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Mine Exploration Forum

Author Colliery name query
Thoresby

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Colliery name query
Posted: 08/02/2016 14:37:28
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Hi everyone.
Several collieries had the word 'Main' as part of their official name (e.g. Markham Main, Barnsley Main, Measham Main) but others didn't.
Some ex-miners I've spoken to say this was because the colliery was in the main seam (e.g. the Barnsley seam), but others say that it would have referred to the fact that it was the most important mine in the area. Neither of those answers seems likely because nearby collieries weren't called Main even though they were sunk into the same seam, and some of those without Main in their title were bigger and more important than those that did! Does anyone know the definitive reason?
Many thanks.
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davetidza

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Colliery name query
Posted: 08/02/2016 15:03:26
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I would suggest marketing hype.

Earlier, there were collieries all over the place with the name 'Wallsend' in them, including one in Chesterfield. Wallsend coal fetched the highest price in the London marker!
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legendrider

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Colliery name query
Posted: 08/02/2016 15:54:01
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It was originally the Main coal seam which was referenced, but soon 'Main' became synonymous with 'very important colliery' - the word 'colliery' becoming effectively redundant (eg Percy Main, Markham Main...).

as Davetidza wryly points out, marketing probably played as much a part in this as common parlance, and the coal companies likely did nothing to disabuse the coal-buying public of this notion!

MARK

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festina lente IP: 81.156.183.58
Graigfawr

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Colliery name query
Posted: 08/02/2016 21:13:50
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The name 'Main' cropped up a few times in the south Wales coalfield but it was nothing like as frequent as in some English coalfields.

The name 'Merthyr' was always a good marketing-ploy name in south Wales however, with numerous collieries working a wide diversity of seams, spanning all conceivable types of coal incorporating 'Merthyr' into their names.

Such was the international reach of 'Ocean' coal from south Wales that the name was even used abroad - e.g. Natal Ocean Coal Company in South Africa.

Such ploys go right back to the 1820s when the export trade was taking off in the Swansea-Neath-Llanelli area, with seams being renamed with slight variant names of seams that sold well, in order to generate sales.
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Ty Gwyn

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Colliery name query
Posted: 08/02/2016 21:31:58
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Off the top of my head i can only think of 2 South Wales Collieries using Main in the name,namely Skewen and Bryncoch,both worked the Graigola seam as their main producer.

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Graigfawr

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Colliery name query
Posted: 08/02/2016 22:35:58
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Yes, 'Main' was a rare colliery name element in south Wales: I can think of only two others: Dinas Main and Dyffryn Main. In comparison almost every valley seemed to have a colliery with 'Merthyr' in its name.

I've just remembered the 'Natal Rhondda Colliery' in South Africa - another international use of a famous name.

A couple of Gwendraeth Valley anthracite collieries had 'Wheal' in their names - maybe they were targeting potential West County investors?
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LeeW

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Colliery name query
Posted: 09/02/2016 00:01:56
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Searching the database on here pulls up a few Mains
http://www.aditnow.co.uk/Database/?minename=main&soundex=False&country=232&zone=0&type=0&mineral=0&initial=&content=False&order=AZ&records=50&page=1


You also get a lot of popular seams giving part of names to collieries, such as Silkstone is used a lot in Yorkshire. Although some may reflect colliery companies?
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Alasdair Neill

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Colliery name query
Posted: 09/02/2016 09:27:46
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A few "Main" colliery references taken from the Newspaper index-
Park End Main (Forest of Dean)
In South Wales:
Main Colliery,Neath
Cribbur Main
In North Wales:
Buckley Main
Llay Main
Wynell's Main (1753 - perhaps one of the earliest examples)
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Ty Gwyn

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Colliery name query
Posted: 09/02/2016 10:03:11
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Graigfawr wrote:



A couple of Gwendraeth Valley anthracite collieries had 'Wheal' in their names - maybe they were targeting potential West County investors?


That`s a new one on me,can you point out which ones?
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Graigfawr

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Colliery name query
Posted: 09/02/2016 23:06:37
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Wheal Gwendraeth Valley Collieries Co Ltd existed from 1881 to 1888 and owned Wheal Gwendraeth Colliery which, if I recall correctly was between Glyn Abbey and Pontyates, either at Cwmbach or Pump Quart, probably the former from memory.

I seem to recall a second instance of the use of 'Wheal' in an anthracite colliery's name in Carmarthenshire but cannot now find it, I'm afraid.
IP: 188.221.168.230 Edited: 09/02/2016 23:08:43 by Graigfawr
Ty Gwyn

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Colliery name query
Posted: 10/02/2016 21:01:20
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Thank`s Robert,interesting. IP: 86.131.104.63
Alasdair Neill

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Colliery name query
Posted: 11/02/2016 09:24:22
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a few further Welsh examples
Dinas Main
Dynevor Main
Llantwit Main
Rhondda Main
Welsh Main

North Wales
Coed Talon Main
Dublin Main
Mancot Main
Leeswood Main
Dublin Main seems interesting _ I assume it was developed with an intention to export coal to Dublin??
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Thoresby

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Colliery name query
Posted: 14/02/2016 09:40:04
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Many thanks to everyone who has replied. This is most interesting, especially to find that there were far more Main collieries in Wales than I had realised.
The marketing ploy suggestion is an intriguing one but seems a little 'unofficial'. It would be wonderful to find out if there was a more specific or scientific reason for the use of this word.
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davetidza

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Colliery name query
Posted: 14/02/2016 11:36:29
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The marketing ploy suggestion is an intriguing one but seems a little 'unofficial'.

Marketing was paramount. What a great many 'mining enthusiasts' fail to understand is that whilst miners may have carried out prodigious feats to produce coal and other minerals - they would have been wasting their time if they could not sell the product at a profit.

For most of the 'industrial' period of coal mining, production exceeded consumption (and I say most carefully!), and any scheme to increase the sale of one's own coal was actively taken. Most major collieries, for example, attempted to have access to the railway lines of two different companies so that they could play one against another to cut transport costs and to have security for the transport of their produce. Marketing and product placement were a major tool in the coal companies armoury. The Cardiff Coal Exchange is an example of the length coal owners went to to sell their coal.

http://new.archaeologyuk.org/Content/downloads/2700_SAVE%20Cardiff%20Coal%20Exchange.pdf

Dave Williams
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staffordshirechina

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Colliery name query
Posted: 14/02/2016 16:52:42
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I would agree with Dave.
Many years ago I remember seeing a whole set of advertising postcards for Clay Cross company's coal. They branded the coal "CXC Gold Medal Coal" and had various postcard photos of miners "winning their daily bread" etc, etc. One shot had a Clay Cross miner who had won the VC in the First war, sitting with his old workmates + a lump of CXC Gold Medal Coal in the centre where a football would be in a team photo.
They took advertising seriously.
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Simon M

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Colliery name query
Posted: 15/02/2016 19:29:53
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It could also be that it was when a lot of smaller and shallower collieries were in close proximity they would open up a larger and deeper colliery which was the "Main" colliery. Many areas had a number of small collieries owned by individuals or small co-operatives and were bought out by larger coal owners who linked them to the main colliery which would wind the coal out and send supplies in through their larger shafts. They could then work a smaller satellite collieries coal in current seams and those lower seams not worked. IP: 90.205.141.132
Aditaddict

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Colliery name query
Posted: 17/02/2016 08:44:54
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When I saw the thread, my immediate thoughts were similar to the last post , that other collieries in the coalfield would be linked to the "Main colliery" for safety reasons & speed of extraction of the coal to the surface IP: 82.22.118.3
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