Bredbury Pits

Bredbury, Cheshire

The first documentary evidence of coal mining in Bredbury is found in Stockport Parish Registers for 1598.

'May 5th. Thomas Spooner of Bredburie a collier had two children baptized, the one named Ranulf the other Margret.'

Throughout the 19th century and into the early years of the 20th century coal mining was an important industry in the village.

The last colliery to close was Bredbury Colliery (Lingard Lane Collieries) on Lingard Lane, which officially closed in 1936 for economic reasons and because of flooding. At that time it was under the management of British Smokeless and Oil Fuels Ltd. However, there is an eyewitness account during the Second World War of coal miners walking back home from Bredbury to Denton along Stockport Road (Beat Bank) at the end of their shift. This raises the possibility that Bredbury Colliery was temporarily reopened during the war. There is no corroborative evidence to support this account.

Timeline of Bredbury Pits

1598Evidence from Stockport Parish Records of coal mining at Bredbury.
17th/18th centuriesDocumentary evidence shows that coal mining was being undertaken in the Bredbury area.
By 1710Butterhouse Pits were open.
A plan of 1710 shows five pits entitled 'The Great Buteras'. The location of these pits is indeterminate but they may have been in fields just to the north of Stockport Road/Hyde Road between Bents Lane and Butterhouse Green.
1817It was recorded that there were two pits in Bredbury. Parker and Houghton owned one while J Ardern owned the other, this being worked by J Jowett and Brown. The identity of Brown is unknown but there is a possibility that he was Thomas Brown, the Resident Engineer of the Peak Forest Canal Company, who is known to have worked Hyde Lane Pit in Hyde.
1825William Ardern and Lord Alvanley sell Bredbury Estate. There were no working pits on this estate at this time but the Ardern family reserved the mineral rights.
Following the sale, some new pits were sunk on the former estate. Known persons involved with mining were: the Jowett family, Jesse Howard and Thomas Shaw.
1825-1841Redhouse Lane Pit opened.
This was situated just off Redhouse Lane between Bents Lane and George Lane.
It probably closed before 1846.
By 1829Hall Lane Pit was open.
This pit was situated in a field at the top of Hall Lane, Woodley, adjoining the Lower Peak Forest Canal close to the site of Unity Mill.
It was on land owned by Samuel Ashton and tenanted by William Hartley.
It was closed by 1846-1872.
c.1829The partnership between Jesse Howard and others was dissolved.
By 1836Brinnington Moor Pit Brinnington Colliery) was open.
It was situated 20.7 chains north of Lingard Lane at the point where the Farmers Arms stands. It was in a field to the east of Pollett's Farm/ hamlet of Pollett.
The shaft cut through nine thin coal seams between depths of 402 and 720 feet.
By 1836 Messrs Brown (Thomas Brown?) and Powell of Reddish had acquired it but in 1842 it was owned by the Rev. William Vigor Fox and occupied by either James Hopwood or Joseph Sidebottom.
It closed sometime after 1881.
1850-1853Black Mine Colliery was opened. Also known as Bredbury Colliery or Demesne Pit.
This pit had one vertical shaft and one drift shaft. It was situated in Beet Field, south of Turner Lane. It was east-northeast of the Horsfield Arms at a distance of 36.8 chains. A tramway, 50.1-chains long, connected this pit to Bents Lane Pit (New Pit).
The 1841 tithe map shows that Robert Ashton owned the land.
By 1841Alvanley House/Ajax Pit was open. This small pit, whose name is unknown, was on Stockport Road practically opposite Bredbury Station but a little towards Woodley.
John Jowett owned the land it stood on.
It was probably closed by 1846.
By 1841Berrycroft Pit was open.
It was situated to the north of Berrycroft Lane, midway between Bents Lane and George Lane.
It was owned by William Broadhurst and occupied by James Barlow.
It was disused by 1872.
This pit was close to, or even synonymous with, Bredbury House Fold Pit as it was in the same area.
