1861 - Borings at Wheatley Hill for the proposed new winning. (M.M.)

 At 2 King's Arms Yard, London, on 12 May 1865, the London Steam Collier and Coal Company, Ltd., was formed. On 7th July 1865, the directors agreed to purchase the business of Messrs. Gowland and Walton for £35,000 on condition they obtained permission for the Company to berth a steamer of at least 175 feet long. Later, as directors, Messrs. Gowland and Walton were authorised to purchase Thornley Colliery together with Ludworth and Wheatley Hill Collieries on 2 November 1865 for £105,000. Thornley Colliery had previously been run by the Thornley Coal Company and had been shut down from 1861 to 1865. As the majority of directors were from the London area, and as the colliery and part of the shipping interests were in the north, on 30th April 1866 it was decided to set up a Northern Committee based on Sunderland and reporting to the London Board. The committee was to consist of the local directors with all the colliery managers, viewers, fitters and other officials.


 In April 1868, the company was renamed the Original Hartlepool Collieries Company Ltd. In 1871 they unsuccessfully attempted to sell Ludworth Colliery. In 1875, a serious fire destroyed the surface plant at Thornley Colliery and there was also a problem with a prolonged strike. In 1876, there was an issue of 150,000 mortgage debentures in the hope that works could be completed at the three collieries.


 William Ford of Minchinhampton, Gloucestershire, as a principal mortgagee took possession of Thornley and Wheatley Hill Collieries on 16 July 1881 and Ludworth Colliery three weeks later. He traded as the Thornley Colliery Company. William Ford rarely visited the collieries and not until March 1884 did he realise that the collieries had made a loss since he had taken them over and that the miners had not been paid for some time. He closed the collieries on 4 April 1884. All three collieries were offered for auction on 21 June 1884 and again on 16-18 February 1885. On both occasions no sale was made. One of William Ford's creditors, the Weardale Iron and Coal Company, Ltd., in April 1885, concluded an agreement with Ford's representatives to take over all the property. Thornley Colliery did not re-open until 1888.

 The three collieries later became part of the Weardale Steel, Coal and Coke Company, Ltd., whose headquarters were at Tudhoe Iron works, Spennymoor.



    1865  31st October - Sale of The Thornley & Ludworth Collieries at the Queens Head Hotel, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and its implications on Wheatley Hill.


     1866 21st June - Letter from Clarence Hurcomb concerning payment of arrears of rent on Wheatley Hill Lease and granting of new lease after the death of George Wilkinson. (Mawson's Deposits-5/56)


     1869 - HARTLEPOOL COLLIERY COAL CO. SANK SHAFTS (to Busty Seam - (M.M.))

          Wheatley Hill began to grow when sinking for a coalmine was started in 1830 and houses were built for the miners. There was then a period of delay, and people moved away. The pit shaft was finally sunk in 1869, and people began to come back to the village again. At that time grass was growing in the streets and cows could be seen feeding there.

          There were no roads, as we know them today, only cart tracks and lanes. At the eastern end of the village near Greenhills Farm, there was a Tollgate, where vehicular traffic had to pay a toll, but not pedestrians. As the village continued to grow the local council put a road through from Greenhills Farm up through Patton Street to the other end of the village.http://www.dmm-gallery.org.uk/memorial/1871011901.htm


     1870 - Holed through between Wheatley Hill and Thornley collieries. (M.M.)


     1871 - INRUSH OF WATER KILLED 5 MEN (Memorial in Thornley Cemetery) 


     1871 19th January - Water swept through the pit from the Thornley side and five Wheatley Hill workers were lost. The new Association authorised participation in the subsequent legal proceedings, the first collective action undertaken on their behalf. The coroner's verdict suggested negligence and the head viewer (manager), resident manager and overman were charged with manslaughter but technical difficulties prevented conviction when the case reached the Assizes Court.

