The Local Coalfield History - South Derbyshire Mining Preservation Group

The Local Coalfield History

The Leicestershire Derbyshire coalfield is derived into two distinct areas split by a major geographical problem called the Boothorpe fault.

The areas are called the Eastern Basin which is mainly in Leicestershire and the Western Basin which is mainly in Derbyshire.

The earliest documentary evidence for mining in the area dates back to the 13th century, Swadlincote being established as a coal working area by then. In the early days most of the mining would have been done by surface outcrops or shallow pits. It wasn't until the late 1700s with the onset of steam power and the start of the industrial revolution that mines got progressively deeper. The coal in this area occurs in various seams, of which the lowest seam which was commercially mined was the Kilburn seam at a depth of between 800 and 1000 feet. Other coal is known to exist below this level but not in any quantities which would have been considered workable. Several of the local mines were extended to the Kilburn seam later in their working life.

All of the local collieries in the area were nationalised after the Second World War to become part of the National Coal Board, later it's name was changed to British Coal.

All the collieries, like the potteries, pipeyards and brickworks have now all gone, the last working colliery in the area was Donisthorpe, and this closed in 1990. Some of the colliery sites were open casted but now these, along with all the clay pits, have mostly been filled in with little trace remaining that any of these industries existed.