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Old 10-04-2011, 01:04 PM
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Default Bilton Banks & Old Shilbottle Colliery

I've split these posts off from the Lime Kiln thread to create a stand alone thread on Bilton Banks and Old Shilbottle Colliery (Longdyke or Longdike)
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Old 19-01-2012, 10:23 AM
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Default Bilton banks

Looking on google earth yesterday I was a bit perplexed in looking for Bilton banks.There was (back in the 50s)a row of miners houses and just before the houses an old mine shaft that had a wall around it but you could of course climb up and throw stones down,I dont think it was so deep as you could hear water flowing in the depths!Perhaps the houses were knocked down ?
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Old 19-01-2012, 02:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brownknees View Post
Looking on google earth yesterday I was a bit perplexed in looking for Bilton banks.There was (back in the 50s)a row of miners houses and just before the houses an old mine shaft that had a wall around it but you could of course climb up and throw stones down,I dont think it was so deep as you could hear water flowing in the depths!Perhaps the houses were knocked down ?

Bilton Banks was demolished, only one detached house left, ex managers house I believe. Wonder if the shaft you remember was Longdyke Colliery? (Old Shilbottle Colliery), it was on the bend in the road immediately to the north of Bilton Banks.





http://binged.it/AwsIic


Link above, triangle of trees is the site of Longdyke Colliery
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Old 19-01-2012, 07:38 PM
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You got me thinking if there was a connection underground between the Old Shilbottle Colliery (Longdyke) and the 'new' (Grange Pit) - don't think so from my sketch of the workings.

Anyway, inspired, I've spent hours making the map below of the workings in the Shilbottle seam superimposed on a copyright expired OS map. (I can't use a more recent one so some of the newer roads are missing on here)

Hope you like it

I've marked the position of Longdyke shafts on there, but the whole thing is just a sketch, not a detailed plot, but accurate enough I hope.

the red lines are faults.

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Old 19-01-2012, 07:49 PM
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It was a Shilbottle and Whittle miner's tale that they would eventually go for the coal out under the sea. Don't know how feasible that was in reality, but from the map above they got quite close, a kilometre off the beach at Birling.
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Old 20-01-2012, 01:44 AM
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Default old shaft

Yes that would be the one!Has it been filled in?My dad first worked at Hauxley pit and had to walk out to the seam under the sea!!Not a job for the faint hearted!Then he started at Shilbottle about 1949 and we moved up from Amble to a new house(Lee avenue).Great place as a child then,absolute freedom !Roam wherever you wanted and only go home when hungry!!
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Old 21-01-2012, 01:04 AM
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Yes that would be the one! Has it been filled in?
I would think almost certainly, although sometimes they fit a concrete cap on top.

It's not a place I've done much walking. How far from the road would you guess the shaft was? (I know its a long time ago!)


Whittle Drift is still open:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg whittle_drift.jpg (116.9 KB, 35 views)
File Type: jpg whittle_drift2.jpg (77.9 KB, 32 views)
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Old 22-01-2012, 12:27 AM
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Default shaft

Well,as I recall it was almost next to the road before the road went right and there were the old houses.There was a stone buily cap about 9 feet high with a metal grid across ,width I would guess about 10 feet.
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Old 22-01-2012, 01:39 PM
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Default Longdyke/ Grange connection.

No connection between the two as there was a fault to the South of Longdyke which limited their scope in that direction. I have documents, obtained from the records office, to say that by1920 the workings were 2.5 miles downhill from the shaft. This meant it needed too many personnel to handle the coal from the face to the shaft, 360 hands were employed of which only 112 were hewers.
At that time the colliery was 40 years old and reserves were limited that is why the Grange pit came into existance.
I worked at both Hauxley and Shilbottle collieries between 1958 and 1972 and have researched both therefore have considerable knowledge in this direction.
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Old 23-01-2012, 09:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan J. View Post
No connection between the two as there was a fault to the South of Longdyke which limited their scope in that direction. I have documents, obtained from the records office, to say that by1920 the workings were 2.5 miles downhill from the shaft. This meant it needed too many personnel to handle the coal from the face to the shaft, 360 hands were employed of which only 112 were hewers.
At that time the colliery was 40 years old and reserves were limited that is why the Grange pit came into existance.
I worked at both Hauxley and Shilbottle collieries between 1958 and 1972 and have researched both therefore have considerable knowledge in this direction.

