Reasons for Designation Grade II* Listed
The c. 1930 fan house at Chatterley Whitfield Colliery is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Rarity: fan houses are rare survivals in a national context and, despite the loss of its fan, this example retains its characteristic evasé; * Architectural interest: it represents an architecturally distinctive component in terms of the decorative detailing in its brickwork from the mid-C20 phase of the colliery's development; * Group value: it has a spatial and visual relationship with other listed buildings and a scheduled monument.
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 The 1910s saw significant investment including the construction of the new Winstanley shaft in 1913-15, which superseded the adjacent Engine Pit and served the workings of the Middle Pit.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 another new shaft was dug, the Hesketh Shaft constructed 1914-1917. This was designed to serve the much deeper coal seems below those worked by the other shafts. 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.
Fan houses provided ventilation to underground colliery workings. In Britain colliery fans were traditionally exhausting ventilators: stagnant air and gases being drawn out of the underground workings, and a ventilation shaft, known as an evaseé, reduced the speed of the air as it left the fan. The Platt fan house (11) was constructed in the south-eastern part of the colliery circa 1930 to house a steam-driven fan. It is unclear whether it remained in operation following the construction of the Institute or Walker fan house (27) immediately to the west circa 1958, but by the late C20 the building was used mostly for storage.