South Medomsley Colliery

Between Annfield Plain and Dipton, South Medomsley Colliery opened in 1861 and produced coal until it was closed in July 1980.

During it’s working life, the colliery had the following owners:

  • 1860s – Muschamp, Bainbridge & Co.
  • 1880s – Owners of South Medmosley Colliey.
  • 1890s – South Medomsley Colliery Co. Ltd.
  • 1947 – National Coal Board (N.C.B.)

Employing 173 men in 1896 to a peak of 508 in 1914, 305 men were employed in 1961.

Whellan’s 1894 Directory of County Durham describes the colliery as follows:

In 1864 the South Medomsley Coal Company sunk a shaft known as the Annie pit, and in 1867 a second shaft, called the Mary, was sunk, and are now working the Hutton seam, 46 fathoms deep, and 6 feet 6 inches in thickness ; the Low Hutton, 48½ fathoms, 2 feet 2 inches ; the Main Coal, 54 fathoms, 4 feet 7 inches ; the Harvey, 75½ fathoms, 2 feet ; the Busty, 91 fathoms, with 3 feet of top coal, 2 feet 8 inches of sagger clay, and 2 feet 10 inches of bottom coal ; the Three Quarter, 3 feet, with 8 inches of stone band running through it ; and the Brockwell, 104 fathoms, 2 feet 2 inches. The Five Quarter and Brass Thill are worked out. The coal are drawn from the Main Coal and Busty seams to the Mary pit, and the Hutton seams are worked through a drift in the valley about a mile north of the shaft. The clay from the Busty is made into fire-brick on the spot. There are 217 coke ovens, 53 of which are only in operation at present. The weekly output is about 1700 tons, giving employment to 211 men and boys. In 1893 an ancient wooden spade was found in the old workings of the Hutton seam.

South Medomsley Colliery in 1947. The branch that connected the Colliery to the Consett Line at South Medomsley Junction heads off to the bottom left. Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

Further information on the colliery and it’s history can be found on the Durham Mining Museum website.