However, this pit was owned by John Vaudrey and occupied by John Brit.
By 1841Rising Sun Pit was open.
This was on Stockport Road behind the Rising Sun Inn, in what is now a car park just to the west of Bredbury Station.
The Jowett family first owned it. Later it was owned by Robert Hughes and occupied by Thomas Shaw and afterwards it was owned by Charles Oldham and occupied by Thomas Shaw.
It closed before 1872.
1841The tithe map shows five current and/or former pits: Berrycroft, Clegg Gate, Hall Lane, Redhouse Lane and the Rising Sun.
1841-1846Bents Lane Pit opened but this must be contrasted with evidence that it opened in c.1850.
Ann Jowett had an interest in this pit at one stage.
It was situated on Stockport Road at the hamlet of Bentlane opposite to the junction of Bents Lane with Stockport Road. There was also an airshaft just off the right-hand side of Bents Lane, a short distance from its junction with Stockport Road, where Marina Road now is.
1841-1853Miner Farm Pit (Bredbury Coal Pit) opened.
This pit was situated just to the west of Mill Lane, Woodley, south of Miner Farm. It closed sometime after 1872.
Early in the 20th century, some houses had to be demolished due to subsidence caused by Miners Farm Pit.
1846The rate book shows three working collieries: Bents Lane (End), Bredbury House Fold and the Rising Sun.
1849The rate book shows that Ann Jowett had an interest in Rosemary Mine but the exact whereabouts of this pit is unknown.
1849-1853The lack of mention of some pits in the rate book suggests that they may have closed.
20 Dec 1850The Inspector of Mines reports that there was a fatal accident at the Rising Sun Pit when Thomas Gee was killed by a roof fall while drawing pit props.
1853The rate book mentions Black Mine Colliery at Beet Field for the first time, aka as Bredbury Colliery and Demesne Pit.
1853John Stott-Milne of Chirk, North Wales, acquired 2,000 acres of land in Bredbury, Romiley and Compstall, and established himself as a colliery proprietor in the district.
1853-1854Black Mine Colliery.
J & J Jowett owned and occupied this pit as well as Bents Pit (New Pit).
11 Apr 1857An accident occurred at New Pit, that is, Bents Pit.
1850sThe Jowett family managed Black Mine Colliery and Bents Lane Pit.
Reports by the Inspector of Mines refer to several fatal accidents in Bredbury pits, some of which were reported in local newspapers.
1869Reference to the Bredbury Coal Company in Bredbury.
1872The Ordnance Survey map shows Black Mine Colliery as Bredbury Colliery.
By 1872Hyde Bank Pit was disused but its date of opening is unknown.
This pit was situated on the north bank of the Lower Peak Forest Canal to the east of Hyde Bank Tunnel.
By 1872Woodley Precinct Pit was closed, the original name being unknown.
This was situated in a field north of the precinct near the bridge over the railway.
The land was owned and occupied by William Vaudrey.
1874Reference to the Bredbury Coal Company, Lingard Lane, Bredbury.
July 1875Black Mine Colliery closed.
At the time of closure, J & R Stott-Milne owned this pit.
All the machinery, rails and materials were removed by December 1875.
1876Bents Lane Pit was closed.
1881Bents Lane Pit was reopened.
1879-1881Lancashire Record Office. Ref. DDX127/78, 33 documents.
Papers relating to the case in the Exchequer Division between John Stott-Milne, formerly of Greenbank, Bowden, Cheshire, and now of Trench House, Wem, Shropshire, owner of Bredbury Colliery, the plaintiff, against Richard Johnson Clegg Livesey and Thomas Livesey†, the former owners of Bredbury Colliery, the defendants. The documents include:
Several valuations of Bredbury Colliery.
Pleading of the case.
Evidence of Mr Stott-Milne.
Some solicitors' letters.
Plan of Bredbury Colliery Tunnel.
Plaintiffs plan of Black Mine Bredbury Colliery.
This case concerned the alleged fraudulent sale of Black Mine Colliery and the documents eventually found there way into the records of the National Coal Board (NCB).

