Around 1700 poor quality coal was found, close by the surface, just over the River Don from Mexborough and this, in time, led to the sinking of two shafts, in 1863, for Denaby Main Colliery Company, owned by Messrs Pope and Pearson. The Barnsley bed was reached in September 1867 at a depth of more than 422 yards. In 1893 the company also opened out Cadeby Main Colliery.
Around the time the miners were reaching the Barnsley bed the colliery company began building housing to accommodate its workers and their families. A church, schools and a store were also company owned. The company pub, The Denaby Main Hotel, (locally known as "The Drum") is one of the few properties from that era still standing. However It is now (2008)a Balti restaurant.