Miners at Neston Colliery
Blood, Sweat and Toil in Neston
A new exhibition tells the remarkable story of a feud between two neighbouring coal mines in Wirral.
‘Blood, Sweat and Toil in Neston’ marks the 250th anniversary of the opening of the first coal mine in the town in 1759.
Ness Colliery was the first site to open and employed almost 200 people. When a second mine opened shortly afterwards in neighbouring Little Neston fierce competition broke out between the two.
The hostility led to cases of extreme sabotage including explosion and flooding.
Coal Wagons at the Neston mine
The exhibition, which runs at Neston library from 27 April to 23 May 2009, sees the story unfold in a series of letters of correspondence between the two colliery owners.
Also on show are colliery plans, accident record books and listings of the thousands of miners who worked at the site.
Both mines closed by 1855 after the silting of the Dee Estuary made it difficult to move coal in bulk.
A new railway saw Neston Colliery reopen in 1874 and the business went through several hands, peaking in 1921 employing 350 people as Wirral Colliery before closing permanently in 1927.
Evidence of the mines can still be seen on the local landscape and a free ‘Collieries Trail’ guide following a two mile route around Little Neston is available at the exhibition.
The trail highlights key buildings, a shipping quay, spoil heaps and the line of the mine’s railway.
Local historian Anthony Annakin-Smith of the Burton and Neston History Society said:
“Many people are not aware that there is a long history of coal mining in Neston. The mines and associated industries played a major role in the life of the town for decades and many local families today are descended from the early miners.
“There are many reasons why the Neston mines were remarkable. The first steam engine anywhere in the region was here, and mile-long canals were built deep underground to move coal.
“We want to increase public awareness of the extraordinary story of the mines."
The exhibition runs from 27 April 2009 to 23 May 2009 at Neston Library, Parkgate Road, Neston, Wirral.
For more details contact the library on 0151 336 5486 or visit the Neston Library website.
last updated: 20/04/2009 at 17:07