Sutton Manor Profile


Sutton Manor Colliery was located in the village of Sutton Manor, on the southern fringe of St. Helens and is near to Widnes, Warrington and Liverpool.

The sinking of No.1 shaft, 18 feet diameter, started in May 1906, and was completed by December 1909, to a depth of 1,823 feet to just below the Wigan series of seams.

The No.2 shaft was begun in July 1906, and was sunk at 22 feet in diameter. The Wigan series of seams was reached by December 1910. Sinking was resumed in April 1912, and the shaft was then deepened at 18 feet in diameter to a total depth of 2,343 feet to just below the Arley seam.

An underground staple shaft, 13 feet in diameter, between Nos. 1 and 2 shaft levels was completed in 1912.

A third shaft was started in 1914, but as a result of World War 1, sinking was suspended at a depth of 180 feet below the surface. This shaft was subsequently filled in.

The Colliery was re-organised in the period 1952-57, during which time No.1 shaft was deepened 683 feet to provide downcast ventilation to the lower level and eliminate the staple shaft. During the same period, No.2 shaft was deepened 183 feet to permit installation of new shaft winding equipment.

In the Spring of 1968 there was a re-organisation when coal production ceased in No.1 pit and all work was concentrated in the more economic faces in No.2 pit. The scheme meant a reduction of about 1400 men in the labour force. No.1 shaft was still used for essential ventilation and winding operations.

In April 1973, a £200,000 development scheme was announced to open up further reserves in the Barrows Green area of the colliery in the Wigan Four Feet, Higher Florida and Trencherbone seams. The scheme involved the driving of two 1,150-yard underground roadways through a major geological fault, together with associated improvements to underground manriding, conveying and control systems, and was expected to extend the life of the colliery.

Production was obtained from two faces in the Higher Florida and Wigan Four Feet seams and the coal then marketed locally to power stations, general industry and the domestic market. Methane gas was piped from the coalface and used in the steam generating plant on the surface.

The Colliery also sold surplus methane gas to the ICI Pilkington Sullivan works at Widnes. Between five and seven million therms of methane, equivalent to over three million gallons of oil, is supplied, via a five-mile long pipeline linking Sutton Manor with the ICI works. Cooling, distribution and pumping facilities were sited at the colliery, and filtration and metering equipment at the customers’ works. The scheme, costing £3 million, took 15 months to complete, and was officially “switched on” on July 14th, 1983. 

Methane from the ‘Manor’ provided approximately 50 per cent of the fuel requirement of  ICI Widnes works, which produced speciality chemicals.

In March 1985 the proposed £17.5m Stage II Scheme received Board approval and work was immediately commenced on major project installations.

Sutton Manor Colliery finally closed in 1991.


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