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Walton Colliery - the mine
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Coal Mines Act 1911

See also
Nature Park Gallery
Spike Island (Ings Cottages)
Friends of Walton Colliery Nature Park
Haw Park Wood


Walton Colliery
Walton Colliery
The nature park is on the site of the old Walton Pit (formerly Sharlston West Colliery)

[click images to enlarge]
Underground at Walton Colliery in the 1970s. Both photographs were taken at the same time in the Low Haigh 1s district.
Its been a long time .... but here's a stab at some of the names.

Click to enlargeThe first photograph was taken at a cross-gate and those pictured were the development team, developing the road way for new coal faces.
Frank Perry (A) is on the left alongside John? (B). At the front of the picture is the overman, Les Nother (C), and on the right is A.N. Other, i.e. not known (D) . The helmet of a fifth miner is visible between C. and D. If you happen to know the names or have spotted any errors, please let me know, click here.
[Photograph courtesy Frank Perry.]

Click to enlargeThe second photograph shows the development team gathered around a Dosco* cutting machine.
Starting from the back left to right.
1. George Higson-Jowitt, the apprentice electrician. 2. Possibly Stan Guest#, the electrician. 3. Bob Greening [previously shown here as "name unknown, part of the team"]. 4. Frank Perry. 5. John Butterfield [previously shown here as "John ?"].
. Tommy Pine, head of development.
. John McNicholas (Mac) the electrician.
. Cocky Crummack (previously shown here as "Charlie Richardson, fondly known at the pit as Charlie Peg, he was an electrician's labourer, and lived at Eastmoor"].
Front left - 9. Norman Bates, the fitter (a local Walton man?). 10. Barry Keane part of the team. There are ten in the picture, but, for now, that's the best we can do for names. If you know the names of any of these ten chaps or have spotted any errors, please let me know, click here.
[Photograph courtesy Frank Perry. Information supplied by Frank Perry, John Brown, Paul McNally and George Jowitt, then 'Higson-Jowitt', and Gary Speight. # Possible name for the electrician supplied by John Dickman, who was himself an electrician at the pit.]

* Dosco manufactures a range of minerals, mining and processing machines.

Click to enlargePhotograph no. 3, supplied by John Dickman (an electrician at the pit), who writes:
The photo is of six of the electrical staff in the Birkwood 6.600 volt sub station, which was sited on the loco road between Birkwood and 10 East. The people in the photo from left to right are Dave Burton, Chris Kellett, (?) Sorry I can't remember this lad's name, Andrew Rigg, myself John Dickman and Charlie Smith. I would be most greatfull if any one could put a name the 3rd man from the left.
Walton Colliery Time Checks
Walton Colliery Time Checks
(Photograph courtesy George Jowitt)

Remnants - Sharlston Colliery rubble
Collieries often had their own brick works.
This old brick is from Sharlston Colliery brickworks.

In the early days of the nature park, many of these bricks from the demolished buildings were visible in gullies and ditches around the Walton site. They were also to be found in Haw Park Wood near the old shaft, and in hedgerows, verges and farmfields, etc., in Walton C.P. and the surrounding area.
Gradually they are disappearing into the soil and undergrowth as the colliery fades from memory with the passing of time.

Pit Check
Sharlston West
(later Walton Colliery)
Pit Check


Just a taste .....
These pages do not attempt to provide a comprehensive history of the mine; rather, the intention is to provide a reminder of our local industrial heritage.


Click to enlarge
A coal miner, possibly
late 19th century.
[location not known]

For more local history and pictures visit

Wakefield Museums
Wakefield Museums, Galleries and Castles

'Twixt Aire and Calder Online Archive

Click to enlarge
Walton Colliery in the 1980s
before it was demolished.
(Precise date and photographer not known.)
For more pictures of the colliery click here.

In 1890 shafts were sunk for a colliery at Walton and pit dwellings were built for the miners. These were called Ings Cottages or, as they were known locally, Spike Island or the Spike. 

Formerly known as Sharlston West, the name survived nationalisation in 1947, but it was later changed to Walton Colliery.
Walton pit was a safety lamp mine. By the 1930's there were about 1,200 men working there but in 1979 it was closed before the Miners' Strike. 

There are still ex-miners around in Walton to tell the tale of the pit, of course, but it is hard to visualise what the pit must have looked like now that the area has been landscaped and planted.

Walton Colliery Nature Reserve* was opened on the former colliery site.
(* Later, the 'Reserve' part of the name was changed to 'Park'.)

For maps of the colliery area, click here.

Walton Colliery Disaster
On 22nd April 1959, at 1p.m., an explosion of firedamp occurred, initiated by an electric arc from the damaged trailing cable of a coal-cutting machine. The explosion was propagated to some extent by coal dust.
(Commemorative Plaque at the
Walton Millennium Gate
Walton Mining Disaster 1959)

Walton Colliery Disaster, 1959

Names on the plaque:
Jack Rothery, Wilf Wardle, Bill Hudson (SAB), Charlie Wray and Lawrie Coe.
Another miner, Jack Williams, was injured.

Official Report by
H.M. Chief Inspector
of Mines & Quarries

Walton Mining Disaster, Official Report by H.M. Chief Inspector of Mines & Quarries.

At about 12.30 p.m. five men were actually in 5's Unit, namely, L. E. Coe (the overman), W. Hudson, W. Wardle, J. Rothery and C. E. Ray ; J. Williams was just outside it. There were no eye witnesses to say what happened during the next half hour. Of the six men, the first five were killed in the explosion.
The sixth man, Williams, escaped with minor injuries, but he remembered little.

Read an extract from the official report by H.M. Chief Inspector of Mines & Quarries.
Minister of Power, Cmnd. 843, H.M.S.O.
September 1959

National Union of Mineworkers
The N.U.M. produced its own report.
The report lists the men as follows:

J. Rothery (Belt Maintenance Man),
W. Wardle (Captain of Walton Rescue Team),
H. Hudson (Collier),
E.C. Ray (Belt Maintenance Man)
and C. Coe (Overman).

Read the conclusions reached by the
N. U. M. report, this is an extract from
"Explosion at Walton Colliery on 22nd April 1959",
a report by J.R.A. Machen, President, Yorkshire Area, National Union of Mineworkers. Published 16th November 1959, Miners' Offices, Barnsley. N.U.M. website.

Click to enlarge
Walton Colliery, 29th March 1980.
Arthur Scargill faces £100,000 legal claim from NUM.
(BBC article)
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM)
is threatening to sue its former leader
Arthur Scargill for £100,000,
a BBC Inside Out investigation has found.
Read more.
[BBC News Sheffield and South Yorkshire, 13 January 2014]
Walton Colliery Nature Park Gallery

Friends of Walton Colliery Nature Park, find out more.

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