A few weeks ago, I shared here a mining plan of how workings in the Robbins coal seam under Walsall Wood, Clayhanger and Brownhills affected the railway line above it, showing the coal mine excavations in great detail under the village.
After some chopping and changing, I got the plan scanned in high resolution and published it again properly. At the same time, I acquired a second, slightly earlier drawing of the workings in the Six Foot seam by the same colliery, which were above the Robbins Seam.
Both plans cover an identical area and clearly came out of the same drawing office.
There were a number of coal seams that the Walsall Wood Colliery worked, and the interactions between these layers were complex and labyrinthine in nature. When the plan talks about a ‘cross measure drift’, that’s an angled shaft or roadway ramping between excavations in two or more seams. You’ll see some others mentioned.
The whole mine lay in layers like this as if it had been stacked in the strata; and these plans still only represent a fraction of the whole thing. Look out again for the exploratory digs, where miners worked chasing where new measures may lie – that they are small suggests they were not successful.
I’ve created a Google Earth overlay for readers to orient the plan. Because it’s on fabric, it’s only geometrically well aligned at the Walsall Wood end, however it’s good enough at the Clayhanger end to give a reasonable idea.
You can download this overlay to use in Google Earth by clicking the link below – it can also be used as a basemap in Garmin GPS devices. Instructions on the use of this in Google Earth can be found in this post.
Please note that this is an indication only; this plan could be wrong, or metres out. Please don’t use it for anything serious. It’s for information only.
Note the main shafts are again marked, and one is under the building that was constructed as the sluice house for tipping the chemical waste into the mine after it’s closure in 1964.
Think about the fact that these are the workings in just one seam – there were several others – so it goes to illustrate the huge number of voids and their span that existed below our area where the black gold was dug out. Most of this was backfilled with spoil after the mine ceased production; after that, the remainder was filled with industrial waste.
Consider also that this huge area would have been dug either by hand, or fairly minimal mechanisation; by the time Walsall Wood Colliery closed in 1964, it was not modernised and it didn’t employ the modern cutting machinery that other mines did.
This is local history gold – and bear in mind this is only one seam: there would e separate drawings for each one.
Please do comment or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.