Coventry Colliery - Coventry, West Midlands, UK
Posted by: Superted
N 52° 27.459 W 001° 32.004
30U E 599650 N 5812952
Quick Description: Shafts of Coventry Colliery were sunk in 1911 and the mine began operating in 1917. The associated rail branch was built in 1919. It was the start of 60 years of mining at Keresley and development of the modern Keresley village.
Location: United Kingdom
Date Posted: 11/22/2008 1:42:04 PM
Waymark Code: WM576N
Coventry Colliery is in the village of Keresley on the outskirts of the city of Coventry. The mine was also known as Keresley Pit.
The colliery's main shafts are just outside the north-east boundary of Keresley on Newland House Farm in Exhall, but the buildings, the branch railway, and other workings have straddled the boundary on to part of the former open fields called Leightons. The first shaft reached the seam of the Warwickshire Thick Coal in 1917, and it was estimated that there could be an annual production of 1½ million tons for at least a century. The Coventry Colliery has been said to be one of the most modern in the country.
New houses were built for the miners. They were good homes by the standards of the time, with inside toilets; unusual for working class housing of that era. In 1924 a miners' social club was formed.
In the 1950s miners from other areas (South Wales, Scotland, Northeast England, Ireland and Eastern Europe came to work in Coventry Colliery.
Coventry Colliery, Coventry’s last coal mine, closed in 1991. It reopened as a private pit, one of the first in the UK (following nationalisation of coalmines in 1947), the following year, but in 1996 it closed forever when its new owner, Coal Investments, went out of business.
The Homefire smokeless fuel plant, built in the 1960s, shared the site of Coventry Colliery made a dramatic and imposing structure on the Keresley skyline. The Homefire Plant closed in 2000.
These closures were of course a severe blow to the community but from 1999 a new business park called Prologis Park or Keresley Park was built on the site and is bringing new life to Keresley. A Country Park was also created.
The following tells the story of the recent installation of the pit wheel at the former Coventry Colliery site (extract from Coventry Evening Telegraph, April 2008):-
A giant pit wheel which helped keep the home fires burning in Coventry and Warwickshire is being mounted as a permanent tribute to the men who once toiled underground.
The 22ft diameter wheel, weighing 14 tonnes, once formed part of the winding gear at the old Coventry Colliery, in Keresley End, and was a familiar and imposing landmark high above the village.
It has been sliced in half and placed at the entrance to the new Prologis Park, which stands on the site of the old pit and the nearby Homefire Plant.
The official unveiling of the memorial took place in the Summer of 2008.
MP Mike O'Brien, whose North Warwickshire constituency embraces Keresley village, arranged for the return of the wheel to a proud former mining community which stands on the border between Coventry and Exhall.
He said: "I was able to get hold of the wheel and get funding to put it up as a memorial to the workers at Coventry Colliery and the nearby Homefire Plant and the wheel has now been put in place. A plaque is being made and should be ready in three weeks and then a plinth for the plaque needs to be created. So we should be ready to open the memorial in a month's time. We will invite all the former workers to attend the ceremony."
Mr O'Brien is the president of the South Warwickshire Retired Miners' Association and he asked the old colliers and their wives where the memorial should be placed.
They wanted it at the entrance to Prologis Business Park, opposite the Coventry Colliery and Keresley Sports and Social Club, in Bennetts Road.
Yvonne Johnson, secretary of the Retired Miners' Association, said: "We wanted this memorial to remember all the miners who worked at the pit."
Coventry Colliery closed in 1991, only to re-open briefly again between 1994 and 1996.
The two pit wheels were sold to businessman Andrew Ambrose who kept them on land near Sutton Stop.
One wheel was vandalised but Mr Ambrose agreed to return the other wheel to Keresley.
Funding was raised for the memorial from the Building Sustainable Neighbourhoods project and the Prologis company. The total cost is £22,000. Midlands Surface Finishing, the Exhall based shotblasting company, has completed the refurbishment of two pit wheels. The wheels, which have been expertly shotblasted and repainted by John Morris.
(When I visited the site it did not appear to have a plaque in place as yet - Nov 2008)
Mine Type: Abandoned Mine
Mineral Collecting: No
Material Mined: Coal, Lignite
Operation: Underground Mine
Surface Features: No
Any associated website: Not listed
Any Other information: Not listed
Optional photograph welcomed.