[Home] [Location] [Technical] [Geological]


Technical | Shafts | Details   >  Guides

Section under development

North pit shaft guides

When the North shaft was sunk it was fitted up with wooden guides for the cages. Working three shifts of eight hours for seven days a week this took three months to complete and cost £1,722 (1877 prices) excluding the cost of fixing the wall-boxes which carried the oak cross-stays. Initially, Oregon pine was tried for the guide rails but  it was found to be unsatisfactory and was replaced by pitch-pine. 


  • type                  wooden rails
  • number       4 per cage (2 each side) 
  • material     Oregon-pine then pitch-pine 
  • size         4.75in x 4.25in
  • cross-stays (byatts/buntons)
    • number       1 central, 2 outer
    • material     oak   
    • size
      • central   9in x 8in x 16.5ft
      • outer     9in x 6in x 14ft
    • seperation   10ft
    • fixing      
      • a) brackets cast on tubbing
      • b) cast-iron boxes in shaft wall


  • type                  bull nose rails
  • number       2 per cage on outside 
  • material     steel 
  • size         ??
  • length       36ft
  • cross-stays (byatts/buntons)
    • number       1 each side of shaft
    • material     ? double steel channel  
    • size
      • outer     ? 9in x 6in x 14ft
    • seperation   ? 10ft
    • fixing      
      • a) brackets cast on tubbing
      • b) cast-iron boxes in shaft brickwork

South pit shaft guides

In 1888 the South shaft was upgraded to allow coal winding. Twin-deck cages with two 1in diameter guide ropes on each side were installed. When the new headstock was installed and the South shaft infrastructure  upgraded  in 1900 the guide ropes were re-arranged to give three 1½in diameter guide ropes on the outside of  each cage and two 2in diameter rubbing ropes between the cages, each of which were fitted with oak rubbing boards.   Due to the wetness of the shaft the lifetime of the ropes was only about 5 years rather than the 12 - 15 years normally obtained in a dry shaft.  

The ropes were suspended from the headframe by clamping to short stub ropes or bars.  It had been found that most guide rope fatigue occurred near to the suspension points and so the ropes were shortened  at regular intervals by pulling a few feet up through the suspension clamps. The excess rope was left dangling until the rope itself was renewed.

At the top of the shaft, the cages engaged with short wooden receiver guides  which positioned it in line with the tub-rails.  A fragment of  one of these guides is still in place in the South headframe.

pre 1919 guide ropes -s
South pit guiderail -s

Guide rope suspension system on the South pit headstock. 1900 - 1920  (FoPP/JST)

Remains of a wooden cage decking -guide  in the South pit headstock. 1900 - 19?? 

When the South shaft was deepened in 1922 the distance was considered too great for guide ropes and these were replaced with steel rails fastened to  buntons across the center of the shaft.  The buntons consisted of a pair of steel channel irons mounted horizontally back-to-back and were inserted into holes made in the shaft brickwork. What was done in the section which had the tubbing is uncertain, but would probably involve support brackets bolted to the tubbing itself. Long steel plates were bolted to the sides of the buntons and the rails were secured to these by steel clamping bars.

 The cages were attached to the guide rails by steel slippers at each corner. Unlike the photos below which were taken during salvage operations after closure, the rails and slippers were kept well greased.

SP guide rail 1 -s

 South pit guide-rail attachment  arrangement.  (FoPP/JST)

chair slipper

South pit  guide-rail with cage slipper.  (FoPP/JST)

  • 1879-1888
    • unknown
  • 1888-1900
    • type                  rope
    • number       4 per cage  
    • material     iron
    • size         1½in dia
    • hangers      ??
    • tension      cheese weights in sump
  • 1900-1919
    • type                  rope
    • number    
      • 3 on outer side of cage
      • 2 central rubbing ropes  
    • material     iron ? steel
    • size       
      • 1½in dia cage
      • 2in dia  rubbing
    • hangers      clamped to stub rod?rope
    • tension      cheese weights in sump


  • type               bull nose rails
  • number     2 per cage on inside   
  • material   steel
  • length     36ft
  • size       5in base : 4in x 2in nose
  • cross-stays (byatts/buntons)
    • type         twin channel-iron
    • number       1 central 
    • material     steel   
    • size         2 @ 8in x 4in
    • length     
      • 16ft       brickwork
      • 14.5ft     tubbing
    • weight       approx ½ ton
    • separation   ? 10ft
    • fixing     
      • fixed in wall
      • bracket on tubbing


Mr Allen Hill’s personal records (Shaftsman)


Copyright © 2005 - 2020   J.S. Thatcher

25 Aug, 2020

Page updated on:


11:36:55 AM

In case of problems contact: