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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.

The Future

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 Potts
All photographs on this page © Thomas Imgrund



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