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Derivation of the 'Main' suffix in the mining industry.

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Does anyone know where the ‘Main’ suffix is derived from (e.g. Maltby Main, Manvers Main, Houghton Main) as used by many former South Yorkshire collieries? 

 

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I think it means the pit is sunk on the Main coal seam.

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I suspect that ts the 'main' shaft. Pits often had more than one shaft to reach the coal seams underneath. Some for extracting the coal and muck and some for ventilation.

Birley pit near Frecheville had A and B shafts I think.

Someone with mining experience would maybe know.

regards

Ayfer

 

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I've always understood that it refers to pits sunk to exploit the "Barnsley Main" seam of coal, which appeared at different depths according to the location of the pit. The seams generally sloping further down as you move east over the coalfield. Apparently the seam is about 1000 metres deep under Lincoln and is found as far north at Selby, North Yorkshire. I had the opportunity, years ago, to go down Harworth Pit, North Notts, where the Barnsley seam is about 850 metres deep. I went right down into the coal collection hopper by the deepest of the two shafts at around 1000 metres. The heat is amazing especially taking into acount the several megawatts of refrigeration that was in use.

All gone now, the shafts were capped and a modern housing estate covers the site.

 

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