COLEORTON No.3 COLLIERY (BUG & WINK) 1875 - 1933
The following paragraph is taken from “The Leicestershire and South Derbyshire Coalfield 1200-1900” by Colin Owen :-
In 1875, a new colliery was established on the south side of Coleorton Moor by G. Checkland & Co, a relatively large company with collieries at Donisthorpe and Mapperley, and other industrial interests elsewhere in the Midlands. In 1875, they sank two shafts to a depth of 315ft, passing through the main coal, 5ft thick, at 183ft and the Roaster Coal, 2ft 10 in thick, at 312ft. The mineral rights were leased from Sir George Howland Beaumont 9th Baronet, at £40 per acre for coal worked, irrespective of the seam, the modest royalty no doubt reflecting the many years of mining that had taken place there in previous centuries. During the first three years, efforts were made to work the Main, Stinking and Nether Lount Seams, but in each case it was found that little coal remained. After 1880 however, considerable reserves of the Middle Lount and Roaster Seams were located, and the colliery raised its annual production to between 40 and 50,000 tons per annum. George Spencer, who acted as consultant engineer for the company a few years later, was of the opinion that this output could be doubled by further investment in a better underground haulage system, and improved banking facilities. During the second half of 1889, Spencer reported favourably on the colliery, which was benefiting from the high price of coal. Coal royalties amounted to £180 10s in respect of four acres of Middle Lount and just over half an acre of Nether Lount. The colliery also worked ironstone which could be sold at 10s or 11s per ton, and upon which a royalty of between 9d and 1s per ton was paid. Although it was efficiently manage by John Turner, who became general manager of the Moira Company in 1893, it was unable to attain its target of 75,000 tons of coal per annum. As time went by, it became increasingly difficult to locate workable areas of coal, but the colliery was helped by the lease of 190 acres of Middle and Nether Lount and Roaster Coals beneath Peggs Green in 1896. Nevertheless, between then and the end of the century, its output declined steadily, and working conditions became increasingly difficult.
The colliery had its own rail connection to the Leicester / Burton Railway and this is clearly defined on the maps.
Eventually, the high cost of extracting the lower coal seams after the main coal reserves had been exhausted forced it’s closure, and it was eventually sold to the Leicestershire Colliery and Pipe Company of Ashby (owner’s of New Lount Colliery) in 1933 with the view that they would :-
1. Acquire some 2,000 acres of land, with the associated mineral rights, which would safeguard the life of New Lount Colliery.
2. They would use the “Bug & Wink” site as a pumping station to keep the seams free of water.
There were 500 men working at Coleorton Colliery when it was closed, and not one person was reportedly transferred to New Lount.
Unfortunately, very soon after they had acquired the site, the shafts collapsed, making it impossible to use the site as a pumping station. Obviously they still needed to remove the water from the seams (a major issue with the coal seems in this coalfield) and they set about doing this by other means.
In 1953, the NCB installed a drift (footrill) at the Bug & Wink site, as part of the air circulation system. This was used by the colliers who lived at Coleorton to access the New Lount Colliery. It is also likely by this time, that there would have been pumping facilities in this area to remove the water from the seams being worked.
In 1975, the mine shafts were sealed, the buildings demolished, and the area reclaimed for pasture land.
In 1991, the site was planted with trees. The preceding 1884 O/S maps show the location of the Colliery.
Section from the 1903 O/S map showing the location of California Colliery (Coleorton No.1.) and Brick Works (marked A) plus the Coleorton Railway embankment