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Chatterley Whitfield: weigh house (22) and weigh plates

A Grade II Listed Building in Baddeley, Milton and Norton, City of Stoke-on-Trent

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.0767 / 53°4'36"N

Longitude: -2.1765 / 2°10'35"W

OS Eastings: 388270

OS Northings: 353286

OS Grid: SJ882532

Mapcode National: GBR 13K.2K3

Mapcode Global: WHBCF.JXSQ

Entry Name: Chatterley Whitfield: weigh house (22) and weigh plates

Listing Date: 1 April 2014

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1416092

Location: Stoke-on-Trent, ST6

County: City of Stoke-on-Trent

Electoral Ward/Division: Baddeley, Milton and Norton

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Traditional County: Staffordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Staffordshire

Church of England Parish: Norton-le-Moors St Bartholmew

Church of England Diocese: Lichfield

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Summary

Former colliery weigh bridge (22) of the mid-C20, refurbished in 2007.

Description

Former colliery weigh bridge (22) of the mid-C20, refurbished in 2007.

MATERIALS: built of brick in a stretcher bond under a hipped slate roof to the south-east half, with a flat felt roof to the rest of the building. The metal-framed doors and casement windows are early-C21 copies of the originals. The weigh plates are cast iron.

PLAN: rectangular on plan and constructed in two phases, the earliest half being that to the south-east. The weigh plates are situated on the north-east and south-west sides of the building.

EXTERIOR: a single-storey structure with a dentil cornice supporting guttering to three sides of the south-east half of the building. The front (north-east) elevation has an off-centre entrance with a metal-framed and glazed door. The entrance is flanked by a continuous band of windows that have concrete lintels and cills. The lintels to the north-west section are slightly chamfered, while the windows to left of the entrance have projecting concrete mullions. The left return has a blocked doorway with a window to the right. The rear elevation has a matching arrangement of entrance, and windows to the entrance front. The north-west elevation has a central two-light casement which is flanked by a continuation of the windows to both side elevations. The cast-iron weigh plates are marked 'POOLEY' and '1945' and the measuring equipment is housed in a void below each plate.

INTERIOR: the floor is tiled and the window sills are also finished with red ceramic tiles. One of the two weigh machines, manufactured by Pooleys of Birmingham, survives, while the position of the second machine is marked by a concrete base in the floor. The south-western end of the building is divided into two small rooms containing a small kitchen, and a lavatory and store respectively. Most of the interior finishes and doors are of early-C21 date.

History

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 another new shaft was dug, the Hesketh Shaft constructed 1914-1917. This was designed to serve the much deeper coal seams below those worked by the other shafts. 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.

Following the nationalisation of the coal industry in 1947 there was further investment, most notably the introduction of mine cars and locomotive haulage in 1952, which included the construction of a surface mine car circuit to allow the circulation of tubs from the pithead to the washery and back again. The weigh house (22) was erected in two phases between circa 1947 and circa 1950. It stands on the west side of the site, alongside the main access road and entrance gate into the former colliery. The building housed machinery used to ascertain the weight of coal leaving the colliery by road and appears to have been altered in line with changing levels of production on the site over time since one of the weigh machines was removed at some stage.

From the 1960s production at Chatterley Whitfield 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 weigh house was refurbished in the early C21 and is now (2013) used as a reception and security office.

Reasons for Listing

The mid-C20 weigh bridge at Chatterley Whitfield Colliery is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural interest: a simple but interesting survival dating from the colliery's peak period of production which retains its weigh plates and one of its weighing machines;
* Historic interest: part of a group of significant structures which represent essential components of one of the country's best surviving collieries;
* Group value: it has a spatial and visual relationship with other listed buildings and a scheduled monument.

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