†The Liveseys were the owners of Bradford Colliery, Bradford, Manchester.
1880There is a record of the Bredbury Coal and Iron Company.
1880sBlack Mine Colliery.
The former manager's house and weigh office collapse into the shaft.
18811881 Census
Record of a coal pit off Mill Lane, Bredbury.
The engine drivers were John Potts, aged 48 years, of Adlington, Cheshire, and his son, Daniel Potts, aged 18 years, of Bredbury.
Record of a coal pit in the vicinity of Bents Lane, Bredbury.
The engine driver was John Spencer, aged 25 years, of Bredbury.
John Leech, aged 45 years, of Ashton-under-Lyne, was an unemployed colliery engine driver living at the Rising Sun Inn on Stockport Road, Bredbury.
John Bollard, aged 37 years, of Worsbrough Dale, Barnsley, Yorkshire, was a colliery engine driver living on Stockport Road, Bredbury.
Records of coal miners living in Bredbury can also be found in the 1881 Census.
1889-1892The sinking of two shafts took place on Lingard Lane.
This new pit was known as Bredbury Colliery or Lingard Lane Collieries and it was initially operated by J & R Stott-Milne.
Once this had become fully operational it was only working pit in Bredbury. It was situated on the north side of Lingard Lane, close to its junction with Ashton Road and the Horsfield Arms.
For details of the shaft sinking see below a cutting from the Manchester Times dated 27 May 1892.
25 May 1893Bents Lane Pit was officially closed.
However, there is documentary evidence that in 1896 the Standing Seam was being worked and the owners were J & R Stott-Milne.
1895There was a miners' strike at Bredbury Colliery about work on the Roger Mine (seam).
For details of the strike see below a cutting from the Manchester Times dated 18 January 1895.
1896Bredbury Colliery, Lingard Lane, Bredbury.
The manager was Ed Lyall and there were 270 underground workers and 66 surface workers.
Three seams were being worked: Roger Mine, Four-foot Mine and Five-foot Mine.
The types of coal were gas, household and steam.
May 1899J & R Stott-Milne went bankrupt after being in financial difficulties for several years.
1899The Bredbury Colliery Company was formed under the ownership of Colonel Dobson of Staffordshire who was one of Stott-Milne's largest creditors. This company negotiated the mineral rights in Brinnington from the Trustees of Rev. William Vigor Fox.
1902The proprietors of Bredbury Colliery were James Dobson & Co Ltd.
1908Bredbury Colliery Company Ltd, Lingard Lane, Bredbury.
The manager was W McKay and there were 285 underground workers and 30 surface workers.
Jan-Mar 1909A strike occurred at Bredbury Colliery.
1912Ownership of Bredbury Colliery was transferred to John Hamilton of Lanarkshire. He ran it on an inadequate amount of capital. Evidently, the men sometimes had to wait for their wages until customers had paid.
1918Bredbury Colliery Company Ltd, Lingard Lane, Bredbury.
The manager was Ed Jackson, the under manager was H Jackson and there were 183 underground workers and 29 surface workers.
Mar 1921There was a discipline incident at Bredbury Colliery.
1923Bredbury Colliery Company Ltd, Lingard Lane, Bredbury.
The manager was John Watts and there were 204 underground workers and 28 surface workers.

The Roger and Hard Mines were being worked to produce household and gas coal and by this time electricity was available underground and coal cutters were in use.
1926The General Strike occurred, 3 to 13 May.
This strike was called by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) in an unsuccessful bid to support coal miners, who were already on strike.
As a result of this, production at Bredbury Colliery was stopped until 1929.

It is understood that Black Mine Colliery was briefly opened during the General Strike and during other strikes in the 1920s and 1930s.
1929Bredbury Colliery was sold to an unknown person with colliery interests in the north.
Jul 1930A report was published entitled 'Developments at Bredbury Colliery'.
5 May 1936it was reported that Bredbury Colliery was officially closed for economic reasons and because of flooding.
However, it seems that this report was incorrect.
1938Bredbury Colliery Company Ltd, Lingard Lane, Bredbury.
The manager was William Graham and there were 2 underground workers and 9 surface workers.
1939-45There are eyewitness accounts during the Second World War of miners walking home from Bredbury to Denton along Stockport Road, Beat Bank, at the end of their shift.
1952 - Jun 1954National Archives, Kew, London. Ref. FV2937.
Records created or inherited by the National Coal Board and/or related bodies.
Bredbury Colliery Company Ltd, North Western Division.
1957The shaft of Bents Lane Pit was rediscovered in the back garden of the dry-cleaner's shop on Stockport Road. It was subsequently filled in.
1961The surface remains of Bredbury Colliery were demolished using explosives.
1973Black Mine Colliery.
Harry Ogden, the farmer of Mill Hill Farm, rediscovered the shafts during landscaping work.
Sep 1976Two drift-mine shafts were discovered during alterations to the ticket office and car park of Bredbury Station. These belonged to the former Rising Sun Pit.
Present dayFernhill House on Lingard Lane, the former manager's house/office at Bredbury Colliery, is still extant.

