Phoenix & Hopewell Collieries
The Phoenix and Hopewell mines
are separate pits despite being linked underground. Old fashioned
coal mining is carried on at both mines on a full time basis during
the winter-months of Oct. - to March. They operate as a Museum in
the summer months.
Both pits are half a mile north of
Monument Colliery in Cannop, Forest Of Dean. They are inside
the Forestry Commissions Barnhill plantation with Coleford
a mile to the west.
Hopewell was opened in 1823 and has
used at least three different 'adits' (drifts). It had been
closed by the time the Hilton Bros. took it over in 1965.
|At the time of their retirement (1989) it
had been closed and reopened several times. It was bought by Free
Miner Robin Morgan in 1992, who converted certain parts into a museum
which opened in 1997.
||Phoenix Pit was originally
named New Room Level No 2 Mine, as it worked the New Road Level
Seam. There are two possible dates for the opening of the mine.
1821 and 1902. Also owned by The Hilton Bros. it was renamed
Phoenix Colliery upon its reopening in 1976. As with Hopewell,
the pit was closed in 1989. However Robin Morgan redeveloped
the mine between 1993- 1996.Both mines were once again closed
for coal mining purposes in Spring 1999, due to thinning of
seams. However in 2003 Robin Morgan 67 and son Neil 44, once
more opened the mines to dig for coal during the winter.
Robin and Neil Morgan are currently working
a Longwall face in the Yorkley Seam with average heights of 2 ½
foot. An electric cutter is used to undercut the coal and the remaining
coal is brought down by pneumatic picks. As with Monument Colliery,
technology is minimal. Wooden props are used to support the roof
and all coal is moved by shovels.
Usually all coal comes to the surface at the phoenix side of the
complex. It is wound out of the drift entrance in half ton tubs
and sorted in the on-site tipper and mechanisms.
Robin Morgan is hoping that his sixteen
year old grandson Fraser will take over the mine. Recently
the mine has found a good industrial market as Tower Colliery
has stepped in to buy the coal for blending purposes. An advantage
is that the pits can easily be reopened and closed at any
time as the underground workings are kept up for museum tours
even when the mine is not in commercial operation.
I am aware that Robin Morgan is opening up
new areas of coal reserves around a new drift entrance he dug in
the period of closure from 1999- 2003. These New Yorkley Seam reserves
will hopefully provide his grandson Fraser with coal for many years,
when he comes to take over the mine in five years time.
Information for this page supplied by Alex
All photographs on this page © Thomas Imgrund