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Whitburn Colliery

Whitburn, South Tyneside


Marsden Colliery





Entry Created:

3 Sept 2021

Last Updated:

20 Apr 2023




Whitburn Coal Co. (1874), Harton Coal Co. Ltd (1891), National Coal Board (1947 -)

Description (or HER record listing)

The colliery was sunk in 1874 by Belgian miners for the Whitburn Coal Company. It opened in 1879 and in 1891 was absorbed by the parent Harton Coal Company. In 1877 it was the first successful shaft sunk by the "Kind Chauldron" method. This had to be adopted due to the large amount of water present during boring operations. The shaft was constructed of strong iron tubing 13 feet in diameter.

It was completed in two years and 12000 gallons of water had been pumped out. Coal was worked a mile under the sea. Coal was transported from here by the South Shields, Marsden and Whitburn Colliery Railway, (HER 2466). The OS mapping up to 1951 shows expansion of spoil heaps and construction of a Bath House and Canteen between 1938 and 1942.

In 1931 the pit had set a world record producing 18,000 tons of coal per week, with a work force of 1600. By 1956 the pit was the biggest producer of the four colleries owned by the Harton Coal Company and was producing 591,000 tons of coal per year. Production ceased on 1st June 1968 making a workforce of 819 redundant.

By 1991 the whole colliery and accompanying Marsden pit village had been levelled and landscaped as a country park.

NEHL - During the 1910s, there was not a road constructed between South Shields and the colliery. As a result, an official passenger service commenced colloquially named the "Marsden Rattler". It likely used older and battered coaching stock.

Ordnance Survey, 1896

Ordnance Survey, 1896

Whitburn Colliery, undated. Source: County Durham Development Plan, 1951. Kindly provided by Peter Laurence

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Marsden Colliery in the 1910s

Marsden Colliery in the 1910s

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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