 

Important Coal Sinking. - Messrs. Stott-
Milne, of Bredbury Collieries, have, after two year's
labour, reached a good coal seam five feet thick
at their new collieries, Lingard-lane, near Stock-
port, between Reddish and Bredbury. Messrs.
Booth and Hollingworth of Manchester, the mining
engineers, have had considerable difficulty to en-
counter in the sinking of the pit which, however, have
been successfully disposed of. The red sandstone gave
off a large quantity of water, which, however, has been
shut out of the pits by about 80 yards (in each pit) of
cast iron lining or tubbing, and the pits are both
practically dry, and not now producing enough water
to feed the steam boilers. When the works are com-
pleted the colliery will be one of the largest in the dis-
trict, and as other seams are being sunk, will even-
tually employ a large number of colliers, and much
coal will probably be sent to the Ship Canal.

Manchester Times, 27 May 1892.

 

Miners' Strike at Bredbury. - The miners
employed in No. 1 pit of Messrs. Stott-Milne and Co.,
Lingard-lane, Bredbury, on Friday struck work, the
grievance being a question of wages. It appears that
the pit was opened about eight months ago, the owners
agreeing to pay the men the same rate of wages per
ton as was paid in the Denton district for what is,
known as the "Roger Mine" coal. After eight month's
experience the men assert that pit in which they
were employed is by no means so productive as that
known as the "Roger Mine". In proof of this they
assert that whereas the miners employed in getting
the "Roger Mine" at Denton can earn a matter of 7s.
to 8s. per day, they at Lingard-lane had
only been able to earn 3s. 6d. to 4s. per day.
The dissatisfaction has extended over several weeks,
and on Wednesday part of the men employed in the
pit abruptly left work. On Friday all the others so
employed (numbering from 80 to 100) came out and
afterwards their tools were fetched up out of the pit,
as also were the ponies employed therein. It is stated
that a deputation of Miners' Federation of the
Ashton-under-Lyne district will wait upon Messrs.
Stott-Milne to discuss the question. The men in No.
2 pit are still at work.

Manchester Times, 18 January 1895.

 


Bredbury Colliery (Lingard Lane Collieries), 1910.

 

Bredbury Colliery (Lingard Lane Collieries), c.1946.

This view is from the former toll house that stood at the junction of Lingard Lane and Ashton Road.

An air-raid shelter stands by the side of Lingard Lane with a blast wall to protect the entrance.

The small structure to the right of this is probably an RAC telephone box.

 

Colliery Manager's house and office, 1984.

Credit: Jennifer S Oliver.

 

For more details about Bredbury pits use the following menu:

Further Reading
Oliver, Jennifer S (1984), Notes on Coal Mining in Bredbury, (unpub. ms).

Acknowledgement
Thanks to Stockport Heritage Library for sources of information.

Corollary - Difficulties at Bredbury Colliery
William Ollerenshaw became the manager in mid-1915, following his dismissal from Denton Colliery. On Sunday, 26 December 1915 he made a note in his book, which said the workmen were making the most of their power during the Great War. He especially mentioned one 'slacker', a Mr John Bennett. If he were dismissed, the workmen might demand his continuing down the pit.

Against his inclination Mr Ollerenshaw offered him a surface job instead of an underground job. He refused the offer and grossly insulted him. Seeing the men might strike Mr Ollerenshaw said he could stay at the coalface if he would take back his insults. Bennett refused and the men struck.

The day before (Christmas Day) there were mechanical and electrical breakdowns at the pit but neither of the two electricians nor the engine-wright appeared. Both electricians appeared to have left the district without Mr Ollerenshaw's permission. The colliery was in danger of having one of the underground pumps drowned out owing to something being wrong with the cables or starter and yet neither of the electricians could be found.