On the 31st December 1852 William Worswick signed a 35 year coal mining lease with Wyggeston Hospital. The Coleorton No 2 Colliery was then sunk. It became known as the Califat mine after the Russian siege of the town of Calafat (then part of the Turkish Ottoman Empire, now in Romania) January to April 1854.
The Califat Coal Mine had two shafts. The Califat shaft was used for winding and the engine and boiler house complex has been excavated by LIHS June 2006 to 2019. The Alabama shaft was used for pumping and the engine and boiler house complex was excavated 1993-1999. The miners cottages excavation began in March 2016.
- The consolidations of the mining buildings.
- The excavation of the miners’ cottages.
- The partnership excavation with Leicestershire Industrial History Society
- Monthly photographic reports of the dig’s progress
- 1863’s cage overwind fatality when one man fell to his death
- 1863’s flooding fatalities when three miners died
- Lives and work of Califat coal miners
- How the Walker, Bailey, Lewis and Gray families formed a coal mining dynasty spread through eight counties over 150 years.
- Coal Mining guided tours.
- See Steve Picker’s LeiceExplore Raper and Fenton Mine and Califat Colliery video on YouTube.
Califat Shaft – Engine House and Boiler House Consolidations
In May 2013 the Califat engine house was stabilised by Classic Builders of Ashby. Original bricks from the excavation were used to partially rebuild the walls, so that the outline of the engine house could be more easily understood. It is believed that there would have been an engine on each half of the central engine plinth. Photos by Bill Pemberton.
To see more read the Engine house excavation and consolidation photo history
In June 2014 the Califat boiler house was stabilised. As with the engine house stabilisation, walls were rebuilt on the lines revealed by the excavation. The position of the three boiler cradles and their stoke pits can be seen. Photos by Bill Pemberton.
By arrangement, Larry South brought his drone to the Califat in February 2019 to take aerial photos of the Califat engine house complex.
When taking visitors on a tour of the Califat we used to point to a mass of brambles and hawthorn and tell them there were miners’ cottages there. In March 2016 we started by clearing the scrub and as soon as digging began evidence of the cottages started to emerge.
Larry South’s drone photos show the entrance porch and the room to the right. There were two cottages next to each other, about 75% of one cottage is on Trust land.
The Swannington Heritage Trust partnership with Leicestershire Industrial History Society is very important. LIHS lead the dig on the second Tuesday of the month, 9.30am-1pm. Visitors and new diggers are always welcome. See diary for Califat Coal Mine tours during the ‘Festival of Archaeology’ in July and ‘Hello Heritage’ in September.
Recording the dig is essential, as is the social dimension of the dig. The coffee break, Christmas barbecue and monthly post dig lunch at the Bull’s Head, Thringstone, involves discussion about all manner of subjects as well as the dig.