6. Hesketh Heapstead

hesketh heapstead.jpg

In the early 1900's Whitfield was drawing most of its coal from the Institute shaft, but having to go out well over a mile to get to the work face. Another shaft would provide better access to the coal below, so in 1914 work began on the Hesketh. It became operational in 1917 and during its life 24 million tons of coal were extracted, the last in 1976. The shaft was 1900 feet deep and when coal was being hauled up and down the shaft it took 46 seconds. When they were taking the men up and down the speed was slowed down a little and they took 70 seconds. Though 24 million tons were extracted, it only happened at a rate of four 30 cwt mine cars per lift, which were pushed in by hand at the bottom and out by hydraulics at the top. This meant that they only raised 6 tons from the pit bottom at a time, and there must have been at least 4 million mine car movements - more when waste is considered. Image: Halfmonkey 2014 Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported