New Delaval Pit, Newsham
22 Jun 2020
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Current status is
Designer (if known):
Blyth Golf Club now resides at the site
'The Seaton Delaval collieries had begun in 1838 with the sinking of what was to be known as A shaft. Eight shafts were finally sunk at the location. The shafts were in pairs, ten feet apart and eight feet in diameter. Each shaft was sunk to different coal seams at different depths. The multiple headgear within such a small area must have made for an impressive, and busy, sight. In fact, the only other colliery with multiple headgear was at Bedlington A pit. Some of the buildings from this complex still remain as part of the Seaton Delaval Industrial Estate.
In 1929 Seaton Delaval Coal Company merged with Cramlington Coal Company to form Hartley Mains Collieries Ltd. A period of modernisation took place after this merger, with electricity and mechanical coal cutters being introduced to the collieries.
Again, in March 1943 Hartley Mains Collieries Ltd was merged to become part of the Bedlington Mains Collieries Ltd. Nationalisation in 1947 brought about some further modernisation of the collieries. But by 1956 the colliery was showing its age and was put onto single-shift working. Seaton Delaval Colliery closed in 1960.
Away from the main Seaton Delaval Colliery site, however, in 1859 the company had extended their wagonway to reach a new sinking in the Newsham ward of Blyth. This was the Forster Pit. The first shaft was sunk to a depth of 737ft at a diameter of fifteen-and-a-half feet to the Plessey seam. However, due to geological faults this was found to be unworkable so an inset was made at 668ft to the Low Main Seam.
The colliery was so productive that by 1870 a third shaft had been sunk. A community grew up around the colliery which was called New Delaval. A brickworks was built on the colliery site to supply the materials for the miners' housing and other colliery buildings.
Geological faults in this area continued to be a problem to the colliery owners. There are two major faults between New Delaval and Seaton Delaval which isolated a large tract of coal. It was judged, by the Seaton Delaval Coal Company, to be less expensive to sink a further shaft than to drive a roadway through the faults. This they did in 1884. This is the triangular feature adjacent to the wagonway. It was known as the Relief Pit. A surface tub line haulage system was laid from the facilities at New Delaval Forster Pit to Relief Pit, powered by an endless rope hauler. This also worked the underground haulage system.
By 1900 the New Delaval collieries were producing well and were modernised with new headgear and tipplers. These good fortunes were not to continue and in 1930 the pits were made idle with only maintenance work being carried out. The headgear was moved to Dudley Colliery and miners evicted from their homes, which was considered as a cynical ploy to get the men to move to other pits in the group. However, the New Delaval pits were given a reprieve in 1933. According to an article that appeared in the News Post Leader in 1951 the Gloria pit was sunk in 1935 to allow access to coal hidden by a horseshoe-shaped geological fault. All the New Delaval pits were finally closed by 1955.
An article in the "Our Colliery Villages" series appeared in the Newcastle Chronicle during 1873 which described New Delaval. This is a short excerpt:
"New Delaval is not far from Newsham, but the colliery belongs to another company. Two shafts have been sunk near each other, one of which is entirely devoted to the working of the yard seam, while the other descends to a lower deep still, and is used for working the lower seams. The engine houses are of the most massive description, and the pit gearing, like that of Barrington, is light and elegant, being made of iron. About 350 or 360 are employed here, but as there are only about 200 cottages built as yet, large numbers of men and boys reside at Old Delaval, which is some three or four miles away. A train of carriages, however, is run between the two places several times during the day, at such hours as may be convenient for the men going to or returning from work."
From this we can establish that the Relief and Gloria pits made a comparatively small footprint on the ground as the coal produced was being processed at the larger collieries in the group. The workforce was residing in the well-established housing at the main colliery sites, which was close enough to actually walk to work, but special trains were provided along the colliery's own wagonway.'
Alan Fryer, Seaton Delaval Collieries, Burradon History, accessed 22/06/20, https://www.burradonhistory.co.uk/2013/12/seaton-delaval-collieries.html
Listing Description (if available)
Both editions above illustrate New Delaval Colliery in the early period of the 20th century. The first edition, first published in 1898, shows New Delaval Colliery taking up a huge expanse of area to the west of Newsham, a small community situated between the North Eastern Railway lines to Bedlington and Blyth station. Lines of terraces are being built to accomodate the demand for miners, as well as local amenities like a church and schools.
The 1924 edition shows little contrast except the terraces are now built and lived in. The Old Waggonway that went along Plessey Road is labelled still, and more dwellings are being built.
The 1946 map shows New Delaval as a community in itself adjacent to Newsham, gradually sprawling to become the Blyth today. Even at this point small developments were still being built and the post war estate can be seen in the process of construction close to Newsham station.
Photograph of New Delaval Pit, undated. The image shows a number of children and a police sitting around the sidings and on a Victorian coal wagon. Presumably some coal workers are stood against the fence also.
Retrieved from Bob Simmons on 'Blyth Remembered & Memories', Facebook
Photograph of New Delaval Colliery, 1906.
"The mine was once part of the Hartley Mains group of colieries and a rail track once ran accross the fields from Seaton Delaval to New Delaval This track was also used to run-in the locomotives after overhaul at Seaton Delaval workshops. The was a gatekeepers cottage where the line crossed the Laverock Hall road. This cottage had no running water and was kept supplied with water from Seaton Delaval Colliery transported by the locomotives that used the line. One day the loco crew for Seaton Delaval colliery were running late so in an effort to make up time they filled the water container with what they thought was clean water from the horse trough at Delaval Yard."
Retrieved from Billy Embleton, Flickr
Photograph of New Delaval Pit Ambulance, 1915. At this point, horses were the cheapest and most accessible forms of transport, and likely utilised a local matron to act as paramedic. A stretcher can be seen in the foreground alongside a few local miners.
Retrieved from Billy Embleton, Flickr