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Photos of Wigan
Photos of Wigan

Photo-a-Day Archive
Photo-a-Day Archive

Photo-a-Day  (Friday, 22nd March, 2013)

Astley Colliery

Astley Colliery
The winding gear at Astley Colliery.

Photo: Peter Frost  (Nikon D90 55-135mm lens)
Views: 5,009

Comment by: AP on 22nd March 2013 at 00:17

Is this now the only remaining colliery head gear in the area?

What happened to the wooden headgear from Billinge?

Comment by: Lizzie down under on 22nd March 2013 at 00:47

Memories of days gone by.......thank you Peter.....cheers!!!!

Comment by: Ken R on 22nd March 2013 at 01:07

Is this as it is now? All steel headgear,impressive.

Comment by: Mick on 22nd March 2013 at 04:56

Look like its made from Meccano

Comment by: Colin Harlow on 22nd March 2013 at 08:33

I think Astley Green Colliery is now a Museum. Good photo of the pit head gear and narrow gauge railway track Peter.

Comment by: Peter48 on 22nd March 2013 at 08:48

Its a museum now, its open to visitors sunday tuesday and thursday
You can go look around
We only spent an hour or so there but was a great experience to see what went on down the mines
I can fully recommend a visit to anyone interested in this type of thing

Comment by: Janice on 22nd March 2013 at 09:31

Good shot Peter. I live fairly close to the colliery and it is very interesting. Very much a rough and ready type place. Some good photo opportunities as well for budding photographers. Whats more it is free!

Comment by: cullie on 22nd March 2013 at 10:19

i see it as pandrol clips holding the 109/113LB flat bottom rail in place ..... intresting.

Comment by: Monumental on 22nd March 2013 at 10:24

I started working at Astley Green in 1952 and did my face training there in the Victoria Seam. I could talk all day about the dust and the heat - only wearing tiny shorts, belt to hold the battery and helmet - drinking 8 pints of water before "snap time" and filling up with salted water to finish the shift. Happy days - I don't think so !!!!!!!

Comment by: maggie on 22nd March 2013 at 11:27

There is a pit wheel in the centre of Radstock - formerly a busy mining town. It is outside the old Market hall which is now a small museum, at the far end you can see what it was like down there, with wagons, miners, poor lighting etc. I had a shock when I first visited it, I only then realised that not all miners wore clogs!

Comment by: Neil Cain on 22nd March 2013 at 11:33

AP Would that be Gaunley Pit that got moved to Haigh Quarry? If so I was told at Astley Museum it rotted away.Very Sad.

Comment by: tony on 22nd March 2013 at 12:13

excellent photo peter

Comment by: AP on 22nd March 2013 at 12:27

I had heard the same, Neil. Did not know if it were true: it should have been contributed to the collection at Astley Green, rather than left to rot at Haigh!

Comment by: Nev on 22nd March 2013 at 12:39

Neil, the Gauntley pit headgear was came from Bispham Hall Brick and Terra Cotta company, and was removed and re-erected in the Receptacle Quarry in Haigh Lower Plantations under a grant from the Science Museum. It became vandalised after a number of years, and was dismaatled and removed from the site. No idea what happened to it after that.

Comment by: AP on 22nd March 2013 at 12:52


What does the 109/113 mean?

Are they the specification limits, with the actual unit weight being somewhere between?


We seem to have missed a trick with our redundant deep mine shafts: Parsonage, in particular, I understand was very hot at its lowest seams. If only they had been developed into a geothermal heat farm!

Comment by: Ernest Pyke on 22nd March 2013 at 13:20


Comment by: cullie on 22nd March 2013 at 14:35

AP if you were to cut a 1 foot piece of rail off this bit of track it would weigh 109 or 113LB i'll put a bet on it being 113LB though.

Comment by: Mick on 22nd March 2013 at 14:57

113 lb a foot of railway line seems very heavy to me.

I remember 1 foot section of 5" drill pipe weighed 19.5 lbs.

Comment by: Tony Hasla on 22nd March 2013 at 16:37

I remember going down this colliery a few times. I was in the mines rescue and got on fire a few times. caused by spontaneous combustion. I remember a man coming to the pit andleft his bike near the headgear and jumped down the shaft. Parsonage was my last pit and it was the deepest working in Europe and probably the hottest.

Comment by: Neil Rigby on 22nd March 2013 at 17:31

Weight per yard is usual for rail specification; see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rail_profile#Rail_weights_and_sizes

Comment by: Bernard on 22nd March 2013 at 18:45

Monumental, Arnold Baugh worked at the colliery until about 1965/6, I wonder if you knew him? He was in the cage, and sneezed, he lost his false teeth down the shaft. Now that would be a challenge for The Time Team.

Comment by: Dave Thomas on 22nd March 2013 at 19:03

I worked on a new construction at Astley pit in the sixties a massive new building with all new machinery must have cost a fortune six to twelve monthes later it was closed not just the new building the whole site.Sadly on this job a young electrician was killed crushed between the buffers of two coal wagons i'll never forget it.

Comment by: Ernest Pyke on 22nd March 2013 at 20:01

For rail sections see:-
60kg/m is 40.23lbs/ft.

Comment by: cullie on 22nd March 2013 at 20:08

trust me mick i work on the tracks it's my job to know.drilled pipe dont have loco's running over it .

Comment by: AP on 22nd March 2013 at 20:36

I recall reading somewhere, that Astley Green has the largest collection of Colliery Locomotives. Are any in steam, or capable of so being, or are they just static exhibits?

Comment by: Neil Rigby on 22nd March 2013 at 21:05

Lots of detail about rail sections and geometric properties at:-

Data for lightest rail is for 12lb/yard and the heaviest 155lb/yard.

There is figure of rail web markings as a method of rail identification.

Comment by: Skeets on 22nd March 2013 at 21:11

great shot. I remember one Pit I worked at, one seam was stinking hot and another level was freezing cold and wet. It was either Wigan Junction or Golborne Colliery?

Comment by: Ernest pyke on 22nd March 2013 at 21:42

cullie, your comment at 14:35 is surely incorrect.
The weight you give in your comment at 10:19 is per yard.

Comment by: Mick on 23rd March 2013 at 07:49

cullie a 5" drill pipe weighing in at 19.5 lbs a foot might have to pull more that 100 tons in weight

Comment by: Robin Leigh on 23rd March 2013 at 08:35

Ernest is right - it's pounds per yard. I agree with Cullie, it seems very heavy for a colliery yard. Perhaps it was needed with all the work Monumental was doing :-)

Comment by: Monumental on 23rd March 2013 at 09:55

Bernard -
Sorry, I worked at the Astley Green from 1952 - 1955 and then worked at Maypole until it closed.

Comment by: AP on 23rd March 2013 at 12:12

Would the weight of the rail be stamped into the web? Well, possibly cast rather than stamped, I recall often seeing the origin, 'Workington', on rail web, but never bothered to see what else it may have said.

Comment by: Neil Rigby on 23rd March 2013 at 14:41

AP see my comment at 21:05.
Typical web markings on rolled steel rails are:

Comment by: AP on 23rd March 2013 at 18:17

So, next time one of us goes to Astley Green, they could read what it says, and post an update here, then we will know. Please.

Comment by: Jean J on 23rd March 2013 at 22:00

Great pic that Pete.

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