Albany, Tyne and Wear
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Albany shown within Tyne and Wear
|OS grid reference||NZ295572|
Albany is a suburb of Washington in the metropolitan borough of Sunderland in Tyne and Wear, England. It is in the north of the town. Nearby places are Washington Village, Blackfell and Donwell. The village is also relatively close to The Galleries Shopping Centre, Washington.
Washington F.C. play their home games at Albany Park, but the football ground is often mistaken for being a part of Concord Village, which is just east of Albany.
Washington 'F' Pit museum
The Washington 'F' Pit museum is located in the village, consisting of an engine house and winding gear built atop one of the earliest colliery shafts in the country. In 1775 a lease was given to William Russell enabling him to mine coal on the Washington estate. He sank eight pits (designated 'A' to 'I') in the ensuing years; 'F' pit is believed to date from 1777. In 1856 the pit was extended down to a depth of 660 feet in order to access the Hutton Seam; in 1954 it was further deepened to reach the Busty Seam at a depth of 927 feet. For a time it was the most productive pit on the Washington coalfield, employing over 1500 men and garnering an annual total of 486,000 tons of usable coal in 1964-5. It was closed on 21 June 1968 as part of the National Coal Board's modernisation programme.
The engine house was built in 1903 to house a steam winder engine (which had previously been in use elsewhere). The engine, which remained in regular use until the pit's closure, is still in situ. It is an 1888 horizontal, simplex (i.e. non-compound) steam engine built by the Grange Iron Company of Durham City. The same company oversaw the re-siting of the engine in 1903, and they took the opportunity then of adding their latest patent steam expansion valves to maximize the engine's efficiency.
The 'F' Pit museum is one of the only physical reminders in Washington of the countless colliery installations which once dominated the area. It is open to the public, but on an irregular basis; as well as displays and exhibits, the engine can be viewed in motion (driven by electric motor).
- Washington 'F' Pit - official site
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