          The first collective action of the infant Miner's Association was taken because of an accident at Wheatley Hill in January 1871. An attempt was made to tap water from Thornley, which had resulted in flooding with five lives lost. Mr. W. Crawford represented the workmen at the inquest and at the adjourned inquest at Wingate Grange. The verdict was 'that the deceased were killed on the 19th of January by a burst of water in the Wheatley Hill pit through the gross negligence of W. Spencer, head viewer, W. Hay, resident viewer, and Thomas Watson, overman, and that the said W. Spencer, W. Hay and Thomas Watson did kill and slay the five deceased previously mentioned by neglecting to put in proper bore holes for the safe working of the mine.' Though the accused were released on technical grounds at the Assize trial it was shown that the Association could take action with speed and effect, which had to be regarded as an improvement on purely local attempts. (M.M.)

           Wheatley Hill Lodge (1870-1968). 400 members of lodge in 1872.


     1871 - First collective action by the young Durham Miners Association. This was in relation to the inundation, which happened at Wheatley Hill on Thursday, the 19th of January 1871. The colliery had been in operation about six months; there were thirteen hewers, five putters, and three helpers up, with the necessary deputies and others, at the time it occurred. There were five lives lost, and others had a very narrow escape. There is no need to describe in detail the whole circumstances. It will be sufficient to say that a man named Roberts was in a place, which was being driven in the main coal at Thornley for the purpose of tapping some water, which was lying on the Thornley side in order that it might be run to the other colliery, which lies to the "dip." In addition to those who lost their lives, other two were rescued after being in the mine fifty-four hours.

          The Miners' Association was not slow in taking part in the subsequent proceedings, and at the inquest, which opened on the 25th at the Colliery Office, Wheatley Hill, by Mr. Crofton Maynard (whose able services are still given to inquires into the sad accidents in the Easington Ward), the Association was represented by Mr. W. Crawford. On his application that witnesses should be summoned on behalf of the workmen the Coroner readily consented to an adjournment until Wednesday, the 8th of February. The adjourned inquest was held at Wingate Grange, when Mr. A. Cairns, Secretary, and Mr. W. Crawford, Agent, were present on behalf of the Association, with Mr. Kewney, Solicitor, of North Shields, to watch the proceedings. After a very long and exhaustive inquiry the verdict was "that the deceased were killed on the 19th of January by a burst of water in the Wheatley Hill pit, through the gross negligence of W.Spencer, W.Hay, resident viewer, and Thomas Watson, overman; and that the said W.Spencer, W.Hay, and T.Watson did kill and slay the five deceased previously mentioned by neglecting to put in proper bore holes for the safe working of the mine." On that verdict the Coroner committed the accused for trial at the Assizes on a charge of manslaughter.

          The trial took place at the March Assizes before Baron Martin. The counsel for the Association were Mr. Herschell (afterwards Lord Chancellor) and Mr. J.Edge. The writer of this history was in court, and heard the trial, and the able speech made by Mr. Herschell, whose object was to show that there had been a violation of the Mines Act of 1860, the fifteenth rule of which was to the effect "that bore holes should be kept advance, and if necessary on both sides, on approaching places likely to contain a large quantity of water." The Grand Jury had thrown out the Bill, but the case was still proceeded with. It was clear the judge was against the proceedings after the throwing out of the Bill; and eventually the workmen's counsel withdrew the case, because the judge was of the opinion that Roberts (the hewer in whose place the water broker away) should have known as well as the manager how near the water was to them, and because, on the technical point, it was quite clear how the judge would direct the jury. The accused were therefore acquitted. One little piece of funny puzzling of the judge is very vividly remembered. Roberts was not a native of the county, but was doing his best to train himself in the peculiarities of a dialect which, when spoken by a Durham man, is to a stranger difficult to understand, but more so when it comes from a Welsh tongue. At one part of the proceedings the judge asked Roberts what he was doing when the water broke in. The reply was: "Aw hed getten me jud korved, and the hole marked off, and was gannen back for the drills." With surprise the judge repeated the question, and received the same answer. Perplexed, but not enlightened, a second query was put: "What did you do then?" "Aw run doon the board and up the stenton." Innocently the judge put a supplementary question: "Was it a wide plank you ran along?" thinking the word board meant a piece of timber laid for Roberts to walk on. Upon an explanation being given he confessed that, in the whole of his experience, he had never been so much puzzled before. (History of Durham Miners' Association - John Wilson)



