Chester-le-Street Heritage Group

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Nettlesworth Colliery

Colliery Name


Location of Colliery

Edmondsley 5miles NNW of Durham

NZ241495, 54 50’ 23” N, 1 37’ 29” W

The Colliery was close to Edmondsley as this OS Map of 1857 shows:

Number of pits:


Names of Pit/Pits:

Nettlesworth Colliery.

Seams worked:

1894 Five Quarter, Hutton, Low Main, Main abandoned – coal exhausted

1914 Brass Thill.

Brief History

Thanks to an article in a copy of the Northern Echo from 2008 for the following:

“Nettlesworth and Kimblesworth are former mining villages on the western side of the Great North Road between Chester-le-street and Durham”.

On the 1850’s map Nettlesworth was called Broadmires and consisted of terrace rows. Nearby to the south-east of here was marked a tiny settlement called Tan Hill, where Kimblesworth and Nettlesworth now meet.

This OS map from of 1895 shows where the village of Nettlesworth is located and note the location of the Colliery in relation to the village:

Note also a second reference to a Nettlesworth Colliery on this map. For the purposes of this document it is accepted that the colliery is located to the north of this map near to Edmondsley.

Nettlesworth meaning enclosure in the nettles is mentioned in 1286 and although there are early records of its ownership, the original location is unclear.

A 16th century map of dubious accuracy place Nettlesworth southwest of Plawsworth, but the 1894 Whellan’s History of Durham places it to the North-West.

This was the site of Nettlesworth Hall, which stood until recent times on a pathway between Nettlesworth and Edmondsley. The hall was probably at the heart of Nettlesworth Manor, which belonged to a family called Gategang in the 1300’s.

In later years, Nettlesworth passed to the Hagthorpes, Wessingtons and, by the early 19th century, to the Askews. The Askews also acquired two smaller properties nearby. One property was called Holemyers and had once belonged to Kepier Hospital near Durham. The other, called Broadmires, lay slightly to the East.

In the 1850’s, Nettlesworth Colliery opened and the new terraces called Front Street and Back Street were built to accommodate the miners. The terraces were located near Nettlesworth intriguingly named Ugly Lane.

Broadmires Terrace, now Nettlesworth’s Front Street, which includes the Black Bull Inn, was built later in the century.

Broadmires seems to have been renamed Nettlesworth through an association with Nettlesworth colliery. In fact, three mines called Nettlesworth existed in the area at one time or another and the last did not officially close until 1974.

Nettlesworth’s first colliery owner was Sir George Elliot of Houghton Hall who, in partnership with William Hunter, of Sandhoe, Northumberland.

Boring for Nettlesworth Colliery started around 1840 and eventually sunk in 1850’s. It was never very productive and closed in 1894 but was retained as a pumping station by the Sacriston & Charlaw Colliery Co until the 1920’s when it was abandoned.  Coal was hauled up to the Sacriston Engine, then transferred to the Sacriston Waggonway and onwards to Pelton Fell.  Eventually it was incorporated into Waldridge Fell Country Park.


Colliery Owners:

1850s George Elliott & Jonasshon

1860s Sir George Elliot, Bart & William Hunter

1890s Charlaw & Sacriston Colliers Co. Ltd..

Colliery Owners also owned:

1840s Elliot & Hunter

1880 Charlaw, Kimblesworth, Sacriston, Witton.

1888 Charlaw, Kimblesworth, Sacriston.

1890 Kimblesworth, Sacriston. Charlaw & Sacriston Collieries.

1896 Kimblesworth, Sacriston, Witton.

1902 Charlaw, Kimblesworth, Sacriston Busty, Sacriston Shield Row.

Year Opened /Sunk:

1840 Boring operations were in progress at Nettlesworth.

1861 Nettlesworth new pit sunk from the surface to the Hutton Seam.

Year Closed:

1886 (April) Stoppage of one of the seams was imminent with upwards of 80 men and boys having received 14 days’ notice to terminate their employment.

1894 Five Quarter, Main, Low Main, Hutton seams abandoned – coal exhausted.


The output was always just coal. There were no brickworks, gasworks or cokeworks at this colliery.

