Reasons for Designation Grade II* Listed
The power house at Chatterley Whitfield Colliery, constructed in 1895 and extended in 1900 and 1903, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: despite the loss of machinery, the incremental development of the building remains legible, reflecting the rapid pace of technological advance in the provision of power at Chatterley Whitfield during this period; * Historic interest: it is strongly representative of one of key aspects of the technologies employed at collieries during the late C19 and early part of the C20; * Group value: it is an essential component of an important and largely intact complex which contains examples of a full range of colliery structures, most of which are designated.
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 The 1910s saw significant investment including the construction of the new Winstanley shaft in 1913-15, which superseded the adjacent Engine Pit and served the workings of the Middle Pit.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 seams 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.
The Middle Pit shaft (originally the Ragman pit) was sunk around 1840 and re-named after it was deepened in 1881. It was one of the colliery's main drawing shafts and was used until 1968. Construction of the power house (4) to Middle Pit was begun in 1895. It consisted originally of a small single-storey building, latterly a workshop, which was extended to the north-east with a substantial L-shaped building of two ranges between 1900 and 1903 in order to increase supply as mechanisation intensified at the colliery. The generating equipment, including three turbine generators, was situated on the first floor, while the ground floor contained an engine which powered the underground haulage systems in Middle Pit. There was also an electrical workshop on the ground floor which was used prior to the construction of the main fitters' shop (15) in 1935.