The Last Colliery in Standish closed

1963 AD Standish

Although the Pemberton seams near the outcrops in the Standish Village area had been worked to a small extent during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and although a considerable portion of the Pemberton 4ft Seam was worked from the old Robin Hill Pit in the middle of the 19th century, a large tonnage remained of these seams in three belts divided by cross faults between the Shevington Fault on the west and the outcrops on the east.

A boring programme in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s by E. Timmins & Sons Ltd., Runcorn, which cost £5,000, proved the Pemberton Yard, the Pemberton 5ft and the Pemberton 4ft in this area to be of workable thickness and quality. The average gradient was 1 in 5 to the southwest. Two drifts were put down the now named Robin Hill Drift Mine to developed the seams, and the old Wigan Coal & Iron Co’s. disused railway track was relaid for 2,400 yards to connect with the existing mineral line near the old Prospect Pits and saleyard.

It was hoped to produce a saleable output of 127,000 tons per annum or 508 tons per day for 20 years from 1952, but due partly to achieving a higher output than this is actually closed on 29th November 1963. The estimated cost of the project was £172,901.

A pithead baths and canteen with facilities for 350 men was constructed

This in later years formed the base around which the Almond Brook Motel (now the Wigan/Standish Moat House) was built.

Once the pit was established outputs rose from 37,131 tons in 1953 and 100,794 tons in 1954 to 200,059 tons in 1957, which seems to have been the peak, as by 1960 it had dropped to 168,793 tons, although it rose again to 175,170 in its final year of 1963, but this was not a complete year, the colliery having ceased production on 29th November.

It was a highly profitable concern, making during its eleven years life a profit of over £1,100,000. There were losses on only the first and third years and these were comparatively small losses. The number of men on the books varied between 436 in 1958 and 384 in 1962. Of these only 36 were employed on the surface.

The main working area at Robin Hill was roughly bounded by a 33 yard fault near the old mineral line in the south, a 73 yard upthrow fault 500 yards north of and parallel to Pepper Lane in the north, the Shevington Fault near Old Pepper Lane in the west, and shallow old workings from Engine Pit near Preston Road in the east.

Robin Hill Drift Mine was the last deep mine to work in Standish. Standish colliers were the equal of colliers anywhere, and in some ways it is a pity the breed has to die out

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