Alvecote Colliery, also known as Tamworth Colliery, was sunk in 1875 by Charles Brownslow Marshall. Workers from the collieries around Nuneaton and Bedworth were often taken to the Magistrates court for trivial offences such as being absent without leave, or the slightest breach in the mining rules. No records of this kind have been found for the Alvecote mineworkers, which is thought to have been due to one of two possible reasons: either discipline was more relaxed there than the rest of the Warwickshire coalfield, or it was because the Alvecote miners refused to join the union (Warwickshire Miners’ Association). This also meant that they remained at work during the 1912 miners’ strike while the rest of the Warwickshire coalfield suffered in hardship.
During the First World War, the Ministry of Fuel and Power took control of the colliery temporarily and made investments to bring it up to the standard of that time. An accident occurred in 1919 when the cage ran out of control during its descent. One man was killed, and another 18 were seriously injured. The H.M. Inspector of Mines concluded that the accident was due to managerial neglect in the form of a lack of machinery maintenance. Further investments were made by the Ministry, and new screens and a new cage system were installed. A new engine was installed in 1928, but this was the last investment that was made at the colliery. Ponies continued to be used for face haulage and the roadways remained narrow and low.
In 1939, the Ministry of Fuel and Power took control of the colliery for a second time . By 1942, the colliery employed 1000 men and was heavily subsidised. The Ministry made the decision to close the colliery, but the advisability of the decision to close a colliery during a time of national emergency was questioned in the House of Commons. As a result, it was decided to make Alvecote Colliery part of Pooley Hall Colliery. The surface plant closed, but the shafts continued to be used for manriding.
North Warwick Colliery: a new future
In 1951, Alvecote Colliery and Pooley Hall Colliery merged with Amington Colliery to form the North Warwick Colliery. Fourteen years later, North Warwick Colliery closed and the Alvecote shafts were officially recorded as abandoned in 1965. Damage due to mining subsidence occurred in the landscape to the north of Alvecote Colliery due to the systematic mining of several coal seams in the same area. The subsidence caused large lakes where there had previously been agricultural land due to the lowering of the banks of the River Anker. A nature reserve was established there in 1957.
To view records relating to Alvecote Colliery held at Warwickshire County Record Office, click here.
Durham Mining Museum. n.d. Alvecote Colliery Co. Ltd. [online] Available at: http://www.dmm.org.uk/company/a1019.htm [Accessed 30 March 2020].
Durham Mining Museum. n.d. Tamworth Colliery Co. Ltd. [online] Available at: http://www.dmm.org.uk/company/t1009.htm [Accessed 30 March 2020].
Fretwell, L. (2005) ‘Tamworth (Alvecote) Colliery’, The Warwickshire Coalfield, Vol. 1, pp. 47-53.
Northern Mine Research Society. n.d. Warwickshire Coalfield – Northern Mine Research Society. [online] Available at: https://www.nmrs.org.uk/mines-map/coal-mining-in-the-british-isles/warwickshire/ [Accessed 30 March 2020].