Pit Baths:

No baths

Drift Mine:


Nettlesworth Dene Drift was on Waldridge Fell and was opened in 1945. It was closed in 1974 but wasn’t part of Nettlesworth Colliery which had closed 50 years earlier.


Wesleyan, Primitive and New Connexion Methodist chapels were built at Kimblesworth, Tan Hills and Nettlesworth respectively, but only Nettlesworth’s chapel survived, combining the three denominations.

Nettlesworth’s New Connexion worshippers were originally based next to the Black Bull Inn, but were uncomfortable with their close proximity to a pub and moved down the road later in the century.

Numbers Employed:

1854 no miners working

1896 - 7 (3 below, 4 surface)

1902 - 5 (2below, 3 surface)

1914 - 2 (pumping station)

1921 - 1 (pumping station)

1923 - 1 (pumping station)


Colliery Management prior to 1965:

1882      Agent:   R. Oliver   

            Manager:   R. Oliver    

 1884     Agent:   R. Oliver   

            Manager:   R. Oliver    

 1888     Agent:   C. E. Hunter   

            Manager:   W. C. Blackett    

            Under Manager:   T. Green    

 1890     Agent:   W. C. Blackett   

            Under Manager:   John Donkin    

 1896    Manager:   Thos. G. Noble   

 1902    Manager:   Thos. G. Noble   

 1909    Agent:   W. C. Blackett   

           Manager:   T. G. Noble   

 1914    Agent:   W. C. Blackett   

           Manager:   Thos. G. Noble   

 1919    Agent:   W. C. Blackett   

           Manager:   T. G. Noble   

 1921    Agent:   T. F. Brass   

           Manager:   Thos. G. Noble   

 1923    Agent:   T. F. Brass   

           Manager:   Thos. G. Noble   

The list opposite was provided by Durham Record Office and includes the dates the men worked at the colliery and in some cases their ages:

Adamson, G. , 20-Feb-1888

Atherton, James , 12-May-1890

Atherton, John , 24-Dec-1888

Blackburn, Henry , 8-Jul-1889

Brennan, Stephen 63, , 31-Mar-1950

Briggs, M. , 8-Aug-1889

Carroll, M. , 19-May-1888

Carroll, T. , 19-May-1888

Clark, John , 31-Mar-1890

Cuthbert, W.R. 20, 20-Dec-1890

Dooley, P. 62, 16-Feb-1891

Fairlamb, J. , 28-Mar-1888

Foster, George , 10-Nov-1890

Foster, Robert , 24-Dec-1888

Griereson, William , 16-Sep-1891

Henderson, George , 8-Jul-1889

Johnson, William , 12-May-1890

Knox, T. , 8-Aug-1889

Lamb, Thomas William , 18-Feb-1889

Mahon, Thomas , 8-Jul-1889

McCabe, John , 31-Mar-1890

McKenna, E. , 8-Dec-1888

McKenna, Edward 40, 16-Jun-1891

Mitchell, R. , 24-Nov-1891

Oughton, H. , 17-Mar-1891

Pounder, James , 14-Dec-1886

Pounder, Thomas , 24-Dec-1888

Richardson, George , 24-Jan-1887

Slater, John , 6-Mar-1886

Stangroom, William , 23-Dec-1889

Stougroom, John , 24-Nov-1890

Tomany, Nicholas , 13-Nov-1886

Tomney, James , 2-Nov-1886

Watson, F.B. , 28-Dec-1889

Watson, R. , 28-Dec-1889

Watt, James , 24-Dec-1888

Watts, G. , 21-Jun-1888

Watts, J. , 21-Jun-1888

Weston, W. , 9-Dec-1891

White, John , 22-Dec-1890


The following information is courtesy of Durham Mining Museum and Heritage Group Archives and contains the names of those killed at the pit and in some cases their burial location:

Bainbridge, John, 10 February 1864, aged 27, Deputy, fall of stone while drawing a jud.

Buried CLS Churchyard; Nettlesworth; 14/02/1864.

Cuthbert, W. R., 20 December 1890, (Accident: June 1889) aged 20, Blacksmith, died from internal sprains alleged to have received while lifting a large metal pipe in June 1889.

Buried Sacriston St Peter's churchyard; William Robinson Cuthbert; Nettlesworth Pit; 20 years; 24/12/1890.

