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All the boilers at Pleasley were fire-tube shell types. At Teversal colliery a few years earlier, externally fired egg-ended boilers had been installed but at Pleasley it was decided to install Cornish and Lancashire boilers. (Cornish boilers are single tube equivalents of  Lancashires). Itís not certain why two different types were installed especially as the former were less efficient. It could be that the Cornish boilers were adequate for the demands of the screens and the South-pit winder which, in the early days, was not used for coal-winding, whilst the coal winding demands of the North winder would have been met by the Lancashire boilers. The Cornish ones  would later be replaced by Lancashire boilers.

finger04

see inside a hand-fired Lancashire boiler

By 1892 there were four sets of main boilers, running at 50 psi., located on either side of the chimneys on each side of both engine-houses and feeding the winders, the screen engines and the workshop engines. In addition, there were another four running at 50 psi, located near to the ventilation fans, feeding the fan and the dynamo engines.

The Cornish boilers were 40 ft long but the Lancashire ones were only 30 ft. A sketch plan made by the colliery manager showing  the North engine-house and boilers in 1901 indicates that the boilers were arranged perpendicular to the engine-houses and that the Cornish boilers were located on the west side.

North engine-house boiler layout circa 1901 (JST)

1901 plan #1 -s
SE boilers 1916 -s

South-east boiler layout circa 1916   (JST)

In 1900, the coal winding facilities at the South pit were upgraded and a more powerful winder was installed. The 4 Lancashire boilers in the south-east range were replaced by 5 new ones.  This time they were aligned parallel with the engine-house and were flued into the side of the chimney. The coal supply was tipped from sided-door wagons on a short tightly curved railway siding.

SE boilers post 1900 -m

The 5 dish-ended Lancashire boilers installed in 1900 as part of the South pit upgrade.   (FoPP/JST)

These new boilers were the recently introduced Thompson dish-ended types. They were raised above the boiler-house floor with the fire-doors at about head height and firing must have been quite tricky.  They were insulated by layers of bricks and flued on the Hyde - Bennett principle whereby the hot flue gases were allowed to circulate between the covering brickwork and the top of the boiler. The boiler-house itself was not enclosed when the photo was taken - some time between 1900 and 1905 - although the corbal stones which suported the original roof timbers can be seen on the engine-house wall level with the boiler tops

The engines supplied by these boilers were said to operate at 100 psi and they were protected by dead-weight safety-valves carrying ten plates. The pressure-gauge reading on the nearest boiler which is venting steam from the safety-valve, although somewhat indistinct,, seems to be reading at about the 10 oclock position, suggesting that the guages could read up to 300 psi.

They do not seem to have been fitted with low-water safety valves which is rather surprising. The water-level sight glasses were not protected by glass casing either - this only became mandatory in 1911.

The feed water was supplied along insulated pipes and the steam main was also well insulated although the flanges were unprotected. There was no superheating of the steam.  The boilers were hand fired and the ash disposal arrangements are not obvious.

boilers 1976 2 -m

Main 1922 boiler range circa 1976.   (FoPP/JST)

In 1921/22, a new boiler-house was constructed on the east side of the South engine-house and 9 new Lancashire boilers were installed. Three existing boilers in the North engine-house east-side boiler house were retained, giving a consolidated range of twelve.  Twin Unit superheaters were fitted at the rear of each flue tube giving a superheat of 90 deg F. The boilers were hand fired but itís not clear what the coal delivery and ash removal arrangements were.

Some of the dish-ended boilers installed in 1900 were transferred to Teversal and Silverhill collieries and some to the Stanton ironworks itself.  Other, older boilers, were converted into exhaust-steam accumulators for the turbines, the remainder being removed altogether.  A few years later, the fan-engine boilers were also removed and transferred to Silverhill colliery.

This boiler arrangement lasted until the colliery was closed. The ash removal underwent several modifications in later years and the firing arrangements were upgraded to mechanical stoking from overhead bunkers in the 1950s upgrade.

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29 Nov, 2011

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