Report of the Commissioners appointed to inquire into the several matters relating to coal in the United Kingdom

type: Beyond Scotland - elsewhere in the UK

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Source date:
01/01/1871 (approximate)

Report of the Commissioners appointed to inquire into the several matters relating to coal in the United Kingdom. H.M. Stationery Office 1871


It is important to give, as a section of this chapter, some general notice of the cannel coal and bituminous shales. The following returns must not be regarded as quite complete. They may, however, be received as perfectly correct, as far as it has been possible to carry the inquiry. It should be explained that the quantities of cannel coal raised and used have been included in the general statement of our coal produce already given.



STAFFORDSHIRE, North - A cannel coal of uncertain quality occurs in this district, especially between Hanley and Harecastle. It is usually termed in the locality " pill " or " peal," and is sold at the pit's mouth at 10s. the ton. The quantity of this cannel which is raised annually is about 10,000 tons

NOTTINGHAMSHIRE.-The chief if not the only place in this county at which cannel is worked is at Hucknall Torkard near Nottingham. All that is raised is appropriated for oil making, the quantity produced being 46,950 tons

DERBYSHIRE.-The places producing this variety of coal are the following: Renshaw, near Chesterfield.-This is not strictly a cannel. Swanwick Colliery.-This is a cannel of fair average quality. Clay Cross - But little is worked on this estate at present. The total production of Derbyshire – 42,225 tons

YORKSHIRE -The Mines in Yorkshire producing cannel are-

  • 1. Silkstone Fall, Barnsley.
  • 2. Adwalton Moor, Leeds.
  • 3. Bruntcliffe, Leeds.
  • 4. Gildersome, Leeds.
  • 5. College, Birstal.
  • 6. Oakwell, Leeds.
  • 7. Ardsley Main, Ardsley.

Some of this is an inferior cannel, known, locally, as " drub" or "stub” and a considerable quantity of the true cannel of the West Riding will not coke. The quantity raised annually from the Yorkshire district is about 185,000 tons


The collieries in the East Lancashire (Manchester) district producing cannel coal are the following:-

  • 1. Bank, Little Hulton.
  • 2. Blackrod, Chorley.
  • 3. Blackrod, Blackrod.
  • 4. Bridgewater, Worsley.
  • 5. Hulton, Bolton.
  • 6. Scot Lane, Blaokrod.
  • 7. Stonehill, Farnworth.
  • 8. Rigby Pit, Anderton Hall

The total estimated production being 120,000 tons
The collieries in the West Lancashire (Wigan) district producing Cannel are-

  • 1. Haigh, Haigh and Aspull.
  • 2. Aspull, Haigh and Aspull.
  • 3. Kirkless Hall, Kirkless.
  • 4. Standish, Standish. (These belong to the Wigan Co. and Iron Company)
  • 5. Rose Bridge, Ince.
  • 6. Douglas Bank, Wigan.
  • 7. Norley Hall, Pemberton.
  • 8. Ince Hall, Wigan.
  • 9. Walthew House, Pemberton.
  • 10 Gidlow Lane, Wigan.
  • 11.Rowenhead, St. Helen's.

The total production of these collieries was 530,000 tons

CHESHIRE.- Duckinfield, Stockport, is the only colliery in this county producing cannel coal. The present yield being: 12,000 tons

The AVERAGE PRODUCTION of CANNEL COAL in ENGLAND from the Year 1865 to 1869

  • North Staffordshire – 10,000 tons
  • Nottingham – 46,950 tons
  • Derbyshire – 42,225 tons
  • Yorkshire – 185,000 tons
  • Lancashire – 650,000 tons
  • Cheshire – 12,000 tons

The total present production in England – 946,175 tons
At least 50,000 tons of this, possibly much more, was at one time reserved for the manufacture of the coal and shale oils; but the low price of the coal oils sent from America has destroyed a considerable section of this trade. Nearly all the cannel coal now raised is used in the manufacture of gas.


NORTH WALES.-This is the only district at present producing cannel. The collieries yielding it are -

  • Leeswood Green, Mold.
  • Leeswood Hill, Mold.
  • Coed Talon, Mold.
  • Coppa, Mold.
  • Nerquis, Mold
  • Wem, Bagillt.

From these works the quantity of cannel coal raised was as nearly as can be ascertained 150,000 tons in 1865, almost the whole of which was then consumed in the extensive oil works of Flintshire, which are now suspended. As in other places, the cannel which is now worked is used at the gas works.


It is fortunate that we have reliable information as to the output of cannel coal from this im­portant field. At a meeting of coal owners, recently held in Glasgow, the estimated average quantity raised annually from 1865 to 1869 was given as follows :-

  • Lanarkshire – 172,000 tons
  • Linlithgowshire – 28,000 tons
  • East and Mid-Lothian -55,000 tons
  • Fifeshire – 29,000 tons
  • Ayrshire – 38,000 tons

Given as the total quantity 322,000 tons The stock of cannel coal on hand was then stated to be 61,500 tons, making the total quantity raised as 383,500 tons. Mr. Binney informs us that nearly 100,000 tons of this is used in making oil and paraffin in the works between Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The total Quantity of CANNEL COAL produced in the UNITED KINGDOM may be thus estimated : England - 946,175 tons Wales – 150,000 tons Scotland – 322,000 tons Total 1,418,176 tons At a low estimate 250,000 tons of this has been submitted to distillation for coal-oil; therefore, for gas-making and other purposes, the total quantity obtained will be 1,168,176 tons


