Powerflush nearby to Langold
Langold is a village in the Bassetlaw district of north Nottinghamshire, England, in the civil parish of Hodsock. It was defined as a ward of Bassetlaw Council with a population of 2,472 in the 2011 census. Langold Lakes Country Park was built between 1923 and 1927 to provide housing for the miners of Firbeck Colliery, and it is located on the village’s south-western outskirts.
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While there are references to settlement in the geographical area that is now Langold dating back to 1246, it was farmland and parkland in the estates of Firbeck and Hodsock prior to the early twentieth century. The Mellish family purchased Hodsock Priory and estate with its farms, as well as much of Carlton-in-Lindrick in 1765, and sold parts of it to Ralph Knight of Langold. Knight created plantations and a series of ponds and lakes in Langold Park, intending to build a mansion, but although he had built stables and a small Palladian house, little work had been completed on the mansion when he died in 1768, at the age of 56.
Ralph Knight was unmarried, so his estate passed to his nephew, John Gally Knight, through his sister, while another nephew, Henry, lived at Firbeck Hall. Both estates were passed down to Henry’s son, also named Henry, who planned another large mansion overlooking the lake, but despite commissioning Sir Jeffry Wyatt to draw up plans, no construction took place. The estate was altered by Knight, most notably the conversion of the existing ponds and lakes into two interconnected lakes, which was completed in 1818. By the 1890s, the lakes were separated by a weir with an arched bridge over a boathouse. In William White’s 1838 gazetteer, Langold Hall was described as “a farmhouse.” In 1846, the Langold estate passed to Sir Thomas Wollaston White, and in 1907, to Sir Archibald Wollaston White of Wallingwells. It was made up of a farm and the hall, and was located near the Worksop to Tickhill turnpike road, which was built in 1767. Once coal was discovered, Wollaston White sold the Langold estate to Thomas Place of Northallerton in early 1927, and Place sold it to the Firbeck Colliery Company in July 1927.
Mining in the area suggested that there might be a workable seam of coal at Langold by 1911. The Wallingwells Boring Company was formed, and German engineers conducted some test drilling in a field on Costhorpe Farm. Despite the fact that the initial tests were successful, the work was put on hold due to the First World War. The Firbeck Light Railway was authorised in 1916, but it did not see further development until 1923.
In May 1923, a further survey of the potential coal reserves was conducted, and sinking of the No. 1 Shaft began on July 16, with construction of the No. 2 Shaft beginning on August 15. To keep water out, the first 390 feet (120 m) of each shaft were cemented. Work was halted at 450 yards (410 metres) when water flooded the workings, necessitating the installation of pumps. The shafts reached the Barnsley coal seam in mid 1925, at a depth of 828 yards (757 m), and the seam continued downward for another 28 yards (26 m). The shaft headgear was finished by late 1923, and a 180-foot (55-meter) chimney was built in less than 13 weeks. The winding engines were powered by six boilers, and a Baume washer capable of washing 160 tonnes of coal per hour was installed.
Around 5 miles (8.0 km) of temporary railway track was laid to connect the colliery site to the main railway network that served Harworth Colliery. This opened on April 7, 1924, and was later upgraded to permanent track, with the new system going into service on October 1, 1927. The colliery was named Firbeck colliery, despite the fact that the village of the same name is located more than 2 miles (3.2 km) to the north west of Langold.
Mining was a physically demanding job that required miners to bring their own pickaxes and shovels. Even pick blade sharpening had to be paid for out of the miner’s wages. Tubs of coal were pulled along rails by ponies from the coal face to the shaft. There were about 200 ponies working in the mine, with about half of them underground at any given time and the other half roaming the fields around Langold Lake. The opening of the pit baths in 1933 improved conditions, though some men refused to use them because there was a weekly charge of 6d (2.5 pence) deducted from the miner’s pay.
The mine supplied coking coal, gas coal, manufacturing coal, and steam coal to industrial markets. The miner’s strike of 1926 halted production shortly after it opened, but production resumed soon after. By 1938, Firbeck Main Collieries Ltd of Chesterfield owned the colliery and employed 1,457 underground workers and 357 surface workers. It became part of the National Coal Board’s No.1 Worksop area after nationalisation in 1946. The mine employed 1,448 underground workers and 393 surface workers at its peak in 1953. As the mine was affected by water, ventilation issues, and geological faults, problems gradually arose. Because the shafts were unsuitable for the installation of mechanical skip winding, transport of the coal to the surface was slow, and the mine was declared uneconomical by 1968. It closed on December 31, 1968, and many of the miners were relocated to other nearby pits in Maltby, Manton, Shireoaks, and Steetley.