The nature park
is on the site of the old Walton Pit (formerly Sharlston West Colliery).
WALTON COLLIERY UNDERGROUND
[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. This is at a cross-gate and those pictured were the development team, developing the road way for new coal faces.
At the front of the picture is the overman, Les Nother (3), Frank Perry (1) is on the left alongside John? (2),and on the right is A.N. Other, i.e. not known (4) . The helmet of a fifth miner is visible between nos. 3 and 4. If you happen to know the names, please let me know, click here. [Photograph courtesy Frank Perry.]
|The development team gathered around a Dosco* cutting machine.
Its been a long time .... but here's a stab at some of the names:
starting from the back left to right. 1st George Higson-Jowitt, the apprentice electrician. 2nd name unknown, he was the electrician. 3rd name unknown, part of the team. 4th is Frank Perry. 5th John ?. 6th Tommy Pine head of development. 7th (at the back) John McNicholas (Mac) the electrician. 8th Charlie Richardson, fondly known at the pit as Charlie Peg, he was an electrician's labourer, and lived at Eastmoor.
Front left - 9th Norman Bates, the fitter (a local Walton man?). 10th 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, 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'.]
* Dosco manufactures a range of minerals, mining and processing machines.
Walton Colliery Time Checks
(Photograph courtesy George Jowitt)
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 the parish and surrounding area.
Gradually they are disappearing into the soil and undergrowth as the colliery fades from memory with the passing of time.
(later Walton Colliery)
The Underground Dentist
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.
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
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
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.
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.