This branch was about 247 yards long and it was situated on the offside of the canal between Dukinfield Hall (or Well) Bridge and Newton Hall Bridge. In 1888, the Dukinfield Coal and Cannel Company had a loading stage here and there was also Jamieson's Dye Manufacturing Works. A Tithe Map of 1850 shows that there was a path on the offside of the canal from Newton Hall Bridge that extended for about two thirds of the length of the branch. However, it is likely that this was simply a path for boat horses to use rather than a properly constructed towpath with coping stones alongside the canal.
Newton Wood Private Branch, 8 May 1976.
Victoria and Albert Mills stand in the background on Victoria Road.
Coal was conveyed to the loading stage down a tramway from Victoria Colliery, also known as Lakes Pit. The estimated length of the tramway was just over half a mile and it was practically in a straight line. It passed under Dewsnap Lane, over the line of the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway and then over Victoria Road. Between Victoria Road and the loading stage there was a sizeable inclined embankment. Underneath Dewsnap Lane bridge there was a turnout that led to a siding beside the railway line so that coal could be taken away by rail as well as by canal. At the foot of the inclined embankment the tramway crossed over the canal. By the canal there would have been a waggon tippling device of some kind to enable boats to be loaded with coal. The tramway was rope operated and by the time of the 1866 disaster it is known that it was double track. Edge rails were used and these were fastened to wooden sleepers.
Operations to fill the shaft of Victoria Colliery commenced in September 1903 and today there is no trace to show its former existence. Its site is now a large playing field in the angle between Boyd's Walk and Armadale Road.
The other name for Victoria Colliery is Lakes Pit and this was derived from its proximity to 'The Lakes', which was a large house built close by two small lakes. For many years, this house was the home of William Bass, a steward for the Astley family, who was a member of the brewing family. He died in 1889, aged 63 years. A later occupant was Dr Frank Gerald Ralphs (1881 - 1969) a striking man, 6 feet 7 inches tall, who had a military career as a surgeon serving with the Royal Army Medical Corps. Later, he became a Coroner for the area. The two lakes are no longer extant as Dr Ralphs had them drained and filled in after a man drowned in one of them. Dr Ralphs died in 1969, aged 87 years, and he left 'The Lakes' to Mrs Eileen Meredith who converted it into a nursing home. Today, it is still a nursing home and it stands on Ralphs Lane off Boyd's Walk.
Plain Pit, Newton, Hyde, was situated a short distance to the south of the Newton Wood Private Branch where there was a basin to facilitate the loading of boats with coal. On the 20 January 1847, Thomas Bradley was killed at Plain Pit. Nowadays, the only trace of this pit is a street of the same name off the west side of Dukinfield Road.
|Looking down the tramway towards Victoria Road. The original tramway bridge over the railway line has been replaced by a footbridge.||Looking towards Victoria Road from the footbridge. This section of the tramway is now Wood Street.|
|The near end of this low stone wall is all that remains of one of the abutments of the tramway bridge over Victoria Road.||The brick wall and trees beyond are where the inclined embankment once stood.|
Victoria Colliery Disaster, 1866
On the Thursday, 14 June 1866, an underground explosion occurred in which 38 miners were killed. It was an explosion of firedamp, the ignition being caused by a naked flame. When the disaster occurred the colliery was owned by Mr F D Astley of Dukinfield and the manager was Mr Wadding.
Victoria Colliery Disaster, Click here