Garforth Pits

Garforth is in many ways a 'mining village' as so many of the villages in this area are. However, people have settled here for thousands of years (we're in the Domesday book) so it wouldn't be correct to think there was nothing here before the Victorian pits were sunk.

It's certainly true to say that Garforth in its present form owes its existence to the pits though with the majority of the older housing having been built for pit workers, schools for their children and so on. Before the arrival of the pits Garforth, even on the interior, was mostly farmland and based around agriculture.

There were three major pits in Garforth owned by the Gascoigne family which you can read about below and many more in the surrounding areas. Although the Gascoigne pits closed in the inter-war years, mining continued in this area for many decades afterwards with pits such as Ledston Luck operating until the 1980s.

The Gascoignes themselves sold their mines to The Garforth Collieries Ltd. following the strike in 1919, this turned out to be a shrewd decision as they avoided the effects of the further downturn and strikes in the 1920s [7]. There are further images of the strikes below.

For the locations of the pits please have a look at the maps page.

Nomenclature

I think is is worth defining the following terms which sometimes cause confusion. In Yorkshire though it is most common to refer to a mine as a pit probably because common people would say they 'worked down t'pit':

mine
the whole site including underground workings and above ground buildings such as offices and workshops
pit
the underground workings such as shafts and tunnels at a mine, if it has any (gold mines for example may not)
colliery
a mine which extracts coal (as opposed ironstone, gold, salt or other minerals)

Isabella Pit

Isabella pit on Ash Lane was named after one of the Gascoigne sisters, the eldest daughter of the colliery owner. It opened in 1833 and continued until it was worked out in 1925, when 392 men lost their jobs [2][3].

date
unknown
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Laycocks
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2000x1236px · 1.3M
postcard
Laycocks 1033
date
Unknown
copyright
Bramley
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2000x1218px · 1.0M ·
postcard
Bramley B32
date
Unknown
copyright
Lilywhite
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1793x1189px · 1.0M ·
postcard
Lilywhite GFH18

Sisters Pit

Sisters Pit, named after the two Gascoigne sisters, was sunk in 1843 and employed 240 men. It was worked out by 1922 [2]. The pit was located on the other side of Aberford Road to the station where Tescos now stands [4].

date
c.1910
copyright
Bramley
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1423x871px · 398.3K
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Bramley B33
date
c.1910
copyright
Parkinson & Roy
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2732x1677px · 1.6M ·
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Parkinson & Roy 387
date
Unknown
copyright
Laycocks
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1657x1102px · 1.1M ·
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Laycocks NN01
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Unknown
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Unknown
resolution
784x498px · 247.8K

Trench Pit

Trench Pit was located in Ninelands Lane and was named after Col. Richard Oliver Trench who was the husband of Isabella Gascoigne [3].

The pit was sunk in in 1899 and closed in 1930 due to financial difficulties, costing 417 men their jobs. At the time it was the last remaining pit in Garforth.

One main shaft remained in the middle of Stocks Brothers’ yard and was permanently filled with water [2]. Since the Redrow housing development has taken place on the old Stocks site this has presumably now been capped or filled in some way.

date
c.1910
copyright
Bramley
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2000x1240px · 840.1K ·
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Bramley B34
date
Unknown
copyright
Laycocks
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2000x1105px · 1.1M
postcard
Laycocks 702
date
c.1908
copyright
Parkinson & Roy
resolution
1387x882px · 444.4K
postcard
Parkinson & Roy 438
date
Unknown
copyright
Unknown
resolution
790x517px · 199.9K
date
Unknown
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Unknown
resolution
789x553px · 240.9K
date
Unknown
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Unknown
resolution
653x453px · 147.5K
date
Unknown
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Lilywhite
resolution
400x230px · 27.5K
postcard
Lilywhite GFH_U03
date
1960
copyright
Unknown
resolution
785x463px · 221.5K

A view of Trench Pit from the cliff.

Miners on Strike

As part of moves to improve wages and conditions in the mines there was a strike in 1919, a lock-out in 1921 and then the general strike in 1926. These images were captured during those times.

date
Unknown
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Unknown
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792x477px · 209.3K
date
1921
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Unknown
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788x473px · 184.2K ·

Miners during the 1921 strike selling fish from a stall close to where Barley Hill Road car park is now located [3].

date
1920s
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Unknown
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786x463px · 206.0K

Officials from Trench Pit as well as sailors who were drafted in to protect the pit during a strike in the 1920s [3].

date
1921
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Unknown
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2045x1278px · 646.6K

Trench Pit during the 1921 strike

date
1921
copyright
Unknown
resolution
1882x1251px · 1.1M

Trench Pit during the 1921 strike