     1872 - 14 Dec (1) George Hope of Southborough, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, Captain (R.N.); Charles Hope of the Admiralty and of Leamington Hastings, Warwick- shire, Esquire; and Revd. Thomas Edmund Franklyn late of Leamington Priors, Warwick now of Tunbridge Wells, Clerk   (2) Augustus Albert Smith of Northwood House, Upper Norwood, Surrey, Esquire Conveyance by (1) to (2) of fee farm rents as specified on the annexed schedule in:  Durham City, Barnard Castle, Staindrop, Whitton, Upleatham, Bishop Auckland, West Auckland, Hilton, Darlington, Great Aycliffe, High Coniscliffe, Heighington,  Haughton, Bolam, Pursebridge, Sellaby, Headlam, Coatham, Wackerfield, Stokesley,  North Pittington, Ellermore Hall, Cockside House, Smithy Garth, Seaholme, Dalton,  East Errington, Mansford, East Burden, Sunderland, Monkwearmouth, Ferry Hill, Wheatley Hill, Cold Hesseltine, Little Eden, Sherbourne, Coundon, Whitworth, Lanchester, Iveston, Burton Plawsworth, Hartlepool, Sedgefield, Gateshead, Pipewell Gate and Church Chair, Hillgate and Oakwellgate [Gateshead] and in Northumberland at Wellington, New Biggin, Heckley Grange, Tynemouth, North Shields and Benwell; at Gunthorpe, Nottinghamshire; the borough of Newcastle under Lyme, Staffordshire; Somerton, Greatham Manor, Saltfleetby Manor, Kirkby Park and Donington Manor, Lincolnshire; Tunstall Leigh, Allerbrook, Grimesbrooke, Crowden, White Morley, and Duffield and Hazelwood Mills, Derbyshire; the borough of Tamworth, Warwickshire; and Saxton Mills, Knottingley Mill, Criddling Park, Fleet Mill, Rothwell Mill,    Killinghall Mill, Hampsthwaite Mill, Oakeback or Knox Mill, a mill and lands at Borough Bridge, Bradford Mill, two mills and lands at Pickering, lands at Goathland, a watermill at Holm-firth and lands in Scalby; Newby, Peaseholme, Newton Dale,  Cloughton and Willock Green, Yorks., in all £640 3s.l½d  Consideration: £9,200



     1872 Mines Regulations Act - that no woman or boy under 10 to be employed. that boys of 10 should not be employed 'unless it be in a seam by reason of the thinness of which such labour shall in the opinion of the Secretary of State be necessary nor in such case for more than 6 days in any one week. that no boy over the age of 12 and under the age of 16 should work more than 54 hours a week or 10 hours a day          that no pay should be made in a public house. that wages should be paid according to the weight of coal. that each manager should be a certified engineer. (M.M.)



          The Patton Street Methodist Chapel was built in 1873 and Schoolrooms were added on in 1914.

          In the early days the Patton Street Methodists often had a "Mission." After the public houses closed at 11p.m. on a Saturday night the members of the chapel would have a midnight meeting. It would commence at Schoolhouse, the chapelgoers would sing their way down to the chapel, taking with them people leaving the public houses at closing time. I the middle of one of these services one night a man got up and cried out "Goodnight Lads the Lords 'gannon hame' now." It turned out that the man's name was John Lord.



     1873 - C OF E CHURCH

          The Parish Church was built in 1873 and the Chancel erected in 1900. The Church was first part of Thornley Parish and was not made a separate Parish Church until 1914. The Church was consecrated on the 28th February 1915. The present Pulpit was dedicated, a new entrance added, and the present Sanctuary built in 1952. An extension to the south aisle was built in 1954, and a new vestry in 1958.

    1873 - Article from The Times

The Times, Wednesday, September 3, 1873 

Fatal Railway Accident

(By Telegraph)

                                                                                                Hartlepool Sept 2

             Today, about half-past 12 o'clock the passenger train from Sunderland was approaching Hartlepool Station at a speed of nearly 20 miles an hour, when, just after passing Trinity Junction, the engine left the rails, dragging after it three third-class carriages and one second-class.

