A Brief History

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Silverwood Colliery was situated between the Villages of Thrybergh and Ravenfield.

Towards the end of the last century, when coal-mining was already a long-established industry in Yorkshire, the shallow seams in the western sector of the county-the easiest for the early miners to work by their primitive methods-showed signs of becoming exhausted. So the private coal-owners of the time cast their eyes towards the huge, but much deeper, reserves of rich coal in the southern centre of the county. Two of the shafts sunk to tap these valuable reserves of
the country's 'home grown 'fuel were at Thrybergh, three miles from Rotherham ... and the colliery which was to grow into the Silverwood giant was born. The shafts went down to the
Barnsley seam, which was to become for many years the mainstay of Yorkshire mining.

Silverwood Colliery - Early days

 But even Barnsley seam, as vast as it was, couldn't last for ever. It served Silverwood faithfully for well over 50 years, but the near-end of its life coincided with a sudden change in coal's markets. For these two reasons, Silverwood —after a brief spell in Meltonfield seam to help the change-over-went still deeper into Swallow Wood seam-coal whose top-class coking qualities are ideal to meet the growing demand for steel-making. 'Royal' Silverwood, gaining its proud title from two visits by reigning Monarchy, is now reaping the harvest of the massive investment, especially in opening up Swallow Wood, over the years. Further planned development will maintain Silverwood's place among the mil lion-ton-a-year collieries, making it one of the big-hitters of the Yorkshire coalfield. By keeping up-to-date with the latest mining techniques-on the surface as well as underground-Silverwood will continue to provide employment for about 1,500 men, and make a valuable contribution to the prosperity of the local community. Already more than 70 years old, Silverwood has at least another half-century of good quality reserves to work. And in that time, the colliery will play a leading part in the industry's plans to make coal the largest and most efficient producer of energy in Britain.


Dalton Main Collieries Ltd. started shaft-sinking at Thrybergh in 1 900, The Barnsley seam was reached at 741 yards, and the first coal came out of the new pit in-1905.

Silverwood Colliery 1912 - a Royal Visit by George V

Coal-getting at that time was the hard slog of shovel and muscle. The coal was hacked from the face by pick, and shovelled into 1cwt tubs for tramming to the pit bottom, horses providing the motive power for the trains of tubs, The colliery remained in the hands of the Dalton company until nationalisation in 1 947.


General Images of Silverwood  Colliery at stages in its development        

Trolley Loco's underground late 1950' -1980's


/Bradfrord Breaker Under Construction  late 1950'


Coal face - Ranging Drum Shearer


Dosco Road Header



Collery Manager Mr P. Lawrence ponders over plans

/A view of the Colliery stocj yard




The six-feet thick Swallow Wood seam gave Silverwood the chance of setting new standards of production and productivity, especially as it allowed electrically-driven machinery to be used underground for the first time at the colliery—the previous coal-cutting machines were driven by compressed air. Silverwood accepted the challenge. The first 250-yard long face in the new seam was carefully planned and designed by a joint team from colliery and Area headquarters. It had two shearers, and coal-getting was earmarked for only one of the three shifts in each 24-hour cycle -the two non-coaling shifts were set aside for thorough maintenance of the machinery and the necessary preparation work to enable non-stop operations oh the coal-getting shift.

Location of the colliery relative to the Area HQ The face teams were trained in the correct use of machinery quite new to them. and teach-ins were held to show how each faceworker's job dove-tailed into the intricate pattern of coal-getting operations. The foresight paid big dividends. Month after month, Silverwood's first Swallowood   producing 7,000 saleable tons each week—one face on its own had an output more than some small pits. The four faces now being worked have huge ranging drum shearers which can travel along the face at about 20 feet a minute as they bite deep into the rich coal, which drops onto a face conveyor at the start of its journey to the east shaft... and bunkers are built-in the system to provide temporary storage in case of hold-ups further along the route. The face machines and the conveyors are shielded from the roof by the canopies of hydraulically-operated supports which move forward under their own power as soon as the machine has passed. A solid canopy of steel, they give safe protection for the face-workers.

Demolition at Silverwood Colliery 1994 General View


General View of Silverwood Co;;iery at the time of demolition

Please note these Photo's are copyright Jonathan Dabs courtesy of John Doxeys Silverwood Site.


The colliery finally closed in 1994 and had survived 94 years and had been a large employer of local labour. The colliery had many highs and lows in its remarkable history and some milestones are listed below:



1900 shaft-sinking began.

1905 coal-winning from the Barnsley seam.

1912 visit from King George V.

1929 record yearly tonnage of 1,322,501.

1 953 £3m re-construction scheme, including

development of Meltonfield seam.

1965 development of Swallowood seam and

modifications to coal prep. plant.

1969 Meltonfield seam abandoned.

1 972 further modifications to coal prep. plant costing

more than £1m. Barnsley seam closed.

 1 975 visit from Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.HRH the Queen  visiting S10's face at Silverwood Colliery in July 1975

1 975—76 rapid-loading bunker installed.





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