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Gary Park

West Sleekburn Colliery Post Closure

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Hi,

I'm looking to find out what the larger colliery building which was left after the closure of the colliery (1962) was used for. This building was the one which was approximately midway between the Cambois rail line to the north of the colliery and the internal colliery lines running from the West Sleekburn Junction to the shafts and screens then on to the soil heaps.

On the 1977 Ordnance Survey maps this building is marked as "works" but by the mid-1980s / mid-1990s the building had been demolished.

Please see attached map from 1977 - the building in question is ringed.

Anything would be helpful - uses or company names...anything.

Many thanks

Gary

West Sleekburn Colliery.jpg

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Hi Gary! Welcome to the forums! Ye'll find there's a lot of gud canny members on here.

Noo,as for me,a rite like a taak,not on porpose mind...that's thi way aam is.

So,wat aa think,lukkin' at thi sketch,and using me experience of pitwark,is,that yon buildin' was probably..mind a say ...probably...thi pit baths.

If ye tek notice it's the forst buildin' ye cum ti off thi entrance road,which was typical,and commmonsensicle,for the pitmen ti waak up thi pit road,and gaan stryt in ti thi baths ti get tha clean claas off,and get tha dorty claas on,ti gaa doon thi pit.

That's the way most pits were,except for them pits like Linton pit,which nivvor had baths till not lang afore it closed..wor Aad Chep worked there till it closed from aboot 1944-ish,just when aa was born,and he aalwis came yem black as a craa..alang wi ivry body else.Naebody wud sit aside the Linton Pitmen,on the buses,unless tha was nae seats and they were desperate for a sit-doon!

Eggy might find sum aad aerial pics ,[usually tekkn from thi top of thi pit heap,in thi  auld days],on Facebook,where we might be able ti get a better idea of thi pit layoot.

AA might be a thoosand miles wrang,Gary, it might hae been the boiler-hooses for the steam winders...they were pretty big buildings an aal....a stand to be corrected as aalwis!!

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Hi High Pit Wilma,

Thanks for that - I think you're right - looking at an old aerial photo of the colliery (although most of the building I'm interest in is hidden behind the headgear). The westernmost part of that building which was left onsite following the closure of the colliery was the winding house (almost identical to the one still standing at Earsdon - Fenwick Colliery), the boiler chimney behind that and other associated uses in the attached building behind including (as you stated) baths, equipment storage etc. - although the baths weren't opened until 1951.

However, I'm more interested in what the use of this building was after the colliery closed (see attached with red outline of the building left after the closure of the colliery and which was demolished some time after 1977. This is now on the site of the first unit on your right when you enter the industrial estate (previously Elite Car Transport Ltd). This is the building which is shown as "works" on the earlier map.

Cheers

Gary

West Sleekburn - 1-2500 - 1921.jpg

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11 hours ago, HIGH PIT WILMA said:

Eggy might find sum aad aerial pics ,[usually tekkn from thi top of thi pit heap,in thi  auld days],on Facebook,where we might be able ti get a better idea of thi pit layoot.

Can't find any aerial pics (yet) of the West Sleekburn Colliery.  The old maps show a few buildings but they aren't always reliable. 

The Durham Mining Museum (DMM) site records the first output of coal as 1882 and  the first map I can find with the colliery on is 1898 and it shows an air shaft in the area of the building you are looking at @Gary Park. If I find any aerial photos, and I remember why I'm after them, I will post them:)

Compilation of maps.jpg

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@Gary Park - these are the only three photos of the Colliery I can find. They were posted on Facebook - Past Times group - and the aerial shot is posted with an estimated date of c1956 but with no evidence for that date :- 

From Peter Turner c1956.jpg

West Sleekburn Colliery.jpg

West Sleekburn Colliery c1914.jpg

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Hi Alan,

Thanks for all that but the point of my interest in the site is purely what the building which remained onsite after the colliery closure was used for - POST CLOSURE.

I don't know where I found the aerial photo but its attached below.

Regards

Gary

8388349_orig.jpg

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It was used as engineering manufacturing company that produced nuts and bolts, and other fittings.  How do I know this?  My old man knew the boss and arranged for me and my brother to have a holiday job there during the school Easter hols of 1969;  It was arranged that I could use some of the facilities to finish off my A'Level Engineering project - a racing kart (some folks call them go-karts but this was a serious bit of kit).  I bent the tubular chassis there on their pipe bending machine and welded it together with their oxy-axcetelene gear ... the school didn't have this type of tackle.  Anyway, what i recall was banks of multi-chuck automatic machines producing bolts in their thousands, turning the hexagonal bar stock to size, threading and then parting-off ... the finished items cascaded into metal bins for fork lifting away.  Whilst I worked on my kart my brother got the job of stripping the asbestos lagging off three (it might have been two ... memory fade) huge boilers using a hammer, saw and crowbar.  This was 1969 and well before H&S at Work Act ... no protective gear apart from a mask and dust everywhere.  So these boilers play into baths theory.  I can't recall the name of the firm.

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Symptoms - You're a STAR🌟

That's fantastic - just what I was after.

I would assume that someone made arrangements with the NCB so they left this building but demolished everything else - probably the company you're referring to.

You can just imagine a use like that for a former colliery site and building.

Hope your brother was never affected by the asbestos exposure !

Once again Many Thanks.

Gary

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The asbestos never got us ... we're both still 'fighting fit'. Mind, he still smokes!

I've been thinking about those redundant boilers and I'm sure they were heated by combusted coal dust blown into the furnaces - I recall big blowers as part of the tackle.  I doubt gas would have been used as this pre-dated North Sea gas so enormous quantities of Town Gas would have been needed.  Maybe there's some 'old timers' out there who'll confirm.

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