The engine struck the buttress of a massive timber footbridge which crosses the line at this point, hurling it to the ground, and with it two boys named Coward and Gill. One of them sustained a severe concussion of the brain, and the other a fractured skull. The bulk of the bridge fell upon the first carriage, smashing it completely to pieces, and burying its four inmates. A strong body of workmen was soon on the spot, and it was ascertained that Joseph Talbot, tailor, of Thornley, had been frightfully crushed and internally hurt. He was conveyed to the hospital, but expired on the road. Michale Watson, son of a blacksmith at Thornley, had his right leg fearfully injured. No hopes of his recovery are entertained. A woman named Webb, belonging to Wheatley Hill Colliery, was also injured on the head and the legs. She was conveyed to the Bridge Hotel, where she now lies. A fourth occupant of the carriage escaped unhurt, as also did the driver and fireman, George Short and Thomas Murrell. The engine also ran through the wall skirting Millbank crescent, but without serious consequences. Had the accident happened at the dinner hour, when the bridge is usually crowded, the loss of life would have been appalling.



     1874 - NIMMO'S HOTEL


     1874 - Strike - Eviction by Candy men. (M.M.)


     1874 27th April Fellow Workmen, -According to arrangement, Messrs. Patterson, Wilkinson and Crawford, saw Messrs. Burt and Nixon yesterday, and from information received it appears that the 10 per cent. or a reduction from 50 to 40, has to affect ALL, both above and below ground.

          We cannot but call your attention to our present position. The adjoining county, much more compact than ours, and many years older in organisation, -two elements of strength and power, -have just accepted a reduction of wages. Miners, immediately south of us, -West Yorkshire, -have expressed their willingness to accept a reduction of 12 1/2 per cent. on wages all around. This, however, the owners refused to accept. They seek a reduction of 25 per cent. and the matter is, therefore, going to arbitration. With these facts before us, is it possible that we can, at the present time, by any means, which we might adopt, altogether stave off a reduction, more or less, without referring it to arbitration, in some way or other? We will not attempt to point out all the terrible effects which must arise from anything like a general strike. Many of you experimentally know the direful effect and heartrending destitution, which has arisen from partial strikes amongst ourselves. Suppose a general stop now ensues, what are the probabilities of success? Can we make our efforts successful? Suppose we should strike against a receding market, and a surplus number of men, and lose, what would be the consequences? These are questions worthy your earnest consideration, because on them depend your WEAL or WOE for years to come.

          We have to day very fully thought over the matter, and considering everything, we think it wise, if not absolutely necessary, to make some advances, with a view to a settlement of this important question. We, therefore, strongly advise that an offer of 10 per cent. reduction be made to the owners; and should they refuse this, let the whole matter go to arbitration. If arbitration be offered and accepted we would suggest the appointment of two men on both sides, and let these four men find a basis or starting-point for arbitration. Should they fail to agree as to what such basis ought to be, let the matter go to an umpire, appointed by the four arbitrators.

          Let no one regard this as in the slightest degree dictatorial. We have too much respect for your collective judgment to attempt anything of the kind. But we think it our duty to point out that, if not careful, we may drift amongst shoals and quicksands, which may endanger the very existence of our Association. And if this should come to pass, we need not name-not our probable, but certain condition, for years to come.


          On the 29th of April the special Council was held, which approved of the Committee's circular by offering a reduction of ten per cent. This decision was conveyed by telegram to Mr. Bunning, the employers' secretary. No sooner was it known in the county than a general protest was made, not only by the miners, but by the mechanics and enginemen. They objected to being included in the reduction. These bodies held meetings in Durham on the racecourse on May 2nd, and passed resolutions not to accept any reduction. The spirit of revolt was rampant in the county amongst the members of the Miners' Association. Meetings to protest against it were held throughout the county. Circulars were sent out by District Councils, in which the Executive Committee was held up to ridicule. To these the agents replied, boldly pointing out the danger of the course, which was being adopted, and the disaster, which would assuredly follow if more moderate action were not taken. Some of the members of the Executive Committee were found amongst the protestors and the loudest in their condemnation of Mr. Crawford, who came in for a large share of abuse. It was calculated that at one of those meetings in Houghton there were 10,000 people present. On May 5th the coal owners held a meeting. The resolutions dealt mainly with the action of the enginemen. From these the employers offered to accept five per cent. if acceded promptly, but no man should be allowed to work for less reduction than that offer. During the owners' meeting a telegram was read from Mr. Crawford as follows: -

          "For reasons previously given both to the Standing Committee and full meeting of owners, we shall begin on Monday to work five days per week or pits be laid idle on Saturday, so far as the working and drawing of coal is concerned."

