Manvers Main Colliery

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Manvers Main Colliery was a coal mine, sunk on land belonging to the Earl Manvers and was situated on the northern edge of the town of Wath-upon-Dearne, between that town and Mexborough, in the Dearne Valley, South Yorkshire, England. Within the complex was the regional headquarters and laboratories of British Coal.

Manvers was, in fact, a complex of collieries, the original sinkings being known as "Old Manvers", the later sinkings as "New Manvers", and a coke and by-products plant. The first shaft was sunk in the late 19th century and this was followed by the second shaft, sunk between 1900 and 1901, and later a third shaft was added.

The Manvers Main Colliery Company was also responsible, in 1911, for the sinking of two shafts at Barnburgh, a village about two miles north east. The collieries were connected by a private railway.

Between 1920 and 1934, the manager of the coke-oven, washery and brickworks departments at Manvers Main was Cornelius Finn, who during this period (1923–24) was also president of the Coke Oven Managers Association.[1]

On 4 March 1945, the colliery suffered an accident that caused the death of five underground workers. The cause was an explosion of firedamp ignited by sparks from a damaged trailing cable.

Immediately prior to nationalisation, Manvers was owned by Manvers Main Collieries Ltd. The coke ovens and coal by-products plant were closed in 1981. With rationalisation in the South Yorkshire coalfield, from 1950 to 1956, this became the centre of coal output from a number of local collieries (known as the South Manvers complex) linked below ground and including Wath Main and Kilnhurst. The colliery complex was closed on 25 March 1988.

Dereliction and rebirth[edit]

The land remained derelict until the mid–1990s, when the government started a regeneration programme with the assistance of the European Social Fund. Manvers, and the adjoining areas that were formerly the Wath Main Colliery and the Wath railway marshalling yard were bulldozed, landscaped and are now an area of light industry and commerce, with a beautiful nature reserve managed by the RSPB Old Moor Wetland Centre RSPB reserve, and a 45 acre lake Manvers Lake created, the site includes call centres of companies such as Ventura (bought out by CAPITA in 2011; CAPITA fully took over on 1 January 2012), TSC, T-Mobile and many others occupying purpose-built units. They are now the area's largest private employers, with approximately 60,000 employees between them. It was also home to the nursing campus of the University of Sheffield and is now home to the Dearne Valley College [DVC].

Plans have now been completed and implemented for 9 hole golf course with driving range, hotel, restaurants and residential home after the original plan for a multiplex cinema was objected to by Barnsley Council. In 2008 the British Canoe Union took a 250-year lease on Manvers Lake [aka "Wath Lake - Manvers"]. A boat house complex including cafe, slipway and parking was completed in 2010. With Sport England assistance an Annex was added in 2015. A thriving multi sport club, "Manvers Waterfront Boat Club" has been established in the Boat house with 800 members, who take part in, Canoeing, Kayaking, Triathlon, Running, Cycling, Angling, Dragon Boating and Model boating. In 2016 management of the boathouse, lake and public areas were vested in "The Manvers Lake and Dearne Valley Trust Ltd". A registered charity.

Several very large distribution and warehousing centres have been built in Manvers: these are so large as to dominate the surrounding area. Maplin Electronics and Next are two of the companies that are located in these buildings, Maplin after relocating their headquarters there from Wombwell, two miles away. In 2015 a regional incinerator complex was completed on the Easter Edge of the site.

In 2009, several builders began construction of housing developments based around the lake at Manvers. Completed in 2015 the area now has more than 300 homes consisting of apartments and houses.

Other developments such as retail outlets, a health centre and restaurants were completed in 2016 to add to the Blue Bell public house already on the site.


  • Reports of RiDO, Rotherham Investment and Development Office.


Coordinates: 53°30′18″N 1°19′30″W / 53.505°N 1.325°W / 53.505; -1.325