Manchester & Lancashire Mining Museums

Manchester Collieries & Mining Museums

19th Century Industrial History in Manchester

Astley Green Colliery

Higher Green Lane, Astley, near Tyldesley, Wigan
M29 7JB. Telephone: 01942 708 969.
Astley Green was a fully operational coal mine until its closure in
1970, and has now been fully restored as a working museum. It was not
a particularly old colliery, only opening in 1908, but during its heydays
in the 1950s there were two shafts, 14 underground levels and over 2100
employees. But, by 1970 it had become an uneconomical pit, as demand
for coal decreased and cheaper foreign imports became available, and
it was forced to cease production. Fortunately, Lancashire County Council,
urged on by several other local leading dignitaries, saw the value of
preserving this piece of local, historical and industrial heritage,
the last of many. Actually, the area had been known for its dozens of
collieries, which, over successive post-war years been closed down and
disassembled, and had Astley Green been demolished no local mines would
have existed today. It now boasts, (sadly), the only surviving headgear
and engine house in Lancashire. It has what is reputedly Europe’s largest
steam winding engine, located in a magnificent engine house – this enormous
3,300 horse power twin tandem compound engine is well worth seeing.

There are also extensive displays of industrial mining and related artefacts.
This Colliery Museum is now maintained and run by the members of the
Red Rose Steam Society.

Astley Green Colliery Museum near WiganAstley Green Colliery

Astley Green is located about 10 miles west of Manchester, on the edge
of Chat Moss, an area whose flatness makes the colliery headgear a landmark
for many miles around. Drive west in the direction of Liverpool out
of Manchester and through Salford on the East Lancs Road, and you will
see the mine to your left just off the main road.

Every Sunday from 12.00noon until 5.00pm, but closed Christmas Day and
Boxing Day. It is also open on Tuesday and Thursdays from 1.30pm to
5.00pm. School parties and groups may visit at other times by prior
arrangement. Please check times before setting off – times may change.

The Former Lancashire Mining Museum, Buile Hill,

Buile Hill Park , Eccles Old Road, Salford M6 8GL.
Tel: 0161 736 1832. Fax: 0161 745 9490


Set in this listed Georgian building designed by
Sir Charles Barry, the architect of the Houses of Parliament and the
City Art Gallery in Manchester,
the museum consists of two reproduction coal mines, a gallery to illustrate
the history and development of coal mining in Lancashire and exhibitions
of mining art. Admission is free.

Former Lancashire Mining Museum Buile HillBuile Hill - Former Lancashire Mining Museum
Buile Hil and its distinctive port-cochère

Building History
Built between 1825 and 1827 to designs by Charles Barry, Buile Hill
is his only known villa-house in the neo-classical style. Its most distinctive
feature is arguably the covered carriage porch (known as a port-cochère).
Later additions to the building were made by Edward Walters, architect
of the Free Trade Hall, Manchester.
The house has had many locally distinguished occupants, including, from
1825-1840, Sir Thomas Potter, first Mayor of Manchester, John Potter,
his son and MP for Manchester, and John Marsland Bennett, Mayor of Manchester.
Salford Corporation purchased the house and 80 acres of adjoining parkland
in 1902 for the sum of £23,000, and it was opened as a Natural
History Museum in 1906, and still survived as a Science Museum into
the 1950s.
In 1959, in collaboration with the National Coal Board, the building
was excavated and the Buile Hill No.1 Pit was constructed in the basement.
Later, in the 1930s a drift pit was constructed on the ground floor.
Extensive dry rot forced its closure in the early 1970s and after complete
restoration it was not fully reopened to the public until 1979.


Financial problems and successive Local Authority
cutbacks and lack of funding eventually closed this fine museum – and
it is currently rumoured to be redeveloped as a hotel or executive apartments.
(Accountants win – we lose!!) Latest information is that the house at
Buile Hill has now been sold for around £250,000 for some form
of private redevelopment, possibly a hotel complex.

Bibliography – Books about Manchester

… End of Topic].

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© John Moss, Papillon Graphics AD 2013 Manchester, United Kingdom – all rights reserved.
This page last updated 12 Sept 12.