The Last Pit in the Valley
A personal history of the Agecroft Colliery in Salford’s Irwell Valley by former miner Paul Kelly.
Edited by Adeeb Ahmed and Hilary Cross
An earlier version of this pamphlet was supported by a grant from “All our Stories” Heritage Lottery Fund. It was published in 2013 by Unity Publishing Project (ISBN 978 0 9561691 3 6). The Irwell Valley Mining Project holds no copies of this version.
This new version is again produced by the IVMP and published in 2014 by Past Pixels. ISBN 978-0-9928639-1-3
Chapter one Agecroft Colliery
Chapter two The Western Area Region
Chapter three The Shafts
Chapter four The Take
Chapter five The coal seams and keeping buildings safe
Chapter six My life as a miner
Chapter seven Hard graft and hazards
Chapter eight The Great Strike
Chapter nine Coal - the lost future, the decline of coal
Chapter ten What’s left
The Irwell Valley Mining Project
Glossary of mining terms
Agecroft Colliery stands no more. This coal mine has disappeared from the skyline of Salford.
The former colliery’s winding wheels, which were enclosed in concrete towers, reached a height of 200 feet and covered the number 4 and number 5 shafts. The towers were demolished using explosives in January 1991. The towers which had stood for over 30 years disappeared in seconds.
This signified the end of deep coal mining in the Irwell valley which had lasted for about 250 years. The colliery buildings were bulldozed and flattened into history. The site was cleared in months without ceremony, to be replaced by warehouses and offices and the area renamed The Agecroft Commercial Park.
No monuments or memorials were erected to the memory of the coal miners who worked at the pit, many of whom paid the ultimate price. All their work and sacrifice was forgotten.
I wrote this book with the hope that it will educate, enlighten and remind people that not so very long ago this area had a thriving mining community. A community that took great pride in the coal mining industry and the work it provided. I hope to remind readers that it was coal which was the source of energy that powered the industrial revolution and made this country great.
The book is dedicated to all the men, women, boys and girls who toiled in the coal mining industry and worked to bring light and warmth for all. Our pits and our way of life maybe gone but our memories live on.
The IVMP thanks the following:
Adeeb Ahmed, Nfiece Ahmed, Andy Arnott, Mary McHugh, Dennis Rudd, George Tapp, Past Pixels, Salford Museum and Art Gallery Local History Library, Wigan Heritage Service , Martin Shakeshaft and apologies for omissions.
Contact details for IVMP
Design and print by unionised labour