What to see
North Winding Engine
The North Steam Engine was manufactured by Lilleshall of Oakengates; Shropshire & has been on site since 1904. The previous engine was made by the Worsley Mesnes Company of Wigan but the Drum Shaft sheared & a new engine was required. This Engine could produce 1500 working horse power from two 40 inch cylinders & pistons. The steam was produced by Lancashire Steam Boilers situated outside on both sides of the Engine House.
Each cylinder has 4 valves an inlet & exhaust for the forward stroke & an inlet & exhaust for the reverse stroke.
The present braking system was installed in 1966 by the Markham Company of Chesterfield & was the first of its kind & so successful that the design was used widely in the coal industry.
There is a spring nest that applies braking pressure & a hydraulic piston to lift off the brake.
Before these were fitted various designs were used of both simple Calliper brakes applied by the winders foot & also steam assisted brakes.
The winder would sit in the green chair & control the speed & direction with operating levers.
The winder would not operate the engine until he received an audible & visual signal from the men in charge of the shafts. The man in charge of the cage (lift) at the top of the 520yard (1.62m) shaft was called the Banksman. The man in charge at the Pit Bottom was called the Onsetter. They would communicate with the Winding Engine man with Audible & visual signals
South Winding Engine
The Winding Engine you can see is in the process of renovation and was was installed in 1922. The Engine was made by The Markham Company of Chesterfield. In the 1920s it was decided to deepen the South Shaft from 520yards to 800 yards, to reach new seams of coal.
The original Winding Engine made by Reader & Co. Was then not powerful enough for the deeper Shaft, so this engine was commissioned. The Markham Engine is 3000 h.p. with 36inch Diameter Cylinder with a 7 ft stroke. The drum has a diameter of 21ft. With the installation of this engine it was necessary to enlarge the Engine House to the size you see today.
All the renovation work being carried out is being done by The “Friends of Pleasley Pit”. In 2013 the Pistons were sent to Markham Engineering (the firm that made the engine in 1922) to have them machined. This cost a considerable amount & we appreciate all donations received so we can continue to carry out this important work.
South Shaft Pit Top
Although the shaft as long been filed in, you can still see the South Shaft Pit top as it was with tubs and the cage in place plus railway tracks and mining artifacts. The shaft control room where the banksman sat is still there and it will give you a taste of the pit top atmosphere.
This newly dedicated Local Nature Reserve contains a wide variety of habitats including:
A large pond with bird hide (keys are available to members of the Pleasley Pit Nature Study Group) - look for the swans that regularly nest and rear their cygnets here.
Smaller ponds where a record 19 species of dragonfly have been reported.
You might also see the elusive grass snake basking in the sunshine.
Shallow pools that appeal to summer nesting wading birds.
Reed beds − listen for the warblers that nest here.
Magnesian limestone grassland - great for wildflowers, in late spring look for bee orchid and common spotted orchid. See if you can see the Hebridean sheep that help us manage the grasslands by grazing.
Some small plantation woodlands that are slowly maturing.