PEGGS GREEN COLLIERY 1830 – 1859
In anticipation of the introduction of the Coleorton Railway, Edward Price, who was the senior partner in the “Heather Colliery Company”, developed plans for a new colliery at Peggs Green by leasing the underlying coal from the Boultbee family in 1830.
Some years earlier, Price had assisted the Boultbee family in the running of their colliery at Thringstone (formerly Raper & Fenton Colliery), and was allotted a small area of land at Peggs Green in 1805 under the Whitwick and Thringstone closure award. In 1830, he formed a partnership with his son, plus Joseph Bostock (a lime manufacturer of Breedon), and William Cowlishaw. They sank a shaft to the main coal at 385 feet, and although it passed through several workable seams with a total thickness of over 30 ft, it is likely that most of them had been worked previously, By 1832, the company was working the bottom 5ft 9 in of the Main Seam, which was sold at the pit-head at 8s 4d per ton. Edward Price is listed in the 1841 Peggs Green census as a Coal Master’, aged 70.
The ‘Butty System’ would have been in operation at Pegg’s Green Colliery. A Butty was a contracter who agreed with the owner of a mine to raise coal at a given price per ton, delivered into carts and wagons at the bank (surface). The Butty was thus a middleman intervening between the working miners and the owner. He would have come up from the ranks of workmen and saved some money, as his business required capital to provide tools, timber, horses etc A Butty was not recognised by law and carried no weight with a government inspector. He took no responsibility either for firing shots, or in the supervision of safety. His duties were to get the greatest amount of work out of the smallest number of men, and to keep down the cost of coal and repairs. He paid the colliers etc, who were usually engaged by the week or day. Many Butties were notorious for paying wages in goods and not in cash, a practice know as ‘Truck’ or ‘Tommy’.
In 1834, the colliery had been in dispute with the Leicester to Swannington Railway Company over its temporary withdrawal of a drawback of one-fourteenth on the tonnage rate for coal. By this time, Peggs Green Colliery was raising around 30,000 tons of coal per annum, and because it was considered to be the best coal mined in the county, it could be sold in Leicester at the high price of 13s per ton.
During the time Price and Co were operating Peggs Green Colliery (c.1854), they were anxious to avoid payment of extra Hinckley-Melbourne Turnpike tolls and agreed to maintain a stretch of road between the colliery and Swannington Common for seven years in return for the removal of the Turnpike toll gate bar. However, the Trustees were careful to ensure that any coal sent northwards passed through the Toll Gate at Newbold.
The owners in 1856 were Kidger and Co. Joseph Kidger was also involved with Hall and Boardman’s Colliery in Swadlincote. He was also a coal merchant with his own private owner wagons.
By 1857, control of the colliery had passed to Benjamin Walker and William Worswick. It had a short branch rail connection to the Coleorton Railway. For a time, Peggs Green Colliery remained outside the Worswick-Walker Empire, but it must have felt constantly threatened by the developments to the south. Expansion northwards was difficult owing to its proximity to the Thringstone Fault, but this was accomplished in a limited way in 1852 when Price and Company leased 23 ½ acres of main coal at £75 per acre under part of Griffydam from the Curzon family. Working of coal was made particularly difficult at Peggs Green by the easterly dip of the strata which caused the accumulation of large quantities of water draining from the old workings between there and Lount. Testing by means of a long boring rod was essential when driving headings towards the west. It was probably such difficulties that persuaded one of the main partners to withdraw from the company in 1857, thereby allowing Messrs Walker and Worswick to secure control, but by the end of 1859 the colliery had closed. A shaft was maintained for pumping until c.1950.
The following notice appeared in The London Gazette Jan 10th 1860
Notice is hereby given, that the partnership heretofore subsisting between us the undersigned, Thomas Bostock, John Price, William Kidger, John Knight, Benjamin Walker, and William Worswick, under the style or firm of Bostock, Price and Co., and sometimes called the Peggs Green Colliery Company, or under any other style or firm whatever, has been this day dissolved by mutual consent - dated the third day of December 1859.
Peggs Green colliery 1903 O/S map with the adjacent New Engine Inn. The New Inn pub is shown bottom left