          To that telegram the owners sent the following reply: -

          "The Provisional Committee give notice to the Durham Miners' Association that unless the Owners' Association receive before the end of the week a satisfactory assurance that collieries will continue to work the same number of days per fortnight, as heretofore, they will advise the Coal Owners' Association to insist upon the full twenty per cent. -first demanded; such demand only having been withdrawn on the condition that no change whatever was to be made in the usual mode of working."


          On the 7th of May a Council meeting was held, when the ten per cent. was under consideration. By a majority of 15 the delegates decided in favour of the ten per cent. 112 voting for it and 97 against. This brought the dispute to an end so far as the wages were concerned.

          The strike, if it could be called such, was of the most desultory kind, there being a division as to the acceptance of the ten per cent. reduction. It is generally known at the "Week's Strike"; but even the Executive were in ignorance of the time off, and sent out a slip asking the lodges to tell them "what number of days they were off, when they stopped, and when they resumed work and the reasons why they were off." The returns show that there were none off more than a week. None of them were entitled to strike pay seeing that a colliery had to be off a fortnight before they could claim. The Executive by their Minute of June 5th, 1874, said the strike commenced on May 8th and ended on the 14th.

          The strike being settled generally, all the collieries commenced work except Wheatley Hill, Thornley, and Ludworth. These were in a peculiar position. For some time they had been ten-day collieries, and at Wheatley Hill the hours of stonemen, shifters, and wastemen had been six every day. When the strike ended the Executive Committee sent word out to the county that work should be resumed under the same conditions as obtained before the strike. The workmen at the three collieries claimed they should work the ten days. That position the following Minute of the Executive Committee bears out: -

          "We have again had the case of Thornley, Ludworth and Wheatley Hill brought before us, and beg to give the following statement: As will be understood by all lodges, before the stop these places were working ten days under protest. After the settlement of the working days matter at our Council, the question arose between the manager and men whether these were ten or eleven-day collieries, the men holding to the former, while the manager held to the latter. On Friday, May 15th, Mr. Bunning telegraphed, stating that the owners still held these to be eleven-day places. We replied that they had been working ten days under protest, and that in some way or other they ought to recommence on the same conditions."


          The three collieries, on the strength of the notice to resume work, corroborated by the above Minute, refused to start except as ten-day collieries. The owners offered arbitration, but conditioned it by asking for the men to work eleven days, and suspended the Joint Committee until the case was settled. The letter from Mr. Bunning contained the words: "The action of the Thornley etc. men renders the resumption of the Joint Committee impossible," and asked whether the Executive were supporting them or not. The men were willing to go to arbitration, but asked to be allowed to start at the ten days. The Executive ordered them to work on the employers' terms, summoned a representative from each colliery to the Committee, and sent out large deputations to attend meetings. Still the men stood firm. On Monday, June 1st, the evicting of men from the houses commenced. A very large contingent of "Candymen" were imported, and a force of seventy or eighty policemen, in charge of Superintendent Scott, to maintain order. There never was an occasion where better humour prevailed throughout and where there was so little need of police. It would afford a break in this dry matter-of-fact history if some of the incidents were related: how a Jew who had come to gather his fortnightly installments wrung his hands, and, Shylock like, cried about his "monish"; how some of the women were to carry out in arm-chairs, and one of them stuck hat pins in the Candymen, to the hilarity of all but themselves; how once in a while a "Candyman," sick of the work, broke through the crowd, and ran off, chased by the police and the cheers of the crowd; and how the people dwelt in tents for three weeks, having continuous sunshine by day and jollity by night, making a continual round of "picnicking."

          We must however, leave the pleasurable for the historical. The lodge made an attempt at Council to get strike pay on an appeal against the Committee. The merits of the case were with them, but their case was prejudiced by the temper of the delegate, Mr. J. Wood. During the discussion of the question some contention rose as to Wood (who could write shorthand) taking notes. Mr. Wilkinson (the treasurer) expressed himself in doubt as to Wood's honesty, and the latter struck at the treasurer on the platform-consequence being the Council decided against, and the men were left to their own resources.

