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St Hildas Colliery

South Shields, South Tyneside






Entry Created:

3 Sept 2021

Last Updated:

26 Jan 2024

Partly Preserved



Robert & John William Branding (1825), W. Blackett, N. Wood, Anderson & Philipson (1850s), Wood,Blackett & Co. (1860s), Harton Coal Co. (1880s -)

Description (or HER record listing)

St. Hilda's Colliery was served by St. Hilda's Wagonway (HER ref. 2356) and by a Ballast Railway (HER ref. 2427).

The shaft first sunk in 1822 by the Brandlings and the Colliery opened in 1825. The mine holds a significant position in the development of ventilation, lighting and safety in the mines. Following a gas explosion in 1839, which killed 51 miners, an inquest found that the disaster had resulted from the use of lighted candles in the mine and recommended that their use should be abolished.

A 'Committee for the Investigation of Accidents in Mines' was formed in South Shields shortly afterwards, the report from which considered the relative merits of the various safety lamps and went some way towards improving the safety of mines. St. Hilda's Colliery worked throughout nineteenth century, new structures being constructed on the surface in the late nineteenth century and early 20th century, when the structures at the pit head were altered and a new pumping engine house, which still survives, was constructed adjacent to the shaft. When the interlinked Westoe Colliery closed in 1993, the need to maintain the shaft and buildings ended.

The pumping engine house at St Hilda's was partially renovated in 1989 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the disaster, and the remaining buildings on the site (the colliery head stocks) became grade 2 Listed Buildings in 1990.

Ordnance Survey, 1898

Ordnance Survey, 1898

St Hildas, date unknown. Source: Newcastle City Guides

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Photograph of the pumping engine house in 2022, which is preserved in an industrial estate.

Photograph of the pumping engine house in 2022, which is preserved in an industrial estate.

Historic Environment Records

Durham/Northumberland: Keys to the Past

Tyne and Wear: Sitelines

HER information as described above is reproduced under the basis the resource is free of charge for education use. It is not altered unless there are grammatical errors. 


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