Blackfell Hauler House
4 Jul 2023
This is a
Current status is
Designer (if known):
Scheduled Ancient Monument
The Blackfell Hauler House, is a building dating back to 1915 and contained a steam powered winding mechanism. The associated engine house contained an engine which pulled wagons up and down the steep railway to and from Kibblesworth.
It is not the first however. The first engine was built by Thomas Murray of Chester-le-Street with a much older engine house from the 1840s. This was needed as the railway was extended down the steep gradient to Kibblesworth Colliery, and at this time locomotives were not powerful or reliable enough to traverse the harsh bank to the Team Valley.
The engine used rope to haul wagons up the incline. It went out of the back of the building with a large wheel, still extant, 20 metres east. The rope returned underground and came out to be attached to wagons. The older engine house was still in use in the 1890s which was situated immediately south of the current one.
A new more powerful engine was required in the 1910s. It was built by Robey & Co and worked in conjunction with the hauler house still extant. This was later replaced by a 500hp engine provided by Thompson-Houston Ltd.
The site closed in 1970 and the hauler house was made redundant. The complex was derelict and close to collapse until 2013.
Nowadays it is better preserved and was most recently an artisan workshop, though is looking a little more forlorn these days. It forms a once thriving industrial site with the Bowes Railway and Mount Moor Colliery, which is now wooded and inaccessible to the public. The railway continued up via Blackim Hill to Springwell Colliery.
Listing Description (if available)
Both maps above illustrate the Mount Moor Colliery and hauler house site in the 19th century. Though a lower resolution, the map surveyed 1857 provides a great level of insight to the site. The original engine house is still standing and is directly connected to the incline. The ancillary buildings of Vale Pit as well as its waste heap and pit ponds can be seen, the buildings of which survived into the next century.
The 25 inch map of the 1890s provides greater depth. The winding mechanisms are shown adjacent to the hauler house, with the rope leading underground.
The map from 1921 shows a similar vista, with many of the old coal pits disused around Mount Moor from the 19th century. The Ouston and Pelaw Waggonway traverses north-south, leading under the rope railway. The beautiful iron truss bridge can still be seen complete with fixtures and rail.
The 1915 hauler house still in situ near Eighton. The site is currently closed off and getting overgrown.
The site can be seen in the centre left of this shot from 2023.
The engine house, hauling house and winding mechanisms can be seen on this undated photograph. Unknown original source.