Well if you ever publish your research in book/booklet form I'll stick some adverts on here and the other site, every little helps!

I did work at the combined Whittle/Shilbottle, (after your time at Shilbottle). I walked a few times from Whittle Drift to Shilbottle shafts, quite a hike. One curious thing that sticks in my mind from the Shilbottle shaft bottom area was the old disused compressed air light fittings. Thought they were a clever idea.


I also seem to recall someone showing me some timber supports with a black carbonised surface, allegedly from the explosion in 1940, was that possible or is my memory failing and imagination taking over?
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Old 25-01-2012, 12:16 PM
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Default Undersea coal

With reference to the mention of the udersea coal, in 1979 a drilling ship spent the whole summer out in the bay, a bit further out than Coquet Island. It covered the area from the island North to Boulmer point. A document was produced taking this survey into account and it was concluded that all the big Ellington seams were on and there was an estimated 250 million tons of coal available with a possibility of recovering at least 70 million tons.
This is what Ellington was obviously trying to get but the line of transport would have been tremendous to get men, materials and produce to and fro.
At the time Shilbottle shafts were still available and it would have been an easier option to drive from there into the middle of the bay from where they could go North, South and East. That coal is there but obviously the powers that be didn't want it at the time, who knows what the future may bring??
Ironically Hauxley was within touching distance of these riches.
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Old 25-01-2012, 10:10 PM
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This substantiates the rumours of vast reserves out in the bay that I have often heard over the years.
Without getting too political here(!) I would have thought there was an excellent opportunity for the previous gov. to have reversed the closures of the eighties and opened a new clean, modern mine at Hauxley.It would certainly have boosted the economics of the area, however, as we are not in a labour constituency, amongst other things, it was never going to be a priority.

The decline in industry in this area is frightening, far worse than in the seventies. The industrial estate appears to be dying a slow death, remember Ultimate, then Pheonix, Tac Display co, Jus-Rol, Border Laird, Holywell engineering, the Pioneer cement depot and many more that are just not being replaced by new enterprises. Very sad, Amble needs a boost, lets hope it comes soon!
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Old 28-01-2012, 01:33 AM
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The coal is there, it's just waiting on us. It takes our politicians about 25 years to realize we've been on the wrong track, so expect Amble Colliery to appear about 2037 !
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Old 02-02-2012, 03:36 PM
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Site of Longdyke Colliery; big pile of rubble in there which might be demolished old colliery buildings or just rubble brought on to the site. I didn't go in for a closer look - "Keep Out" sign.


In its heyday there was an endess rope haulage and track for tubs of coal from here all the way to Alnwick. Would like to see a photo of that.

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Old 02-02-2012, 03:40 PM
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Site of Bilton Banks - a terraced row, parallel to the hedge (which is on the line of the road) ran down to the house at the bottom





this next one shows the steepness of the 'bank' better, with Alnwick in the distance:

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Old 02-02-2012, 03:42 PM
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The lone survivor, the Longdyke Colliery Manager's House. Now a private residence.


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Old 02-02-2012, 03:49 PM
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and....the 'bog standard' view of Alnmouth today as I headed back to the coast






....past the Statue of Liberty at Wooden



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Old 03-02-2012, 10:59 AM
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Map from the 20s, small arrows are where I was standing for the colliery site photo and bilton banks site photo above.

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Old 03-02-2012, 11:08 AM
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This Colliery closed in 1924; by then the new Grange Colliery had become the centre of operations.
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Old 03-02-2012, 05:41 PM
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The colliery surface appears on the map to have a stream running through the centre of it, and it is even shown as being culverted under the slag heap. Must have been handy for pumping the waste water from the mine into.
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