See caption
Former offices and lamproom are now a public house
Wikimedia Commons

Great Boys Colliery in TyldesleyFormer industrial town in the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan, in Greater Manchester. was a coal mine operating on the Manchester CoalfieldPart of the Lancashire Coalfield. Some easily accessible seams were worked on a small scale from the Middle Ages, and extensively from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution until the last quarter of the 20th century. in the second half of the 19th century in Lancashire, England. It was sunk on Great Boys Farm, which in 1778, was described as a “messuage with eight Cheshire acresHistorical measure of area that was used in the 19th century. of land” on the north side of Sale Lane.[1] It was owned by William Atkin in 1854,[2] and sold in 1855 to John Fletcher of Bolton and Samuel Scowcroft. By 1869 their partnership was dissolved and the pit was owned by John Fletcher and Sons in 1877.[3] The offices and lamproom for the pit occupied the building that is now the Colliers Arms public house, on Sale Lane.[4]

The colliery exploited the Middle Coal Measures of the Manchester Coalfield which were laid down in the Carboniferous period and where coal is mined from more than a dozen coal seams between the Crumbouke and Arley mines.[a]In this part of Lancashire a coal seam is referred to as a mine and the coal mine as a colliery or pit. The seams generally dip towards the south and west and are affected by small faults. The Upper Coal Measures are not worked in this part of the coalfield.[5] The colliery accessed the Brassey mine (coal seam) at about 170 yards (155 m) and the Six Foot mine at 182 yards (166 m).[6] The deeper coal seams subsequently were accessed by New Lester CollieryColliery on the Manchester Coalfield opened after 1872 by James and William Roscoe in Tyldesley, Lancashire, England. .[1]

Shafts were sunk for another pit on Pear Tree Farm to the east on the corner of Mort Lane and Sale Lane which appear in the 1867 Mines Lists and became part of Great Boys. Fletcher and Scowcroft were granted permission to construct a mineral railway to join the London and North Western Railway’s Tyldesley LooplineRailway line built in 1864 to connect local collieries to the Liverpool–Manchester main line. in 1868 but there is no evidence that it was ever built. The colliery closed before 1885.[3]


On 6 March 1877 eight men died in an explosion of firedampDamps is a collective name given to all gases other than air found in coal mines in Great Britain. The chief pollutants are carbon dioxide and methane, known as blackdamp and firedamp respectively. at the colliery about 240 yards (219 m) from the pit eye. The explosion was not heard on the surface but the underlooker, Gerrard Johnson knew immediately and with several volunteers, went down the pit, where they found the smoke and afterdamp so bad that they could go no further. A hundred men and boys who were in the pit at the time were wound to the surface, all having suffered burns in the disaster.Mining disasters in Lancashire in which five or more people were killed occurred most frequently in the 1850s, 1860s and 1870s. [6]


a In this part of Lancashire a coal seam is referred to as a mine and the coal mine as a colliery or pit.