By Jim Worgan

The last remaining deep mine in the small but extensively worked Cheadle Coalfield. Mining in a small way has been known in the Dilhorne/Godley Brook area for many years and Samuel Bamford actually mined coal on the site eventually selected for Foxfield Colliery. It was not however until the early 1880's however that work at Foxfield commenced under the direction of John and Enoch Mann of Blakeley House, Cresswellford. By 1884 coal was being mined but it was not until 1888 that shaft sinking was completed. The original shaft was sunk to a depth of 725 feet and a second shaft was also sunk down to the Woodhead Seam level which remained the coal drawing level for the life of the mine. As production gradually increased, the Company constructed a private railway some 3 1/2 miles long, to connect with the North Staffordshire Railway Stoke to Derby line at Blythe Bridge. Because of the intransigence of a local landowner, the Company was forced to divert the line around his land via Dilhorne Wood which entered the Colliery from the opposite direction to Blythe Bridge. It was the Companies intention to connect the Colliery to the Cheadle Railway which had been proposed but was not completed until 1901.

Messrs Mann converted their undertaking into a private limited company on the 12thMay 1893, being registered as Foxfield Colliery Co. Ltd. with a share capital of #25,000 in #10 shares. The company went into voluntary liquidation on the 23rd August 1927 and was eventually sold together with all freehold, leasehold and mining rights to Parkhall Colliery Co. Ltd. of Cheadle, the final meeting of the old Company being held on the 3rd October 1927. The Company continued to operate both Parkhall and Foxfield Collieries independently, even though they were connected underground. Under the Coal Mines Act of 1930, the Parkhall and Foxfield combined annual output was confirmed at 160,000 tons and the grandiose scheme for a substantial increase in annual output to keep pace with the Potteries Coal field was reluctantly abandoned. Shortly after a decision was taken to close Parkhall Colliery which remained as a pumping pit until final abandonment around the time of the Second World War.

Following Nationalisation Cash Heath Wharf closed in 1949 and all landsale operations were concentrated at the Colliery. Pithead Baths were not erected until July 1949 and a new spoil tip was brought into operation around 1950. The Colliery was never economic particularly in view of the small output and owing to the high cost of development work, and a decision was taken to close the Colliery in 1965 with the majority of the men being transferred to Florence Colliery. Thus deep mining operations came to a close in the small but productive Cheadle coalfield. On closure the site was sold to Tean Minerals and later to Fergusson Wilde and today (1996), the majority of the Surface buildings remain including the concrete Headgears of both Shafts.

The Railway line to Blythe Bridge was sold to the Foxfield Railway Society which concentrated its activities from Cash Heath Wharf to Dilhorne Wood, but the line to both Blythe Bridge and the Colliery are still in situ. The Society intend to relay lines into the Colliery yard and create a Station which once again will entail a gradient of 1 in 19 out of the Colliery yard. In 1995, an attempt was made by a group of local people to create a Mining Museum on site at Foxfield Colliery in conjunction with the Railway Society, but unfortunately in failed to `Get off the ground'.

See also Old Pits By Geoff Mould