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Elvet Bank, coal shaft


54.769995, -1.574774




19th c

Entry Created:

2 Jan 2024

Last Updated:

2 Jan 2024

Partly Preserved



Description (or HER record listing)

NEHL - An extant coal shaft can be seen on the river bank, close to Church Street.

I was scanning over the 1890s maps down Church Street and thought I’d take a detour down this woodland path to see if the shaft labelled was still there.

I imagine it was ventilation or secondary access to Elvet Colliery, which operated just down the road where the Durham Uni science campus is situated. It’s visible on the 1850s maps contained within a building , though featured else above ground which supports my theory. A newspaper piece from 1908 reports on the closure of Elvet Colliery, but also makes reference to a shaft at the river bank which opened "two or three hundred years ago", but have long been closed. It would be difficult to confirm if this is the shaft in question, but it does seem likely.

By the 1890s it’s labelled as “old”, and was probably capped around this time. It’s referenced on this newspaper piece from 1908 when Elvet Colliery closed, with the shaft on the “banks” long closed.

It is noting the stone and stucco cottages on Church Street, most certainly those on the left, were built for the colliery and perhaps this shaft. They were known as the “Pit Row” as noted on the map above.

Ordnance Survey, 1890s

Ordnance Survey, 1890s

The shaft in situ, 2023.

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Site of the shaft in 1945. Source: Google Earth

Site of the shaft in 1945. Source: Google Earth

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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