Seaton Burn Colliery circa 1901.
Seaton Burn Colliery began operating in June 1841, under the ownership of a partnership of wealthy families known as the ‘Grand Alliance’.
After the Colliery opened, workers came from all over the country to take jobs at the pit. The population of Seaton Burn rose from 606 in 1851 to between 1300 and 1400 in 1875 – the Colliery being the major employer.
In 1850 the Colliery was acquired by J. Bowes of C. Palmer & Co., and then, in May 1899, it was sold to the Seaton Burn Coal Company. By 1911, the Colliery employed 1,275 workers.
In 1939, the Seaton Burn Coal Company went into liquidation. The Colliery was taken over by Hartley Mains Collieries Ltd., who introduced improvements. The National Coal Board took over the UK mining industry in 1947.
By 1948, two coal seams were exhausted. The Brenkley Drift Mine project commenced in 1953 in an effort to maintain production levels and extend the life of the Colliery. The drift, which started production in 1955, was isolated from the Colliery site and the two were connected by a narrow gauge rope-hauled inclined railway.
In 1960, the workforce at Seaton Burn was reduced to 194 underground and 18 surface workers. Seaton Burn Colliery closed on 2 August 1963. The Brenkley Drift continued until just after the Miners’ Strike in 1985.
Seaton Burn Colliery - Brenkley Colliery a few years before it closed