Distilling crude Petroleum from Cannel coal or Bituminous Shales or Sandstones, so far as these have been ascertained, were in 1865 as follows. Many of these are now idle:-

  • Flintshire: Flintshire Oil and Cannel Coal Company, Limited - Saltney
  • British Oil and Cannel Company - Leeswood
  • Canneline Oil Company – Coed Talon
  • Coppa Oil Company - Padeswood
  • William's Patent Mineral Charcoal and Oil Company – Ponty Bodkin
  • W. B. Marston's Oil Works – Coed Talon Leeswood Main Cannel Oil Company – Hope and Leeswood
  • North Wales Oil Company – Lower Leeswood
  • Padeswood Oil Company - Padeswood
  • Roger Jones and Company - Hope
  • E. G. Buttery and Company - Hope
  • Thomas Green - Padeswood
  • G. H. Birkbeck and Company - Padeswood
  • Ness and Griffiths - Padeswood
  • Barlow and Jeff's – Coed Talon
  • F. Page and Company - Padeswood
  • Mold Mineral Oil Company - Mold
  • G. F. Milthorp - Padeswood
  • Glover and Company - Leeswood
  • Hardman and Sharett - Tryddu
  • Plasy Mhowys Oil Company - Nerquis
  • The Cambrian Oil Company – Hope

The Plaakynaston Colliery Company had just then completed a large contract for cannel coal, with a London Gas Company, at 12s. the ton. At Trydyn, where there are about 50 or 60 acres of cannel, it has been proved to be from 6 to 9 inches only in thickness and it is all of the "smooth" cannel, not "curly." It will be understood that the latter variety is greatly superior to the former. Leeswood has about 120 acres four feet thick on the average. At the Mold Cannel Works, the Broncoed Colliery, and Bromfield Colliery, the section is The ·North Wales Oil Works have And here the cannel coal seam has doubled upon itself, by a succession of movements, attaining in some places a considerable thickness. At Coed Talon they have also about four feet of cannel At a depth of 224 yds. 1 ft. 10 in. They probably have about from 200 to 250 acres remaining. A little cannel has been worked at Mostyn, on the banks of the Dee, and at W em Colliery near Bagillt they are now producing a small quantity. A thin bed of cannel, about six inches thick, can be traced from Bagillt to Mostyn


  • Messrs Adams, Tunstall- 20 retorts
  • H. Meir Esq, Tunstall – 20 retorts
  • Messrs May and Co., Burslem – 40 retorts
  • Messrs Glover – Longton – 10 retorts
  • Messrs Slater & Co – Burslem – 36 retorts
  • Messrs Wards & Co. - Hanley – 18 retorts
  • Messrs Hardman & Co, Milton – 8 retorts
  • North Staffordshire Coal and Iron Company – Tunstall – 2 retorts

Total 154 retorts
Each retort yields on an average 30 gallons of crude oil per day of 24 hours, working 6 days per week, say 100 tons or crude oil per week for the district. Of the BITUMINOUS SHALES they are now raising nearly 10,000 tons per annum, selling at the pit's mouth for 12s. the ton.


West Ardsley Coal Company. These retorts are but just going into work for the distillation of shale.

SHROPSHIRE.- Bituminous shales are being worked, but the rate of production is not high.
The AVERAGE PRODUCTION of CANNEL COAL in ENGLAND from the Year 1865 to 1869

LANARKSHIRE.- In the western division of this county there are five collieries working ''gas coal," as cannel is called in Scotland, of the "splint seam," and two others are working cannel coal with the ironstone. In the eastern division twenty collieries are working the cannel of the "splint seam," four the Kiltongue "mussel band," six the Kiltongue, and 11 the Lesmahago coal.
FIFESHIRE.-There are six or seven collieries working the "Lesmahago," and four or five the
" Boghead coal."

HADDINGTONSHIRE.-There are four collieries yielding "gas coal".

KlNROSSHIRE - Yields "gas coal” from one

EDINBURGHSHIRE.- Has four collieries producing "Lesmahago” and five the cannel of the "splint coal." LINLITHGOWSHIRE. - Has four collieries yielding" Boghead," and two or three" Lesmahago.".

STIRLINGSHIRE - Has one colliery producing the Kiltongue mussel"

PERTHSHIRE.- Has two collieries giving ''Lesmahago" cannel. The present rate of production from these collieries has been already given.

It may be useful to state the oil-producing power of some of these coals. Boghead produces 128 gallons of oil per ton Methel produces 90 gallons of oil per ton Capeldrae produces 81 gallons of oil per ton Lesmahago produces 78 gallons of oil per ton Rochsoles produces 72 gallons of oil per ton

The "Boghead " variety of coal, with its present price, 74s. the ton, is placed beyond. the reach of the gas manufacturers. Of it Mr. Binney, our highest authority, writes- " The Boghead coal occurs in the higher part of the Scotch coalfield in about the position of the "slaty band" of ironstone ; its range is not more than three or four miles, in the lands of Torbane, Inchcross, Boghead, Sappers, and Bathvale, near Bathgate, in the county of Linlithgow. In thickness it varies from 1 to 30 inches, and at the present consumption, say from 80,000 to 100,000 tons per annum, it cannot last many years." Bituminous shales are also worked in many localities, and the works for the distillation of cannel coal and shales are extending.