Chatterley Whitfield Colliery
Chatterley Whitfield colliery is the most complete surviving large colliery from the peak years of the English coal industry - the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It survived because it was already a museum in the 1980s, when its contemporaries and competitors were swept away. A national survey of coal-mining sites under English Heritage's Monuments Protection Programme showed that this was the best big mine in England. As a result the site and some structures were scheduled as an ancient monument, while the more useable buildings became Grade II* and II listed historic buildings. In 1937 Chatterley Whitfield was the first colliery in England to produce over one million tons in a year. At this time it employed almost 4,000 people. Nationalisation in 1947 led to a further period of investment above and below ground in the early 1950s, then production slowly declined until closure in 1976. The site reopened as a museum in 1978, backed by the National Coal Board and Stoke-on-Trent City Council. The expectation was that this would be the National Coal Mining Museum. Former miners took visitors underground, into workings drained and ventilated by links to the then still operational Wolstanton colliery across the city. However,Wolstanton closed in 1985, and the museum could not sustain pumping and ventilating costs… in 1993 the museum closed.