Was there coal in Draycott Colliery?

History – even recent hstory – is not as detailed as people like to think.
For instance, this poster, which has just been donated to the Cheadle History Centre, raises more questions than answers…

Draycott Colliery Procession poster

The old Draycott Colliery was to be found on our side of the hill, at Draycott Cross – roughly, just before where the Huntley Wood Outdoor Centre is now sited.    On the opposite side of the hill, the Cheadle side, was New Haden Colliery.

Draycott Colliery was a stop on the former railway track from Cresswell to Cheadle, but, despite that advantage, it wasn’t very successful, and closed not long after opening, in 1906 – though, later, there was some thought given to creating  an additional siding on the same land to make a storage area for railway wagons.   It was owned by the same company that owned the railway line, which is why this procession route goes from Draycott and then down into Cheadle town centre.
The site may also have been the site of outcroppings (illegal coal-scavenging) during the 1920s General Strikes.

So… in fact, this poster presents a bit of a mystery.  It clearly claims that coal from the Dilhorne seam had been found at the mine.
Now, many local historians believe that Draycott closed because the owners found no coal there.   However, clearly, this poster (dated 1904) indicates the opposite…
…or does it?  Was this procession perhaps a ‘stunt’ – some massive confidence trick – to persuade investors to put money in.?  Who knows?

Water board

Draycott Colliery was not quite finished however – as the site was later taken over by the Water Board, with a proposal to build a reservoir.  The shafts sunk for the colliery were the basis for the Water Board’s bore holes established in the 1940s.
You can still see, from the side of Cheadle Road, a water pumping station that is still in use.

Exhibition

This poster will be featured in an exhibition at Cheadle History Centre, due to take place in autumn this year, which will be all about local industry during the early twentieth century and especially during the Great War time.

And this is where you can help.  Do you have letters, documentation, photos or artefacts (relating to mills, mines and factories) that date back to that time?  Cheadle Centre would dearly love to hear from you.
Just contact Cheadle History Centre – or email us, and we’ll email you back all the details you need to know.

If you want also to write something about the village’s history for this website, just email us

***
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One response to “Was there coal in Draycott Colliery?

  1. Colliery was a problem

    Draycott sits on a series of sandstone beds known as the Bunter which belong to the geological formation called the Triassic (older than the Jurassic most of us are familiar with).
    The coal of North Staffordshire and in the vicinity of Cheadle belong to the upper sequence of the Carboniferous series which underlie the Triassic; consequently, there is coal beneath Draycott but to get to a productive seam of any value you first have to drive a shaft through the sandstone beds.
    This makes the shaft not only deeper than is necessary but also made Draycott Colliery more expensive compared to its New Haden counterpart on the other side of the hill.
    To make matters worse, the Cheadle coalfield is naturally wet; and it would appear that when they sank the shaft the miners hit the natural aquifer – and in effect produced a very expensive well! But the shaft was not worthy of draining, and not deep enough to locate the seams worth extracting.
    I think that the poster was aimed at raising spirits and keeping investors happy – unaware that financial failure was just around the corner (like so many in similar circumstances)

    Lev Wood – Blythe Bridge, Forsbrook and Dilhorne Historical Soc

    Like

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