COAL MINING  

 

Rainford lies on the western edge of the Wigan Coalfield and it was inevitable that sooner or later these rich coal seams would be exploited. The earliest recorded evidence so far discovered indicates that coal was being extracted from fields on the north side of Bushey Lane in 1696. These small, shallow workings continued throughout the 18th century in an area now bisected by the Liverpool to Wigan railway line but it was not until the 1840's that mining began on a commercial scale when William Harding sunk pits on the north side of the railway and at the site of the old Bushey Lane School. 

This later became known as Rainford Coal Company and when these workings were exhausted in 1860 they sunk four new shafts to a depth of 600 feet further west at Sidings Lane. This became Rainford's largest colliery and after being bought by Bromilow, Foster & Co. in 1903 it continued until 1928 when it was finally abandoned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Siding Lane Colliery

At about the same time that Harding opened his pits, the firm of A. F.& D. Mackay & Co. were sinking pits for their Victoria Colliery in the fields on the south side of the railway near the top of Junction Road. In 1850 the Mackay's built a row of colliers houses on News Lane, commonly known as "Mackies Terrace". By 1884 this company had opened new workings on the south side of Old Lane were now stands "Parklands", but these, and the earlier pits, were all abandoned by 1893. 

The above two collieries were the major employers of mine workers, employing approximately 450 inhabitants of the village in 1881, but throughout the late 19th and early 20th century several other smaller mines operated at various places such as Crank, Kings Moss, Ferny Knoll, Mill Lane, Hill Top, Berringtons Lane & Mill House Farm. 

The last coal to be extracted from the Rainford seams came from the Avenue Colliery workings at a depth of 360 feet. Now covered by the houses of Cartwright Close & Brookside Avenue this small "day high" mine operated from 1929 until 1952.

The Avenue Colliery  

        Coal pickers during the strike

                                                        

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