Miner's Advice Home Page!

Back to Mining 2000
Please Sign Our GuestbookOur View - Alternative NewsHatfield Main - NUM Office and Advice CentreMiner's Advice Reviews


Maltby Colliery



Rotherham, South Yorkshire



RJB's Maltby Colliery can be found 12 km to the east of Rotherham, in the rural heart of the South Yorkshire countryside. It's giant enclosed headgear dominates the nearby town of Maltby and the surrounding countryside in all directions.

Opened in 1911, the colliery has worked a number of seams, including the now exhausted Barnsley seam and the currently exploited Parkgate seam.

Maltby's production record fluctuates between periods of high productivity and periods of heavy reworking of the mine's infrastructure, such as occurred in 1980's so that the colliery could commence work in the Parkgate seam.

The colliery has three shafts, No.3 the newest, being used as a mineral shaft.

Just after the Second World War, the two initial shafts were deepened by fifty yards. The coal seam dipped steeply away from the old pit bottom and, prior to the work being carried out, it was impossible to use locomotives and mine-cars.



with thanks to Alex Potts

The two original shafts began sinking in 1907 and production began in the Barnsley seam four years later. Maltby's production record fluctuated between periods of high productivity and two periods of roughly ten years each of heavy reworking of the mines infrastructure which interfered with production. The first major project took place between 1951- 1961. This entailed the deepening of the two shafts by fifty yards, which allowed access to the Barnsley seam to be made from a horizontal level, and by construction of a new pit bottom.
Prior to the work being undertaken the seam dipped steeply away from the old pit bottom and it was impossible to use locomotives and mine cars. The work also gave access to a new seam, the Swallow Wood, and a second pit bottom was also created within this seam. By 1969 the Barnsley seam was generally considered exhausted and production went over to the Swallow Wood.

Plans for the second project, known as the Parkgate project were first put forward in 1976, and were finally approved in 1981. This major project aimed to reach the Parkgate seam and for commencement of production from this seam to coincide with the exhaustion of Swallow Wood. Plans by the then NCB were that when the work was complete production from the Parkgate would hopefully amount to 2.5m tonnes, the equivalent of the forthcoming Selby super pits.
The plan involved development on a scale usually only seen in a new mine. A new mineral shaft ,the largest capacity of any European mine was sunk. The enclosed headgear which was also the largest in Europe was fitted. It now dominates the local skyline for many miles. Because of the distance from the new no 3 shaft to the other two it was necessary to build a separate Parkgate pit bottom at the new shaft. The two existing shafts were deepened and equipped for the new work. Apparently the plans originally were for one of the original two headgear's to be replaced. Being the older of the two, the beautiful No 1 winder was earmarked for demolition and replacement. This caused an outcry among the workforce and the local people and eventually the No2 headgear which was considered dreary by comparison was demolished instead and a new slightly less ugly one erected. No 1 winder is these days used for pit supervisors, deputies and inspectors and emergency winds only. The old coal prep plant was demolished and replaced whilst underground many thousands of meters of drivage were driven into new faces. The first advancing face came on stream in April 1992. The project had cost £180m. Astoundingly just as Maltby was gearing up to start work on the first retreat face ever worked at Maltby Colliery and to abandon the Swallow Wood seam the government suddenly announced that they intended to put the pit into mothballs. It looked as though Maltby and its miners would never achieve the 2.5million tonnes production target, despite their drive to achieve that over the previous 12 years of preparation.
For some strange reason, though the pit never was mothballed. However from the announcement to the privatisation of the coal industry exactly a year later, the number of Maltby miners dropped from 1300 to 800 as more and more men were driven out of what had become a torment of uncertainty and insecurity.
RJB Mining later renamed UK Coal bought the mine in Dec. 1994. Silverwood the adjacent mine closed at this time and the Parkgate reserves were then merged with Maltby's. This would apparently give the mine a more secure future, or so it seemed at the time.
In 1997 RJB was forced to halt production at the mine. It blamed uncertainty over coal contracts. Over a period of five months the number of workers dropped from 800 to just 200 essential maintenance workers. It began to look as though an end had been signalled for mining in Rotherham.
The problems were it seemed sorted and the mine restarted work. However the full 800 were not rehired and just 532 men now work at the pit ( Nov. 2002) mining 1.3/ 1.6 millions tonnes per year.


It had been estimated coal extraction from the Parkgate would last until 2014. In the meantime access was to be made into the Thorncliff seam (also known as the Silkstone Seam) which is also worked at Kellingly Colliery. Access was to extend the life of the colliery beyond 2014. The Parkgate seam (at 950 m depth) has been estimated as having reserves of 19 Million Tonnes while the Thorncliff (which is 20 M deeper) is estimated to hold a further 9 Million tonnes. However recent developments within the UK Coal commercial perspectives make all of this very doubtful. With intentions to pull out of Harworth 'the jewel' in the company's crown, UK coals commitment to mining anywhere seems doubtful.


Ayle - Betws - Blenkinsopp - Clipstone - Daw Mill - Ellington - Gleision - Harworth - Hatfield Main - Hay Royds
Hill Top - Kellingley - Longannet - Monument - Maltby -Phoenix and Hopewell - Prince of Wales - Rossington
The Free Miners - The Selby Complex - Thoresby -Thorne - Tower - Welbeck - The Nottingham Coalfield
Mining 2000 Conclusions