Hesketh Head Gear and Hesketh Steam Winding Engine......Since it's instalation in 1914 the engine cost just over £5,000. Since then it has been used to draw around 24 million tons of coal from the shaft bottom as well as for the transportation of men, materials and waste. However, the atmosphere of the Engine House and the responsibility of the Engineman is something that can only be pictured today.
Made by Worsley Mesnes lromnakers, Wigan 1914.
Brakes made by Andrew Barkley, Scotland.
Horse Power 500.
Diameter of cylinder and Piston 36 inches (9l .4cms).
Engine Stroke 6ft (18.2m).
Bicylin dro-Conical Dror 10/20it diameter (3 to 3.6m).
Steam Pressure (Superheated steam) 163 lbs per sq.inch.
Maximum speed 42ft per sec (12.8m).
Main bearing diameter (white metal) 20 inches 52 cms.
Crank bearing (white metal) 10 inches (25 .4cms).
Depth of shaft 640 yds deep (585.2m).
Brake linings 161*: x 10314 ins xl in (4.8m x 27.3 cms x 2.5 cms).
Winding Rope lock coil Galvanised Steel Strands 41mm diameter.
Safety Devices — Electro — Pneumatic Steam Safety Controller controls
speed at landing during man riding to a maximum of 45ft per second. lt
also prevents overwinding at all times.
Total weight of cage 3 tons.
. Mine car 16 cwts Tare.
Mine car capacity 28 cwts (30 cwt car).
Total load approx 12 ton (11 ton 8 cwts)
The coal seams in the Chatterley Whitfield area may have been worked from the medieval period but large-scale extraction began in the C19, particularly following the opening of the Biddulph Valley Railway line in the 1860s and the formation of Chatterley Whitfield Collieries Ltd in 1891. By the early C20 the mine workings were focussed around four shafts – known as the Engine Pit, Middle Pit, Institute Pit and Platt Pit. The 1910s saw significant investment including the construction of the new Winstanley shaft in 1913-15, which superseded the adjacent Engine Pit and served the workings of the Middle Pit. Soon after, in 1915-17, the Hesketh shaft was sunk in the south-eastern part of the colliery to serve the much deeper coal seams below those worked by the other shafts. The winding house (7) to the Hesketh shaft was constructed on the north side of the shaft in 1915. It contained a Worsley Mesnes steam-winding engine of 1914 and a winding cable drum of 1923 which replaced the original parallel drum. The engine could raise four mine cars (1.5 tonnes of coal in each) in a double-deck cage, fifty times each hour. After 1925 a five-bay power house was added to the north side of the building to produce electricity and compressed air; the latter was used extensively to drive machinery such as coalcutters, conveyors, drills and haulage engines. This was extended by a further three bays prior to 1962. To the east was a boiler house containing five Lancashire boilers which produced steam for the winding engine as well as for a variety of other uses around the colliery. The boilers originally had automatic coal stokers and elevators, though these were abandoned and they were subsequently hand fired. The boiler house and its chimney were demolished prior to 1962, and their cooling ponds have largely been infilled. In the second half of the C20 the steam-driven winder was superseded by an electric winder installed in its own building (demolished c 1976) in front of the Hesketh winding house.
By 1928, the colliery employed 4,402 men including 249 boys under 16. Following a contraction in production during the labour unrest of the 1920s and the Depression of the 1930s, there was renewed investment in the site including the mechanisation of underground haulage and the construction of new office accommodation and a pithead baths complex. In 1937 the colliery became the first to extract over one million tonnes of coal in a year. From the 1960s production at the site fell and in the 1970s it was decided to work the remaining coal from Wolstanton Colliery. Production ceased in 1976-77 but the site was opened as a museum two years later. This ensured the survival of the buildings, but the museum closed due to financial difficulties in 1993.