Former colliery winding house (7) of 1915 which was extended between 1925 and 1937, and also in the mid-C20. Minor late-C20 alterations.
Reason for Listing
The Hesketh winding & power house, constructed 1915 and extended twice in the mid-C20, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: it is a classically-styled building which also possesses an impressive internal spatial quality;
* Intactness: despite the loss of the associated boiler house, it is well-preserved;
* Historic machinery: it retains the original Worsley Mesnes steam-winding engine of 1914 and a winding cable drum of 1923 which are in a good condition;
* Historic interest: as a building that it strongly representative of one of the key aspects of the coal industry and for the interesting adaptation of its basement for stabling;
* Group value: it forms part of a group of exceptionally-important colliery buildings and structures dating from the industry's period of peak production.
The coal seams in the Chatterley Whitfield area may have been worked from the medieval period but large-scale extraction began in the C19, particularly following the opening of the Biddulph Valley Railway line in the 1860s and the formation of Chatterley Whitfield Collieries Ltd in 1891. By the early C20 the mine workings were focussed around four shafts – known as the Engine Pit, Middle Pit, Institute Pit and Platt Pit. The 1910s saw significant investment including the construction of the new Winstanley shaft in 1913-15, which superseded the adjacent Engine Pit and served the workings of the Middle Pit. Soon after, in 1915-17, the Hesketh shaft was sunk in the south-eastern part of the colliery to serve the much deeper coal seams below those worked by the other shafts. The winding house (7) to the Hesketh shaft was constructed on the north side of the shaft in 1915. It contained a Worsley Mesnes steam-winding engine of 1914 and a winding cable drum of 1923 which replaced the original parallel drum. The engine could raise four mine cars (1.5 tonnes of coal in each) in a double-deck cage, fifty times each hour. After 1925 a five-bay power house was added to the north side of the building to produce electricity and compressed air; the latter was used extensively to drive machinery such as coalcutters, conveyors, drills and haulage engines. This was extended by a further three bays prior to 1962. To the east was a boiler house containing five Lancashire boilers which produced steam for the winding engine as well as for a variety of other uses around the colliery. The boilers originally had automatic coal stokers and elevators, though these were abandoned and they were subsequently hand fired. The boiler house and its chimney were demolished prior to 1962, and their cooling ponds have largely been infilled. In the second half of the C20 the steam-driven winder was superseded by an electric winder installed in its own building (demolished c 1976) in front of the Hesketh winding house.
By 1928, the colliery employed 4,402 men including 249 boys under 16. Following a contraction in production during the labour unrest of the 1920s and the Depression of the 1930s, there was renewed investment in the site including the mechanisation of underground haulage and the construction of new office accommodation and a pithead baths complex. In 1937 the colliery became the first to extract over one million tonnes of coal in a year. From the 1960s production at the site fell and in the 1970s it was decided to work the remaining coal from Wolstanton Colliery. Production ceased in 1976-77 but the site was opened as a museum two years later. This ensured the survival of the buildings, but the museum closed due to financial difficulties in 1993.
Former colliery winding and power house (7) of 1915 which was extended between 1925 and 1937, and also in the mid-C20. Minor late-C20 alterations.
MATERIALS: constructed of brick under a roof of asbestos cement sheeting with brick and concrete parapets to the gables. The windows throughout have round-arched metal frames, are set within brick rectangular panels with stepped brick surrounds. A number have been blocked in recent years.
PLAN: a two-storey building that is rectangular on plan. It comprises three sections, from south to north: a winding house of eight bays which has a higher roofline than the rest of the building; a five-bay power house; and a three-bay extension. The boiler house and chimney to the east have been demolished.
EXTERIOR: the north gable end is divided into three bays by pilasters, and each is in turn divided into three rectangular panels of which the uppermost in blind. The central bay has a blocked entrance to the ground floor and a large round-arched window above. The outer bays each have a window to the ground and first floors; those to the ground floor are blocked. At the corners are circular metal ladders to access the roof. The west elevation is also divided into regularly-spaced bays by pilasters and each contains panels to the ground and first floors for windows and doorways, and a narrower blind panel and plat band above. The windows to the three sections of the building are set at slightly different levels, and those to the winding house have rectangular surrounds of moulded brick with spandrels to the upper corners. Several of the ground-floor panels are blind, and there is a large round-arched entrance and a projecting mid-C20 flat-roofed structure towards the left-hand end. Along the entire length of this elevation are series of metal brackets which are fixed to the brickwork and probably originally carried pipes. The east elevation has a similar arrangement of openings set within rectangular panels, and it also has projecting metal brackets above the first-floor windows. The south gable wall has the same arrangement of bays and pilasters as the north gable, but is surmounted by a pediment with an oculus. To the ground floor are a tall central round-headed entrance and a pedestrian doorway to the left. A plaque above the entrance carries the inscription: HESKETH PIT / 19 CW 15. To the right is a small blocked circular opening within a surround of header bricks. To the first floor, the outer bays are tall windows, while the central panel has a small rectangular window and openings for the steel rope used for lifting the cage in the Hesketh shaft; the cables remain in situ. Between the two floors is a row of metal brackets.
INTERIOR: not inspected (2013). The load-bearing brickwork supports reinforced concrete floors of differing heights, and the roof throughout consists of lightweight steel roof trusses. Within the winding house the window surrounds and lowers parts of the walls are faced with glazed bricks, and the floor is tiled. It contains a twin cylinder horizontal steam engine which is supported at first-floor level by two massive concrete longitudinal piers encased in brickwork, and a bi-conical cable drum with a calliper-type braking system operated by steam cylinders. The basement was used for machinery and rope storage, and also stabling for the pit ponies. It has a central spine corridor that extends along the entire length of the winding house, continuing below the cable drum hall at the south end. To either side of the corridor are brick arches which span the line of the building between brick piers and many of the archways used as stabling retain wooden stable doors. The first floor of the power house is slightly lower to that in the winding house and is accessed via a steel staircase. There are glazed bricks to the walls and the floor is laid with quarry tiles. Its basement is of similar construction to the one in the winding house, with brick arches spanning between the piers, but here they are aligned in the opposite direction. The northern extension has a complex arrangement of reinforced concrete piers, steel columns and beams which support the first floor, and there are a number of access voids to the floor above which are sealed with steel plates. Historic plant and machinery survive within the power house including a DC generator, compressors by Belliss & Moorcom Ltd, Birmingham, an Alley & MacLellan compressor and a Walkers reciprocating compressor engine. The latter was brought from Sutton Manor Colliery and installed here in the late C20 after the mining museum was established.
SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: against the east elevation of the winding house are four re-sited boilers that rest on brick plinths. These were re-used for storing exhaust steam which produced a supply of lower pressure steam well-suited for generating electricity. There are also a number of brick and concrete bases, probably relating to historic plant, attached to the external face of the winding and power house. To the west elevation of the building is a Galloway boiler that was also used as a steam accumulator.
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.