          An attempt was made to settle the strike by the Rev. W. Mayor of Thornley. He called upon some of the leading men, and asked them to meet Mr. Cooper, the manager, who with Mr. Bunning agreed to allow the pit to resume work on the old conditions with regard to the number of days, and that the dispute should be left to the two Associations. The arrangement was come to on the Monday and on the Tuesday the horses and ponies were sent down, and about 100 men commenced. It then transpired that Mr. Cooper objected to three of the leading men, and the men alleged that there had been some reduction in prices. The result was the stoppage again. The dispute was as to the submission for the arbitration. The difference lay in this: the owners wanted the men to start as an eleven-hour colliery, and then arbitrate. The workmen were willing to start as at ten hours, and arbitrate. In the end that was accepted. The arbitrators decided that the men were right in considering their collieries ten-day collieries and refusing to resume work except as such; but they concluded that the collieries should work eleven days, "although at the same time we strongly censure the conduct of Mr. Cooper, the manager, throughout the entire struggle." They further awarded that the whole expense of the arbitration should be borne by the owners, thus proving the men right in their contention as to starting. (History of the Durham Miners' Association - John Wilson)


     1874 1st June – Hartlepool Coal Company in an attempt to frighten men back to work – decided to evict the strikers from their homes. The local paper reported the following events under the headlines “Police and Candymen brought into evict strikers”. On Monday June 1st, a special early morning train drew into the little N.E.R. Station and unloaded more than a hundred passengers half of them were a motley, rough looking crew, the rest were policemen in smart blue uniforms. The former were ‘Candymen’ the riff-raff from the stews and lodging houses of Bottle Bank, Gateshead. They had been enlisted to carry out the dirty work of evicting the striking miners.

          The Candymen were marched to Moon’s Hotel (later known as the Colliery Inn) where they were breakfasted and plied with drink. Then the ragged march to Grainger Street, the scene of the first evictions began. (East Durham Heritage Trails and Walkways)

  1876 26th September - 4 men killed in explosion at coal mine.

 (Memorial at Thornley cemetery)

     1877 - COLLIERY SOLD


1877 9th February – On the 9th of February 1877, the first of the legendary “Put Pays” occurred. Workers were paid fortnightly and on that Friday, with no notice the managers of the colliery informed the workforce that the Hartlepool Coal Company was bankrupt. The riot act was read later that day and considerable violence was avoided by the influx of the police. The bankruptcy and long stoppage it caused led to great poverty in the village. Families had to live on 8s, (40p) per week from the Miners Poverty Fund. A reformed Hartlepool Coal Company started up in 1878 paying only half the wages owed the men. It was not surprising then that the collapse of the second Hartlepool Coal Company on April 4th 1884, led to rioting on the village. Again it took over a year to secure the men’s wages. (East Durham Heritage Trails and Walkways)



     1877 9th August - Sale of Wheatley Hill, Thornley and Ludworth collieries including brick works and lime quarry. "Put pay". Wheatley Hill cost 170,000 pounds to sink and the output 1000 tons/day. (From sales brochure of E. Cain)(M.M.)


     1877 - BOARD SCHOOL COST 3,750 POUNDS


     1879 22nd September - J. Mercer, E. Poole opened this building as a temporary Infants School under the Wingate School Board. Admitted 69 scholars. (School Books)

     1882 Typhoid death of man 32 years old in house with 2 rooms where dwelt, wife, six children and 2 adult lodgers. (from reports of Dr Arthur - Easington Sanitary Committee)(M.M.)




