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Emma Lister-Kaye

Emma Lister-Kaye (1825–1905) was a colliery owner in Overton near Wakefield in the West Riding of Yorkshire from 1871 until 1905. She inherited the Denby Grange Colliery from her father. One of the pits, Caphouse CollieryCaphouse Colliery was a coal mine in Overton, near Wakefield, West Yorkshire, now the National Coal Mining Museum for England., survived until 1985 and was redeveloped as a mining museum.

Emma Lister-Kaye was the daughter of Sir John Lister Lister-Kaye of Denby Grange and Matilda Arbuthnot. She was the eldest of their six daughters and four sons.[1] She never married and when her father died in 1871 she was his “sole executrix and universal legatee”.[2] She inherited the Denby Grange Colliery and developed it. The surviving steam boiler yard, chimney, stone heapstead, ventilation shaft and steam winding engine house, were all completed for her in 1876 and her initials, ELK 1876 are found above the engine house door.[3] She was the sole proprietor from 1871 until her death in 1905, after which the colliery was managed by her executors until 1921.[2]

“Miss Emma” lived close to the colliery at Overton Lodge. She founded schools near Denby Grange where her family lived, and supported the church and schools in Middlestown. She was described by Percy Greaves who managed the pit as “an aristocrat to her fingertips, and had an excellent brain, which could not be said of [her father] Sir John”.[2][4]



Goodchild, John. Caphouse Colliery and the Denby Grange Collieries. Wakefield Historical  Publications, 1983.
HE. “Sir John Lister Lister-Kaye (1801-1871).” Huddersfield Exposed,
Historic England. “Caphouse Colliery  (765996).” PastScape,
O’Donovan, Anita. “Gentleman Jack: Not the Only Lister in Town.” National Coal Mining Museum,