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Map showing location of the Dunkenhalgh Park Colliery.

The site is covered by tipping, line of former tramroad to coal wharf at Copy Clough Church, survives a cart track. Earthworks of the New Rishton Reservoir, used to power the pit's water wheel, can be seen upstream of the site. There was an air shaft near New Barn but no traces remain.

There was several mine shafts on the Dunkenhalgh estate, 3 of these shafts were owned by the Dunkenhalgh park colliery, they sank two shafts in 1835 one was 300 ft, & the other 171 ft (this was sunk in 1837), a ventilation shaft was sunk later. This site was abandoned in 1883 when the lease expired.

The pit was very wet and gassy, and in its early days used a 35 foot diameter by 7 foot wide waterwheel for the coal winding. This wheel and its related windings and iron buckets were valued at 550 0s 0d.

At its peak the pit employed over 300 people.

The Dunkenhalgh colliery was work under a lease, Mr. Petre of the Dunkenhalgh being the owner. The pit was worked until 1872 by Messrs Howarth, Barnes and Boardman. Captain Petre worked the pit himself for little under 2 years after this, when the Dunkenhalgh Colliery Company obtained a 40 year lease.

On the 9th August 1873, Mr. Petre generously arranged to give the men in his employ a trip to Blackpool. Upwards of 400 were estimated to go on the train.

Once the Dunkenhalgh Colliery Co took ownership of the lease, at a cost of 3,000 per year plus royalties, they invested 10,000 in labour and equipment to work the pit. However, by the end of 1884 the company was in financial difficulties and tried to renegotiate the lease. They succeeded in doing this, getting the rent reduced to 2,000 from February. The Dunkenhalgh Colliery Co had run the mine for about 9 years.

On the 1st may 1883 the lease expired. The share holders had a grievance with Mr. Petre and failed to make terms with Mr. Petre, and as a result had to give up the pits altogether.

Because of this 100 men and boys where thrown out of work.

Mr. Petre hired some men from Burnley to come to the site and clear it.

Breather shaft in the Mill woods, August 2001.

A large water wheel which had been in the engine-house about 20 years and was the principal wheel used for pumping water out of the three pits, was broken up and thrown down one of the shafts. The engine house was pulled down, the conducting rod broken and the pumping machinery destroyed.

All the pits rapidly filled with water

 This was the end of the coal pits of Dunkenhalgh colliery.

The grievance the share holders had of the Dunkenhalgh Colliery Co, was connected with Peter Wright Pickup, it came to there attention that Peter Wright Pickup, they felt he was trying to take a lease out with Mr. Petre, so as to lease the site for himself.

 As a result this led to a court case at Manchester. Vice Chancellor Bristowe heard the case, But it was found by the court that they felt that Mr. Peter Wright Pickup had not gone behind their backs and that he had acted in a correct manor. The court wasn't heard until 4th April 1885, some 12 months later, and so it seemed that no one had gained any benefit from the case being heard.

There were several accidents recorded at the mine. Click here to see and read about the mining accidents.

References

Industrial Rishton by Kathleen Broderick

Gordon Hartley

Coal Mines Around Accrington and Blackburn, by Jack Nadin, Published by N. M. R. S. Publications 1999, ISBN 0 901450 51 0.

Accrington Times 9th August 1873