Water Haigh Colliery

1932 map showing Water Haigh’s buildings, railway lines and sidings.

A short stretch of roadway with some rusting iron fence posts just off Fleet Lane in Woodlesford is all that survives of Water Haigh Colliery. The pit was a relatively new one. It’s two main shafts were sunk several years before the First World War and produced coal for about 60 years before closure in 1970 when it had run out of economically mineable reserves. Before nationalisation in 1947 it was owned by Henry Briggs, Son and Company Ltd. and throughout its life the coal was carried away on the Aire and Calder Canal, by the railway, and by lorry. Here Frank Benson and Ken Watson, who were both colliery clerks, remember their working life at Water Haigh.

Frank Benson and Ken Watson talk about their time at Water Haigh

Ken Watson (with miner’s safety lamp) and Frank Benson retrace their walk to work in August 2009.
Frank Benson started as an errand boy at the pit, age 14, in 1943. He’s pictured here at the door to the Time Office a few years later. On the left is the window where the miners and surface workers collected their weekly wage packets.
A wage slip from 1947.