killed 16 miners on 22 November 1862. The day before the disaster the lower furnace had been dampened down to allow the shaft to be retubbed. This reduced the ventilation. Nevertheless 28 workers went down the pit with 9 horses and 21 ponies to do some blasting work on a geological fault (a 'trouble'). The explosion happened some 4 hours later. The stables were on fire and all horses and ponies were killed. One pony called French was found alive. The inquest was held at the Railway Hotel in Walker. A faulty lamp was blamed. The Mining Journal wrote a full report on the accident. 8 workers were killed on 24 October 1887. Walker Colliery closed in 1920.
<< HER 4206 >> 1st edition Ordnance Survey map, 1864, 6 inch scale, Northumberland, 98; Durham Mining Museum www.dmm.org.uk; Roy Thompson, 2004, Thunder Underground - Northumberland Mine Disasters 1815-65, p 100-103; Sykes Local Records 2 April 1765 and 18 March 1766