Memories of local mining

The naming of local mines is an interesting topic. A colliery may have had more than one name; often, although a mine had an official name, it was commonly known by a local name within mining families and communities. The names were acquired for historic or local reasons. It was the custom of the time to name pits after contemporary events. Coleorton's Number 1 mine was known as California Pit because it opened at the time of the Californian gold rush. Coleorton's Number 2 mine was known by other names ..

  • Windmill probably because of its situation near one of the local mills that existed in the area at the time, near to where Hough Mill stands today
  • Alabama because in 1864 the US Navy sank the CSS Alabama off the coast of France.

Coleorton's Number 3 mine was also known by three names. One of these, the Bug & Wink, might have originated as a result of the colliery management being cunning in their skill of humbug and hoodwinking when negotiating wages with the miners! Rev. Eager, in his book about Coleorton, wrote that in the old days the pit was known as "The Bread & Herring" so badly were the miners paid. Tom Brooks worked as a collier, as did his father and he recalled that it was also called Checklands Colliery as all the wagons had this name on them. G. Checkland & Co. already operated a mine in Donisthorpe and developed the one in Coleorton in 1875.

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