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Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Rising Sun Colliery

Rising Sun Colliery in Wallsend, possibly shortly after opening in 1908
Photo from the website of Suscram, a group from Cramlington which promotes cycling on the former waggonways of North Tyneside.   It also has an interesting history of Rising Sun Colliery with photos.


Rising Sun Colliery lay between Battle Hill & Benton in North Tyneside.   Sinking of the colliery by the Wallsend & Hebburn Coal Co. started on 9 July 1906 & production began in 1908.   In 1935 it was described as probably the most complete coal preparation plant in the world, providing dry-cleaning, wet-washing, wet & dry screening, blending & mixing, plus other processes for producing high quality product.   During modernization in the 1950s a wider No.3 shaft was sunk to 1250 ft to increase output, & facilities added for another 500 workers.   In 1965 1,442 people worked below ground & 280 on the surface.   The colliery closed on 26 April 1969, making 1,180 people & 26 pit ponies redundant.   The colliery buildings were demolished and today the site forms part of the Rising Sun Country Park.
A striking 1935 view of Rising Sun Colliery - see Durham Mining Museum for more
1960s OS 6" map showing Rising Sun Colliery at top left
(see maps at National Library of Scotland)
Viaduct on the Killingworth Waggonway over Wallsend Dene
Coal from Rising Sun was initially moved down the Killingworth Waggonway (a late 18th century Grand Allies route).   After WWII this waggonway went out of use & the eastward route shown on the map joined the pit to the Tyne via the Seaton Burn waggonway route to Whitehill Point.

Eastwards from the colliery the route is now a bridleway through Silverlink & Middle Engine Lane.   Ahead is also the Rising Sun Country Park.
Turning round to look west, these rails in Kings Road are all that I found of the colliery
A nearby information board shows the colliery layout .....
..... looking west across the site of the 1950s no.3 shaft
The main site of Rising Sun Colliery facing SW, No.2 shaft 100 yards ahead, canteen & baths on the right.
The managers' row Rising Sun Cottages are behind the camera.
NCB No.32 at Rising Sun Colliery - Davenport 2521 of 1943, scrapped 1954
(photo from the Charlton Collection in the Armstrong Photographic Trust)
Waggons being loaded at Rising Sun - from a Tyne Tees documentary at BFI
See 7 mins into Your Heritage - The River Tyne narrated by Mike Neville in 1962
Hudswell Clarke 1823 of 1949 at Rising Sun Colliery on 10 June 1957
No.38 was built new for the colliery, & is now at Tanfield
(photo LG Charlton)

More on No.38 in the next post, but finishing this one with a collier .....
Renowned NE folk musician Johnny Handle worked at Rising Sun Colliery.
A folk tale is that Eric Burdon heard him sing The House of the Rising Sun.

Those with a local interest may like to read historical notes on Wallsend Colliery, which had the same owners as Rising Sun.

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