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Chatterley Whitfield: Hesketh Heapstead (6) and Mine Car Circuit (24), City of Stoke-on-Trent

Description: Chatterley Whitfield: Hesketh Heapstead (6) and Mine Car Circuit (24)

Grade: II*
Date Listed: 1 April 2014
Building ID: 1416090

OS Grid Reference: SJ8841353170
OS Grid Coordinates: 388455, 353216
Latitude/Longitude: 53.0760, -2.1738

Locality: City of Stoke-on-Trent
County: City of Stoke-on-Trent
Postcode: ST6 8BG

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Listing Text


Heapstead (6) of 1915-17 by Norton-Harty Engineering which was altered in the mid-C20, and a tub hall (24) of circa 1952 for the National Coal Board.

Reason for Listing

The Hesketh heapstead and tub hall, of 1915-17 and c.1952 respectively, are listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:

* Rarity: although the tub hall appears to be of a standard 1950s design, it represents a very rare survival nationally of such surface arrangements for the large scale, mechanised, handling of materials;
* Historic interest: these structures are of more than special interest for their contribution to understanding coal processing and the function of Chatterley Whitfield Colliery during the C20;
* Design interest: their monumental scale is fundamental to the appearance of the site and its role as a landmark;
* Group value: it forms an integral component of a group of well-preserved and statutorily designated colliery buildings and structures.


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 The 1910s saw significant investment including the construction of the new Winstanley shaft in 1913-15, which superseded the adjacent Engine Pit and served the workings of the Middle Pit.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 site. It was the last shaft to be sunk at the colliery and was designed to serve the much deeper coal seams below those worked by the other shafts. It was used both for drawing coal and for carrying men, and its winding house (7) was situated just to the north of the shaft. The heapstead (the structures around a mine shaft) which also dates from 1915-17 was further developed during the 1920s and 1930s as the exploitation of coal through the shaft increased, and it was also updated in the early 1950s.

Attached to the south end of the heapstead is a mine car circuit (also known as the tub hall or decking plant) that is L-shaped on plan. It was erected as part of a major reconstruction of the colliery by National Coal Board circa 1952. At this time a general reorganisation of the mine car capacity above and below ground was instigated and high-capacity mine cars (large wagons) were also introduced. The mid-C20 tub (small wagons) hall appears to have replaced a pre-existing high-level tubway that probably formed part of the original design of the Hesketh heapstead. The new tub hall included tipplers and creeper railways, and a combination of gravity and mechanical power was used to transport the mine cars to and from a screening and washing plant. This was situated above the east end of the railway sidings and was where coal was graded before being transferred directly into the rail wagons below. The screens and washery have since been demolished.

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. The upper derrick of the headstock of the Hesketh shaft was removed in the 1970s and the shaft was capped in 1978. In 2013 part of the lower concrete floor at the north end of the heapstead collapsed. Since the closure of the colliery, much of the high-level conveyor system which carried dirt and waste material from the tub hall to the spoil tip to the south of the colliery has been removed as a safety precaution.


Heapstead (6) of 1915-17 by Norton-Harty Engineering which was altered in the mid-C20, and a tub hall (24) of circa 1952 for the National Coal Board.

MATERIALS: steel framed with infill panels of brick; the headstock is also steel. The roof to the heapstead is clad in metal sheeting, though sections are missing. The tub hall has a corrugated asbestos roof covering with patent glazed ridge (now removed) to the main hall and other double-depth parts and flat reinforced concrete slab roofs to the other sections. There are a number of roof ventilators.

PLAN: the building has an L-shaped plan comprising the heapstead at the northern end of the structure and the attached 1950s tub hall beyond.

EXTERIOR: the Hesketh heapstead is an elevated structure with a lower floor that is open throughout and has free-standing exposed stanchions and three upper storeys. The elevations all have an exposed steel frame which supports single-skin panels of brick, generally with continuous steel-framed windows to the upper floors. The main legs of the headstock, which are enveloped by the north end of the heapstead, are lattice box sections which are braced and tied by horizontal and inclined lattice members. To the upper part of the structure are steel-sheet metal plates. The 1950s tub hall is also elevated and is linked to the heapstead at first-floor level. Its northern section crosses the area of the former sidings and may incorporate remnants of the original early-C20 high-level tubway since the lattice girders which are visible to the lower part of the east elevation of both the tub hall and also the heapstead may be part of this earlier phase and are shown in situ in a photograph of the construction of the tub hall in circa 1952. The elevations of the tub hall all have an exposed steel frame which supports panels of brick, and metal-framed windows, though most of the glazing is missing. The ground floor is generally open with free-standing exposed stanchions, although part of the central section is fully enclosed in brick. At the south-west end of the building are the surviving remains of the elevated conveyor system which carried dirt and waste material from the tub hall to the spoil tip.

INTERIOR: not inspected (2013). The heapstead incorporates a complex arrangement of reinforced concrete platforms and ramps, partly supported or hung from the steel frame. The double-deck cage and its metal framework survive at the base of the headstock and there are narrow-gauge rails s to either side of the shaft. The tub hall includes the remains of an old blacksmith's shop to the ground floor, and has a reinforced concrete floor to the upper storey. There are two separate upper-level tub runs within the main hall, accommodating five tracks, and the return run has a single track. The building contained tippler and creeper railways which retain their rails. The roof has steel trusses and steel, portal-frame rafters.

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.