Coal Industry Records

Coal Industry Records

From the middle of the nineteenth century to the later twentieth century, the coal industry played an increasingly large role in the life of the Doncaster district.

The first colliery sunk in the area, at Denaby Main, opened in the mid-1860s and another, operated by the same company, opened at nearby Cadeby Main thirty years later, but it was the twentieth century that saw the great expansion of the Doncaster coalfield.

New collieries were developed at Edlington (the Yorkshire Main colliery), Brodsworth, Armthorpe, Rossington, Carcroft (the Bullcroft colliery), Hatfield and Thorne and the predominantly rural landscape of the district became the site of new mining communities, drawing their populations from far and wide.

Over the last two decades, however, coal has been in decline and has now shrunk to a vestige of its former importance, leaving major economic and social problems behind. No understanding of the area can be complete without a knowledge of what was its major industry for more than a century.

Doncaster Archives holds very few records relating to the coal industry. Details can be found in the Guide to Doncaster Archives. The records of the collieries for the South Yorkshire area have for many years been deposited by British Coal with Sheffield Archives.

Doncaster Archives has a catalogue of the records held by Sheffield Archives up to the 1980s. Many more, however, have been deposited there recently. These will take a considerable time to catalogue before they can be available to users. Please contact Sheffield Archives for further information. The e-mail address for Sheffield Archives is

The four metropolitan district archive services of South Yorkshire (Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield) have collaborated in a major project to make the existing catalogues relating to the coal industry in South Yorkshire available online. They can be found on the Access to Archives website at


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