     1884 May - Second "Put Pay". (M.M.)


     1884 4th April - On the pay Friday falling on April 4th it was found that the company had become bankrupt, and the wages of the workmen were not forthcoming. This being the second occasion at these collieries, and only half the amount for the previous occasion having been paid, there was great consternation, and the presence of an agent was urgently requested. The treasurer immediately went out, and found the people ready for a riot. This, of course, was to be expected. Mr. Ramsey, the agent of the colliery, desirous to meet in part the wants of the people, sold a branch engine, but when the N.E.R. engine came to take it away men, women and children commenced and pulled the rails up, thus keeping both engines as it were in "pound." It was arranged that there should be a mass meeting the next day (Saturday), and the treasurer was to attend to persuade the men to allow the sale to proceed, and accept the money as an installment of their wages. The meeting was held in a field. The day was fine, there was a large crowd, and the treasurer was in his most eloquent mood, when a very laughable incident occurred. There was a pigeon-flying match from Newcastle to Thornley. It was about the time when the birds were expected. Some of the men were watching the heavens more closely than they were listening to the speaker or at the time thinking about their wages. Just when the orator was in the midst of one of his best sentences a voice was heard (which was the descent from the sublime to the ridiculous): "Haud thee hand till th' 'Slate Cock' comes in." In a moment speaker and occasion were lost, and the gathering generally watched the bird, hero of the hour, as, like an arrow shot from some great bow, he came right on to his "ducket." Then in deliberate manner the same voice was heard exclaiming: "There, he's landed; thoo can gan on wi' thee speech." But rhetoric and reason were both ineffective after the "Slate Cock" had landed.

     The Executive Committee, however, were quick in their action, and put in men as bailiffs at each colliery to prevent anything being taken away. After a year had been taken up by the process of law, and £1000 spent in money, the entire wages, slightly over £4724, with the colliery pay sheets, were handed over to the treasurer. That sum included the wages of Union and non-Union men alike, and was paid to all with this difference, that the members got their money free of cost, but the non-members were charged 7s. each towards the cost incurred in procuring the money. This sum was all paid out as per the pay sheets. The last man to turn up was five years after. (History of Durham Miner's Association - John Wilson)

     1884 21st June - Sale of Wheatley Hill and Thornley collieries including 2080 acres or thereabouts together with colliery plant



     1889 Shaft sunk from Main coal to Busty.

     1890 - (P.P.P.)New life was breathed into the village. The previous year the Weardale Steel, Coal and Coke Company with its headquarters at Spennymoor, had taken over the liabilities of the Thornley and Wheatley Hill Collieries.

            Thornley was already in operation, and it was now decided to re-open Wheatley Hill only on a very small scale. Thus the village began the second phase of its career, but be it noted, few of the original inhabitants returned.

            The few of the new settlers came from Castle Eden Colliery, which at this time was working spasmodically and was soon to close.

            The first two streets to be re-occupied were Arne Street and Gothay Street. This was not through coincidence. At the top of each of these streets was a tap and these two taps were the sole water supply of the entire village.

            It was the older girls' job to seek the water in those days. Two pails were carried at a time with the aid of a girth - a rectangular frame of wood. Due to the proximity to the taps, Arne Street and Gothay Street were always prized addresses.

            The newly opened colliery employed only 100 men and boys, and was admistered from Thornley.

     1890 - DURHAM DIRECTORY - Wheatley Hill, a colliery village, forms part of the parish of Thornley, from which village it is 1 mile west and 8 east from Durham. A mission room in connection with the parish church was erected in 1873-74: the building is of brick. The Primitive Methodist chapel here, erected in 1873, is a structure of red brick and white brick dressings, and has 200 sittings. The Temperance hall, erected in 1882, is an edifice of brick, in which lodge meetings etc. are held.

     Post & M.O.O., S.B. & Annuity & Insurance Office, Wheatley Hill - William Philip Cook, sub postmaster. Letters via Trimdon Grange R.S.O. arrive at 8-25a.m.; dispatched at 3-40p.m. Thornley is the nearest telegraph office.

     Insurance Agent - Phoenix Fire, M. Cook, Jun Hartlepool street

     Police Station, Thomas Sampson, sergeant in charge, & 2 constables.

     Schools: - Wheatley Hill (mixed), built in 1877 & enlarged in 1880, for 510 children; average attendance, 120; Charles Lamb Bowhill, master.

     Catholic (mixed), for 100 children; average attendance 80; Miss Ellen McAndrew, mistress.

