Pleasley Colliery is located in the small village of Pleasley close to Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. It stands in a prominent position on the skyline.
The land was leased from W. E. Nightingale who owned the majority 1224 acres used for the site. He was the father of Florence Nightingale, the famous Victorian nurse. The seam to be mined was the Top Hard coal layer, which was beneath his land. A large field known as Round Hill was used for the construction of the surface buildings. A narrow strip of land to the north and part of the adjacent field to the west was leased to the Midland Railway for their line from Teversal and the colliery sidings.
It was sunk in the 1870s and produced coal until 1983. It escaped complete demolition after closure and it still retains its headstocks, engine-houses and steam winders, one of which was installed in 1904 by Lilleshall Co. Ltd. and the other in 1922 by Markham & Co. Ltd. Pleasley Colliery is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument and is in the process of being developed into a mining heritage site. The engine-house roofs and the chimney have been renovated and the winders are in the process of being restored by members of the Friends of Pleasley Pit preservation group.
A new more powerful winder and boilers were fitted by 1899, as increased output was exceeding the capacity of the old equipment at the upcast shaft. At about that time they decided to replace the old wooden headstock which was in poor condition. This was completed by 1900, with all production temporarily shifted to the downcast shaft by means of a two shift working pattern. The following year, the headstock at the downcast shaft was replaced, pre-erected on the pit top and then winched into position. In 1904 the drum shaft on the downcast shaft winder fractured and a new, more powerful winder was installed. Older boilers were replaced, more powerful fans were installed, new screening plant built and turbine generators running off the exhaust steam from the winders were commissioned.
The upcast shaft was deepened, which was completed in 1921, the Deep Hard seam was opened out. This required a larger winder, which in turn forced the engine house to be completely rebuilt and the power plant was redesigned, a single range of boilers, and a new large mixed-pressure turbine generator was constructed. Recession made digging the Deep Hard seam uneconomic and production stopped in 1927, this left the Top Hard seam, the workings of which were now quite extensive. Most of the coal to the north of the river Meden had been worked out and production shifted to the reserves to the south but these were running out by the 1930's. Two seams underlying the Top Hard seam were then investigated for production.
Electric coal cutters were in use from the 1900's but the coal was loaded by hand in tubs. Conveyor belts replaced the tubs on the coal face by 1938. The new seams were thinner that the Top Hard seam, producing 'smaller coal'. This had to be processed by a washing plant, fortunately the demand for 'small coal' increased dramatically as more coal fired power stations came online.
As World War II drew to a close, the workforce was reduced, the Deep Hard seam was reopened. To counter the reduced workforce, Huwood power loaders were used on the coal face, increasing production. Nationalisation soon followed and with it, major redevelopment. The Top Hard seam was worked out, the last face closed in 1951 it extended more than three miles from south of the pit bottom.
By the 1960's the surface infrastructure of the pit was showing its age, the new large surface drift and processing plant at Shirebrook Colliery, work at Pleasley was wound down. It was only used for man riding and materials until it was closed in 1983. The upcast shaft was converted to supply air to the Shirebrook workings. The removal of the baths, washery and other infrastructure, the filling of the downcast shaft slowed down, long enough for the local authority to get a preservation order on the remains just before demolition was scheduled in 1986, thus saving the colliery. The mine sat until 1995 when the Friends Of Pleasley Pit was formed. They are now in the process of restoring the colliery to its former glory.
Source - J. S. Thatcher of pleasley-colliery.org.uk and Wikipedia