Wet Earth Colliery is the site of some innovative methods employed by James Brindley to drain the ground allowing the seams of coal to be exploited at depth. In 1750-52 he built a weir at Ringley, and drove a level from the north side of the weir pond to a spot near Giants Seat. From here he led the water through an inverted syphon to the south side of the Irwell and then channelled the water to the colliery. In a deep wheel pit adjacent to the shaft the water powered a water wheel which operated the pumps. The water was then led through a tailrace tunnel to the river.
Bibliography: Wet Earth Colliery: The Hidden Treasure of Salford (1993), notes by Mark D. Wright provided to Subterranea Britannica field weekend, 1994.
Site today (LeeW 2011)
The site of the former Wet Earth Colliery and associated mining features is situated within Clifton Country Park. Within the park are a number of visible (some excavated) mining and mining related features which include:
Wheel Chamber: Built in 1750 by James Brindley to house a 7m diameter waterwheel to dewater the mine.
'Gal Pit': Gin pit sunk 1740s by John Heathcote adjacent to the wheel chamber.
'Flecthers Folly': An ornate chimney to serve the steam engine built in 1805.
Penstock Arch: Built in 1752 to get water to the waterwheel, widened in 1790, probably for canal boats to reach the pit area to load coal on to.
Fan house: Remains of the fan house and the fan built by Walker Bros in 1889.
Loco Shed: Remains of a low brick wall and gutter in the floor with possible small cabin area
Cottage: Later used as a farm building, however likely to be originally a miners cottage, built c1800
Gas House: There are some part buried remains of the gas house and surrounding features
Day Eye Engine House: There are some remains of either the Day Eye Engine House and or washery adjacent the Penstock Arch
Travelling Crane: Remains include part of the steam operated travelling crane adjacent the canal branch
Dock: Part of the dock are is visible adjacent the canal and nearby is an excavated? feature
Pumping shaft / boilers: Remains of the boiler house and associated engine(s) and pumping engine and capped shaft
Managers House: Some brick foundations and stone blocks adjacent the Winding / DC shaft which is capped and fenced with two vent pipes and fan drift? Adjacent are the remains of an engine base -possibly winding engine
Shafts: There are a number of capped shafts, some with shaft markers, these are generally on the adit systems
Adits: There are three adits - see documents, which are securely gated, at least one has remains of tramrails and rock cut steps with pickmarks visible on the adit walls