Area Shaft Building

Area Shaft Building

Summary of Building
Former colliery equipment store (23) and electricity sub-station of circa 1948 with minor late-C20 alterations.
Reasons for Designation
The Area Shaft Building, formerly an equipment store, including the electricity sub-station, of c.1948, at Chatterley Whitfield Colliery, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Historic interest: although a modest building, it is fundamental to the understanding and development of Chatterley Whitfield during the second half of the C20;
* Group value: for its spatial and formerly functional relationship with other buildings related to the maintenance and equipment supply of a colliery post-nationalisation;
* Historic association: as an essential component of one of the country's best surviving collieries from the industry's period of peak production;
Following the nationalisation of the coal industry in 1947 there was further investment, most notably the introduction of mine cars and locomotive haulage in 1952, which included the construction of a surface mine car circuit to allow the circulation of tubs from the pithead to the washery and back again. 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 and the site opened as a mining museum in 1979. This ensured the survival of the buildings, but the museum closed due to financial difficulties in 1993 and the site has been unused since then.

The Area Shaft Building (23), an equipment store, was erected in the south-western part of the colliery circa 1948 on a site previously occupied by several smaller buildings and a rail siding. The new building also housed an electricity sub-station.
Former colliery equipment store (23) and electricity sub-station of circa 1948 with minor late-C20 alterations.

MATERIALS: exposed steel frame with infill panels of red brick and asbestos sheet roof coverings with continuous patent glazed roof lights.

PLAN: rectangular plan of two, two-storey parallel ranges with pitched roofs, and aligned roughly west to east. There are single-storey, mono-pitched lean-tos at the south-east and north-west corners of the building; the former containing the electricity sub-station and a lift shaft whose tower rises above the building.

EXTERIOR: each bay of the principal, east elevation has centrally-positioned wagon doors, the right-hand having a steel roller shutter. They are flanked by metal-framed windows, the outer ones being taller with a pedestrian entrance below, and there are a further four windows above the wagon doors. To the upper floor each range has three narrower windows with continuous steel bands to the heads and cills. There is also a wagon door (blocked) to the lean-to attached to the west end wall. The north and south side elevations each have twenty window bays with regularly-spaced, tall multi-pane metal windows to the ground floor and shallow windows of matching type to the upper floor, the window heads at eaves level. The south elevation has a central wagon door with a smaller window above. The east gable end has a similar arrangement of tall windows to the ground floor and narrower upper windows as the rest of the building. The left-hand range has a large central opening with a roller shutter and provides rail access into the building, and the lower part of the ground-floor windows have been blocked.

INTERIOR: it has a tall ground floor which is essentially an open workshop/storage made up of two main bays. They both originally had narrow rail tracks and overhead travelling cranes that formerly allowed for the mechanised handling of equipment throughout the ground-floor area, though only the southern bay retains its two cranes while the other bay only retains a gantry. The steel beams and concrete slab floor of the upper floor is supported by regularly-spaced steel uprights, and the spaces between the central steels have largely been infilled with blockwork to divide the ground floor into two areas. At the east end is an internal office area which is built of brick with metal-framed windows. The north range has open access to a north-west lean-to, while the south range has a steel staircase and a lift shaft to the upper floor which is a large open space. The roof comprises pitched steel trusses with angled struts and tie beams supported on a central row of steel uprights. The southern lean-to retains some of the electric switchgear for the incoming electricity supply for the colliery.