Commercial Residents

     Clarke Sefton, butcher

     Cooper Joseph, insurance agent

     Coverdale Sarah (Miss), confectioner

     Dickinson Peter, greengrocer

     Dunn John, farmer

     Hales Mary (Mrs.), shopkeeper

     Hindmarch Matthew, mason

     Thompson William, farm bailiff to R.Thorman esq.

     Vann Samuel Richard, grocer

     Walker James, botanist

     Willis Robert, Nimmos' hotel

    1892 2nd May (Monday)  Article from The Times newspaper -


 At the Castle Eden petty sessions, on Saturday, Joseph Pearson was charged with the attempted murder of James Atkin. Pearson was attacked by a crowd because he had returned to work at Wheatley Hill Colliery, and he drew a revolver and fired. Atkins, a miners delegate, was not in the crowd, but was going to ascertain the cause of the disturbance, when he was shot. He was unable to appear, but it was stated that he was progressing favourably. The accused was remanded, bail being accepted.





     1894(Francis Whellan & Co History of Durham)

     The Weardale Iron and Coal Company took over, Limited Wheatley Hill Colliery, situated in the township of Wingate, in 1885, Limited. The following seams are worked here: the Five Quarter and Main coal (these seams are exhausted); Low Main, 3 feet 1 inch at the shaft, tapering to 1 foot 6 inches, at a depth of 148 fathoms; Hutton, 3 feet 3 inches in thickness, 166 fathoms; Harvey, 3 feet 10 inches, 190 fathoms; and the Busty, 4 feet 2 inches, 195 fathoms. Output 350 tons per day, employing 170 men and boys. The high output was due to the fact that all administration and maintenance was still charged to Thornley.

     Wheatley Hill is a village in the township of Wingate, and in the ecclesiastical parish of Thornley, situated about one mile northeast therefrom. There is a chapel-of-ease to the church at Thornley. The Wesleyans and Primitive Methodists have also places of worship here. There is a mission-chapel in connection with the church, with accommodation for 200.

     Wheatley Hill Board Schools, erected by the Wingate School Board, in 1877, at a cost of 3750 pounds, will accommodate 520 scholars; average attendance 160.


     Post and Money Order Office, Wheatley Hill-George Lawson, postmaster. Letters arrive from Trimdon Grange at 8 a.m., and are despatched at 3-40 p.m.


Commercial Residents

     Bowhill, Charles Lamb, schoolmaster, schoolhouse.

     Cook, Wm. Philip, grocer's mangr.

     Cuthbertson, William, shopkeeper.

     Dickinson, James, shopkeeper.

     Dunn, John, farmer

     Dunn, Thomas, butcher.

     Goynes, Stephen, greengrocer.

     Graham, G., vict. Nimmos Hotel.

     Henderson, William, colly. engineer.

     Lawson, G., postmaster & shopkpr.

     Linn, Mrs. E., vict. Moon's Hotel.

     Sykes, Elijah, shopkeeper.

     Vann, Samuel Richard, grocer and draper, and Wheatley Hill; Michael Cook, manager.

     Walton, Hugh, overman.






     Mostly Mining - William Moyers

     The History and Antiquities of the County of Palatine of Durham - Robert Surtees

     History of Durham - 1894 - Francis Whellan & Co

     Kelly's Directory of Durham 1914

     Kelly's Directory of Durham and Northumberland 1925

     Kelly's Directory of Durham and Northumberland 1929

     Kelly's Directory of Durham and Northumberland 1890

     Kelly's Directory of Durham 1902

     Kelly's Directory of Durham 1921

     Kelly's Directory of Durham and Northumberland 1934

     Kelly's Directory of Durham and Northumberland 1938

     Durham Directory 1911

     Durham Directory 1912

     Durham Directory 1913

     Durham Directory 1914

     Durham Directory 1916

     School Books at County Records Office

     The London Gazette, Tuesday 18th August 1914

     The London Gazette, Friday 27th November 1914

     British Records Association Deposit 984(Durham University Library - A&SC)

     Mawson's deposits (Durham University Library - A&SC)

     Greenslade deeds (Durham University Library - A&SC)

     A History of The Durham Miners' Association 1870-1904 by Alderman John Wilson, J.P.

     East Durham Heritage Trails and Walkways – East Durham Community Arts and Easington District Council

    People Past and Present(P.P.P.) - Easington District Council