Western (Fan) Pit

Western Pit was situated in the Butterley Park Estate on a hill just above Swanwick Junction.

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Fig.1 This Map from 1881 shows Western Pit and the rail network linking it with the other pits in the area. You can also see the firng range, which was used by the Butterley Volunteer's 

Western Pit was sunk in 1852-55 by the Butterley Company, to the Deep Soft Coal at 162 yards deep, the Deep Hard Coal at 188 yards deep, the Low Main Coal at 246 yards deep and the Black Shale Coal at 288 yards deep.


Fig.2 The Western Fan Headstock and Engine House photographed in the late 1960s before the area around the pit was landscaped for the Midland Railway centre .
Displayed Courtesy of
the Reg Baker Collection,

My grand father told me this was the upcast shaft and it acted as a ventilation shaft for the nearby Britain pit, which is probably how it earned the name of Western Fan.  
A drainiage sump with pumps was also situated at the Low Main level of 350 yrds deep.
These pumps remained working until closure of the Ripley Colliery in 1959.


Fig.3 The Western Fan Pit 2010. This is the only pit in the local area that has survived demolition thanks to it being situated in the Midland Railway Center Country Park.

Photograph by Jon Howard



Mr. Whiston, Coroner, held an inquest on Friday afternoon at the Rising Sun Inn, Greenhillocks Ripley, in the occupation of Mr Joseph Hall, respecting the death of John Murrey, who was killed on Wednesday, at the Great Western Pit Butterley Park, Ripley, the property of the Butterley Company.
Deceased was employed with two others in a stall; one was missed by the runner-on on the day named at the bottom of the shaft after the work of the day was over, and when he was expected to ascend as usual.

A person was sent for him, and he was found lying on his face in his stall with a quantity of bind and stone upon him. Assistance was speedily obtained, and the debris as soon as possible removed, when he was found to be dead.
His two fellow workmen had just left the stall.
The jury returned a verdict of "accidental killed." Deceased was twenty-seven years of age, a native of Ireland and unmarried.

Information for this page was obtained from the following sources.

The Coal Mining History Resource Centre, Picks Publishing & Ian Winstanley

A History of Mining in the Heanor Area, Heanor & District Local History Society publication 1993

The Sheffield & Rotherham Independent 16th June 1882


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