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Ramsden’s Shakerley Collieries was a coal mining company operating from the mid-19th century in Shakerley, Tyldesley on the Manchester Coalfield in Lancashire, England. The company owned two pits, the older, Messhing Trees was renamed Wellington Pit and Shakerley Colliery was renamed the Nelson Pit.


Coal had been dug in Shakerley since the 15th century, when a dispute over “seacole” was recorded in 1429.[1] Coal was used in the smithies of the nailers who plied their trade in Shakerley. A pit was sunk between Higher Oak and Common Fold in Shakerley in 1798. John Hope of Chaddock Hall left it to his son, John and his son-in-law, Thomas Smith. In 1836 Jacob Fletcher of Peel Hall Little Hulton bought the Shakerley estates and acquired “514 acres of land, and the valuable mines of coal and stone lying under the same; the estates abounded with thriving young timber; the mines of coal were inexhaustible, of excellent quality, and being in a manufacturing district found a ready sale”.[2]


Wellington Pit, originally named Messhing Trees, was started by William Ramsden.[3] It accessed the Trencherbone mine at 360 yards and was ventilated by furnace. Coal to make gas and household coal was produced in 1896 from the Arley, Hell Hole, Trencherbone and Yard mines.

Shakerley Colliery, which was renamed the Nelson Pit, was sunk in the 1830s or 1840s on land leased from Ellis Fletcher. It was worked by Nathan Eckersley and in 1861 passed to his nephew William Ramsden who owned Messhing Trees. Nelson Pit relied on road transport and a cobblestone toll road was built linking it to the Bolton to Leigh turnpike road near Green Hall in Atherton to the north of Shakerley.[4] Shakerley Lane remained a toll road until 1949 but is now a bridleway.

In 1869 when Ramsden was sinking a shaft at the Nelson Pit he got into financial difficulties and disappeared after setting out to go the bank at Bolton. Ramsden’s wife was left behind to keep the collieries working and pay wages. She approached George Green of Yew Tree Colliery for help. Ramsden returned some weeks later arriving at one of his collieries having walked from Liverpool after returning from Ireland.[5]

Ramsden’s Collieries joined Manchester Collieries ´╗┐Manchester Collieries was a coal mining company with headquarters in Walkden, Lancashire that was formed in 1929 by the merger of a group of independent companies operating on the Manchester Coalfield. in 1935. The Wellington Pit was abandoned in the same year and the Nelson Pit closed in 1938.[6]


Disasters Mining disasters in Lancashire in which five or more people were killed occurred most frequently in the 1850s, 1860s and 1870s. at the Shakerley Pits included the death of six men when the cage rope broke at the Nelson Pit on 2 October 1883.[7] On 1 October 1895 five men including the colliery manager and undermanager died at the Wellington Pit after an explosion of firedamp possibly caused by a safety lamp.[8]


After the London and North Western Railway built the Tyldesley Loopline in 1864, Ramsden built a railway to join the mainline at Ramsden’s Sidings east of the Tyldesley Coal CompanyTyldesley Coal Company was formed in 1870 in Tyldesley,[1] on the Manchester Coalfield in the historic county of Lancashire, England. ‘s Green’s Sidings. In 1874 a 0-4-0 saddle tank locomotive “Shakerley” was bought from Manning Wardle and in 1887 “Edith” a 0-6-0 tank engine was bought from Hunslets. “Shakerley” was sold in 1901 and replaced by a new locomotive from Hunslets, identical to “Edith” which was also named “Shakerley”.[6]