Bank Hall Colliery

© Craven & Pendle Geological Society

Bank Hall Colliery No.2, No.3 & Cupola circa 1903-1910
(photo courtesy of Towneley Hall)

Abstract: Colliery Guardian 1902/1971

Further development got under way in 1903 with the sinking of No.3 shaft for 186 yards to the Dandy Mine.  

Ten years later work began on No.4 shaft which ended up penetrating for 500 yards.  

In the local area this was marked by celebrations which culminated in a trek across to the Spread Eagle public house in Sawley, on the other side of Pendle Hill.  As this is a good ten mile hike probably over the 'Nick of Pendle' via Sabden, the beer would have tasted absolutely wonderful by the time they got there.

1 yard approx. 1 metre
3 feet (foot) approx. 1 metre (1 yard)

A further major development took place in 1926 with the opening of a coal-screening plant. The plant was built to handle increase yields from the various shafts. It was expected to be able to deal with five grades of coal at a rate of 135 tons per hour with the benefit of keeping complaints down from customers over 'dirty' coal.

June 1937 saw the opening of pithead baths kindly provided by the Miners Welfare Committee. The cost of the new baths was about £11700 plus around £840 for the canteen and £475 for the cycle shed.

Nationalisation of the coal industry initially resulted in increased investment. Bank Hall Colliery benefited from the huge resources and in 1950 significant reconstruction commenced. Coal cutters were introduced in 1951. Underground saw major re-organisation with a complete new shaft bottom being built 30 yards above the old No.4 shaft. Even during periods of expansion, new difficulties surfaced, for example, gas emissions from the Union Seam became very high so methane drainage became necessary for up to several years.

At Bank Hall, new recruits had the advantage of being able to be trained on a special underground training face. Most recruits were local men, but not all: Burnley Express, September 12 1951 - "Going underground for the first time in Britain, 11 Italian workers at Bank Hall yesterday were embarking on the most important stage of what they hope will be a new life........

Output from Bank Hall achieved a staggering 18 000 tons in one week in 1959 though this was to herald a steady decline in output. Faulting underground caused major difficulties. On top of this more frequent ironstone pockets in the coal seams, after having been hit by a miners pick, would frequently spark and ignite the gas below. Eventually the miners did strike over these dangerous working conditions. Management did attempt make life better by introducing a new machine called a coal plough which was supposed to help reduce these ignitions. Further ignitions resulted in closure of the mine by the Coal Board in the week ending April 17th, 1971 when 571 miners received their notice.

Today the site is a pleasant grassy park disguising the fact that below is part of the industrial heritage of Burnley in North East Lancashire.