Dawson, Thomas, 10 April 1863, aged 28, Hewer, killed by a fall of stone.

Buried CLS Churchyard; Nettlesworth; 12/04/1863.

Dawson, William, 09 February 1887, aged 13, Driver, fall of stone at end of broken jud, deceased left his work at the flat and went inbye where he had no business.

Burial details not found.

Dickinson, Hugh, 15 November 1864, aged 30, Hewer, killed by a tub falling down shaft upon him

Buried CLS Churchyard; Nettlesworth; 18/11/1864.

Dooley, P, 16 February 1891, aged 62, Screenman, died erysipelas in the leg caused by an old poisoned wound alleged to have been caused at his work; not a colliery accident.

Burial details not found.

Hall, Thomas, 03 September 1861, aged 23, killed by a fall of stone.

Buried CLS Churchyard; Nettlesworth; 04/09/1861.

Johnson, Robert, 09 May 1889, aged 13, Driver, died from natural causes while driving a horse along the main rolleyway; this boy was very unhealthy.

Buried Sacriston St Peter's Churchyard; Staffordshire Row; 13/05/1889.


McKenna, Edward, 16 Jun 1891, 3:45 p.m.  , 6th hour of shift, aged 40, deputy, killed by a large fall of stone while drawing out a broken jud.

Burial details not found.

Proctor, John, 28 May 1879, aged 17, Onsetter, while descending shaft he appears to have put his head out of the cage to look for the landing, and was caught between the cage hoop and timber and killed.

Buried Sacriston St Peter's Churchyard; Nettlesworth; 31/05/1879.

Swinbank, Richard, 28 Jan 1858, Stone Worker, killed by a fall of stone.

Buried CLS Churchyard; Nettlesworth; 35 years; 31/01/1858.

Current Use:

Nothing remains of Nettlesworth colliery which closed in the early 1890s and the site was opencasted in 1949-52 and again in 1988-92. When opencast mining came to an end almost a third of the site was converted to heath and woodland, becoming the Daisy Hill Nature Reserve which abuts the southern edge of Waldridge Fell which is part of Waldridge Fell Country Park.


Note: Explosives Store Competency Certificate for W.S. Coe from 1973.

Note: Fan Attendant Competency Certificate for W.S. Coe from 1973.

Note: Authorisation Certificate for W.S. Coe to Operate Electrical Switchgear.


Remains of Nettlesworth Old Colliery in 1955 near Edmondsley:

Photograph of Front Street, Nettlesworth C1900.

Railways servicing Pits:

The Nettlesworth Waggonway was linked to the Sacriston Waggonway by a complicated junction at Edmondsley crossroads.

The coal from the Charlaw and Sacriston Collieries was first transported by rail in 1839. A powerful steam engine was eventually built at Bankhead, Daisy Hill. This engine hauled the coal and coke wagons up the incline from Sacriston sidings, and then lowered them down to Bankfoot, Waldridge. The wagons were then transported by railway to Stella Gill sidings via Pelton Fell and the Pontop and Shields main lines. From Witton Colliery this was a distance of 4.5 miles.

Edmondsley and Nettlesworth collieries were also served by this network. In 1893 this system transported 45,573 chaldrons of coal from Edmondsley colliery and 88,461 from Sacriston Colliery.

Steam locomotives served the various surface works. The railway had a branch line which ran to the coal depot near Charlaw Terrace. From here, the coal was delivered to the employees by horse and cart, which was later replaced by lorries.


No photographs of the banner exist, but note the description below from Norman Emery’s book on the “Banners of the Durham Coalfield”:

The 1873 Gala Banner showed a checkweighman saying to a young miner, “Wait a little longer and I will free you”. Adjoining this scene was a depiction of a master and miner, with a girl appealing to the master “not to take all from our fathers; give him a fair share of that he laboured hard for”. Near the girl was a boy facing a bishop, whose mitre was engraved ‘£16,000 a year’, with the appeal, “It is you that rob us of our bread, Beware our Saviour is on the other side”. The Bishop pointed to the master saying “Leave something more for me”. These scenes were accompanied by the mottoes, “The days of serfdom are fast drying out’. The reverse side showed Christ turning the tradesmen out of the temple: “My house shall be called a house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves”.