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Ellowes Colliery and Dingle Pits
Ellowes Colliery was located just off Cotwall End Road
During the miners strike of 1926, unauthorized digging in the valley was taking place by unemployed miners with 'bob holes' a few yards deep, when the Earl of Dudley, who owned the mineral rights heard about it, his agent put a stop to it.
Benjamin Williams, a tennant of nearby Ruiton Farm, having gained permission from the Earl and paying royalties, took over the workings and the Ellowes Colliery was established.
At first, a walk down slope with horse driven gin winding gear was employed to pull up the coal tubs.
Later two shafts, eighty yards deep were sunk to get at the seam of thick coal, an orthodox pithead with steam powered winding gear was used.
On a 1940 O/S map the colliery did have an engine house.
In 1945, Ellowes Colliery employed thirteen men, ten of these worked below ground.
In 1944, the nearby land was taken over by the Ministry of Fuel and Power to meet the wartime demand and with the intention of opencast mining using heavy plant, however despite all the effort the expected output was not accomplished.
When the coal industry was Nationalised in 1947, the Coal Board took over the colliery from Benjamin Williams & Sons and some further open-cast mining took place but it was again found unproductive, the colliery finally closed in 1951.
The workings have since been filled in and has now been reclaimed by nature.
Before the intense mining had begun, an Infectious Diseases Hospital existed in the field where the shafts were dug, the hospital was short-lived and was abandonded by the time of the mining operations.
Bell or 'Bob' pits were often used for early mining operations in the valley, for this reason Straits Brook was more often called Bobs Brook.
The coal was dug from around the bottom of a single vertical shaft forming a bell shape until there was a danger of collapse, and then a new shaft would be sunk nearby if need be.
The coal was hauled up using a bucket and winding mechanism at the surface.
Muntin', was a local expression for picking coal from the pit banks and spoil heaps usually by women or children.
Just a little further up Cotwall End Valley, on land owned by Mr Nock of the Ellowes Hall, another pit was established around 1933 by Chandler & Lee Limited, two shafts were sunk, one close by to the old Ellowes West Lodge.
London Fields Colliery Co. took over the pit and a further shafts were sunk further up the Dingle, this was a very successful operation with large output whilst it lasted.
One of the shafts is now covered with a concrete pit cap and is quite noticeable if following the newly formed footpath.
A refuse tip was established here to fill in around the pit mounds in the 1960s, changing the appearance of the area completely.
The following three drawings are by local artist Edward Morgan (1932-2010), the date of the drawings is unknown but possibly sometime between 1950 and 1960, the drawings show scenes in the vicinity of the Ellowes Colliery, and are reproduced by kind permission of Barbara Morgan.
"Gornal Ellowes Hall pit banks" by Edward Morgan.
© estate of Edward Morgan.
"Lower Gornal open cast mining nr Ellowes Hall" by Edward Morgan
© estate of Edward Morgan.
"Old pit side Ellowes Hall Lower Gornal" by Edward Morgan.
© estate of Edward Morgan.
Frederick Allen, owner of the Conquerors Farm established this successful colliery around 1935.
The colliery was located near to Conquerors Farm in the lower part of Cotwall End Valley, here two shafts were sunk.
During this period John Baker, a venture endorsed by Mr Allen, sunk a shaft right next to Conquerors Farm to get at the Flying Read ('flyin Red') coal, but this proved unsuccessful.
In 1938, the colliery employed 38 workers.
The Alley Colliery Co. Ltd., discontinued the workings in 1943.
In 1934, 'butty' collier Sam Ceney with the agreement with The Earl of Dudley, sunk trial holes to prove fire clays gubbin ironstone and coal beneath in the same area, and later mainly opencast mining was employed to remove the clay which lay just above the coal seams.
Ceney from Dawlish House, Kingswinford, was already an established collier, with exploits around the Black Country during the 1920s.
Straits Green Colliery
This colliery was in production in the 1880s when it was owned by Thomas Glaze.
The partnership between Thomas Glaze, John Newey, and Mary Ann Newey trading as Thomas Glaze & Co., was wound up in 1899.
William Gibbons, John Green and William Pugh were proprietors of Straits Green Colliery Limited in the 1920s, the partnership with Pugh was dissolved in 1927 and Gibbons and Green continued to run the pit.
At the peak of production around the end of the Nineteenth Century, a tramway was built employing horse drawn coal tubs, the tramway ran south from the mine and under the Himley Road near Askew Bridge and terminated at the Earl's mineral line just beyond, however by 1920, the tramway had disappeared.
Mr. Thomas Glaze, of Straits Colliery, near Sedgley, a well-known coalmaster in the Black Country, when returning home from work on Wednesday night, was murderously attacked by an employee named Thomas Malpass, who had been refused an advance in wages. Malpass came from under a hedge and rushed at Mr Glaze, threatening him with death, breaking his shoulder, and inflicting several wounds. He was apprehended yesterday morning and brought before magistrates, and committed for trial
Newspaper report, 6 August, 1880
'ah bin yah ah kid