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Technical | Steam-plant  >  Coal Supply

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Before the 1950s modernisation, the boilers were hand fired although experimental use of mechanical stokers had been tried in the 1800s. At collieries, coal was often discharged from the side-doors of railway wagons directly onto the floor of the boiler-house from where it was shoveled into the boiler fire-grates. This kind of arrangement can be seen in the photograph below.

Hand-fired Lancashire boilers (Pinxton colliery)

The early boiler-houses were fully enclosed, however, and it’s difficult to see how they could have been supplied in this way. There are passageways and structures below bank level at the North pit top and it is possible that coal was brought into the boilers in tubs via this route. The ash may also have been removed in this way.  

East boilers c1890 -m

Early boiler house enclosure, circa 1888

When the south-east boilers were renewed as part of the South pit upgrade in 1900, they were no  longer enclosed and a short siding had been constructed to serve them.  

SE boilers coal delivery post 1900 -m

SE boiler coal feed circa 1900

SE boilers 1916 -s02

SE boiler and coal feed siding layout circa 1916

In 1922 the main boiler ranges were consolidated onto the east side. The coaling arrangement for the configuration is unclear although there is a possibility that a short tunnel down to the boiler-house was constructed from the North pit-top to allow coal tubs to be delivered and ash tubs to be removed.

As part of  the 1950s modernisation,  mechanical stokers were installed together with a covered coal bunker. Coal was discharged from side-door railway wagons onto a short feeder conveyor.   By the 1970s, the coal was being delivered in 21 ton bottom-emptying railway wagons.  One can be seen in the unloading bay on the right in the photograph below. The coal was discharged through a grating into a hopper below and delivered onto the  conveyor by a vibrating feeder. 

East boiler-house coal and ash bunkers, circa1985

In this photo taken in 1977 the large duct rising from the flue boost-fan to the East chimney can be seen behind the notice boards  (FoPP/JST).  

In the photograph below, the feed conveyor can be seen entering the coal bunker at a high level. Inside the bunker were individual compartments for each boiler and coal levels were maintained by a scraper chain running along their tops.     Coal was delivered from the bunker automatically to the feed hopper of the mechanical stoker which fed the coal onto a moving grate at a rate determined by the stoker.

East boiler-house coal and ash bunkers, circa1985

East boiler-house coal bunker feed conveyor, circa 1985 (FoPP/JST)

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