The Drifters

Right, I thought, let’s do it. Following the recent attention to the Anglesey Wharf and coal screening conveyor, I considered that it must be possible to find the Anglesey Basin drift shaft within the mapping record. Someone will have plotted it… sure to have, I thought…

Well, it wasn’t so easy. The only evidence I can find is on the 1930 second-epoch based 1:2,500 issue. It’s a good find, but not conclusive, but decent enough to go exploring with a GPS. Here’s what I found.

A Google Earth overlay of the map can be downloaded at the link below. This can be used in Google Earth itself, or as a basemap in modern Garmin GPS units – find out how, here.

1938 1:2,500 Anglesey Wharf Overlay – hosted at Box.

As usual, I welcome cat calls, corrections, clarifications, etc…

1938 1:2,500 ordnance survey plot of Anglesey Wharf. This is the only one I can find that explicitly labels the drift shaft – interestingly as ‘Disused’. Click for a larger version.

The logical thing to do was overlay the above map onto Google Earth. Note the line of the line into the shaft – broadly speaking northwest – would take it through the Rugby Club’s pitch, which is where the shaft of Cannock Chase No. 2 Colliery was sunk. Click for a larger version.

Here’s a zoom on the drift shaft detail. I think the ‘portal’ the men were seen sitting on in the image below is upper left of centre. Note that as Dave Fellows says, you can see remnants of the wall in the scrub. Click for a larger version.

Dave Fellows’ great picture of the drift shaft portal in 1921. Unsure of actual source.

This imagery – based on Ordnance Survey Streetview mapping stretched to a five-times amplified version of the landscape contours indicates the reason for the position and type of shaft. From the bank of the Crane Brook valley, there was a very acceptable angle which would already have negated much of the depth of No. 2 Colliery on higher ground in the distance. Click for a larger version.

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6 Responses to The Drifters

  1. Andy Dennis says:

    First rate!

  2. Dave Fellows says:

    Found this snippet from “The history of the Cannock Chase Colliery Company”

    “The first of these improvements came in the form of an inclined ropeway which opened on 16th April 1923. It ran from the main haulage way at the bottom of No.2 pit, which then ceased as a drawing pit, a depth of about 200ft to the suface near the terminus of the Anglesey branch canal., a distance of about one mile.
    It took a party of miners two years to complete, hand hewing and working three shifts a day. The tubs were attached to a continous haulage rope running on surface rollers powered by a 120hp engine.
    The engine house was situated just to the left of the end of the concrete wall which was built by the side of the dift as it surfaced at the canal basin ”

    Interesting that on the 1938 map the drift is mentioned as disused, as No.2 didn’t close till 1940

    Still can’t find any more info on the conveyors, must have been a fair bit of work and expense involved in building and operating them, but they barely rate a mention.

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  4. Andy Dennis says:

    The wall is still partly there and from that the drift can be surmised. I’ll send some pics later.

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