By William Ollerenshaw in c.1889, who later became the Manager of Denton Colliery
The above report suggests that there were two inclined planes. The lower incline was used to remove coal from the coal face in the Black Mine and transport it to the bottom of the engine brow (inclined plane) and
when the coal had been winched up this it was at the pit bottom, that is, at the bottom of the winding shaft.
Around the time that this report was made there was an explosion at Hyde Lane Pit that resulted in fatalities. The death roll was 23 men and boys. The explosion occurred on the 18 January 1889.
Longwall Method of Coal Working
With reference to the simplified plan of a coal mine shown blow, the upcast shaft (fowl air drawn out) and downcast shaft (fresh air drawn in) are shown in the centre, marked U and D respectively, and
these are surrounded by uncut coal. The downcast shaft is also the winding shaft. Galleries radiate from the shafts and the roofs of these are supported by pit props. The grey areas have been shut (abandoned) and
these are the 'gobs'†. Here, all the coal has been removed and the roof is allowed to settle down gradually. In the 19th century, each coal face or wall was about 100 yards long and this is where coal was
being hewed and then carried to the surface. As the coal was removed, waste stone was used to build drystone walls that were typically from 6 to 20 feet wide and these were arranged in parallel lines at right angles to the
advancing coal face or wall. The purpose of these was to support the roof after the coal had been removed. As the coal face advanced, the underground railway system for carrying coal away was constantly being rearranged and
increased in length.
†Depending upon the district, the words 'gob' and 'goaf' can both refer to the same thing, namely the void left after coal has been extracted. The word 'gob' can also refer to
waste material separated underground.
U = upcast shaft (foul air drawn out)
D = downcast shaft (fresh air drawn in)
Circulation of fresh air underground was controlled by a system of doors and ducts that are not shown for clarity.
Acknowledgement and thanks are due to A Etchells.