Ironbridge and Madeley are on the south side of TelfordHistorical Background
The Lloyds (part way between Ironbridge and Coalport) is another ancient part of the Coalbrookdale mining field.

Several of the pits in this area had steam engines at a very early date, probably some of the earliest in Shropshire. Those built before about 1790 were almost all used for pumping, but from this time engines for winding were also built.

According to Trinder in "Industrial Revolution in Shropshire" the first steam engine in Shropshire was probably erected in the Madeley Glebe coalworks about the middle of 1719.

Another early engine was probably also erected here, at Smiths Gin Pit in the Lloyds in 1726. By 1790 there were also three engines at Union, Wharf and Cape pits and by the end of 1794, a fourth had been built at Brickkiln Leasows. Nine more were then constructed for the Madeley Field of which one was to become a second at Brickkiln Leasows, and others at the Pennystone Pits, New Dingle Pit and Lane Pit. The other four were for pits outside this immediate area.

to Location map of mines down River from Ironbridge The sites of some of these early mines, down the River Severn from Ironbridge are indicated on the location map, and the numbers used below relate to those on the map.

Except for some old photos and engravings, and some, possibly much altered brickwork structures at the Lloyds and Blists Hill nothing can be seen of any of these, but the sites of some possibly later engines are discernible.

The boiler fires were also used for aiding ventilation as can be seen from the following description by the Swedish diarist, Suedenatierna in 1802:

  • "at a coalmine above Mr. Reynolds furnace (Bedlam?) a small steam engine of 3 hp ..... drew coal from a depth of several fathoms. The boiler of this small engine was built into a chimney, which served as a ventilator of the mine, so that a separate firing for the last mentioned purpose was obviated."
    (from Journal of West Midlands Studies III 1970)


1. Stilehouse Pit
to Location map of mines down River from Ironbridge Shown as Lloyds Stile House Pit on an 1840 lease, and in an area known as Lloyds Stile. The origin of the name 'Lloyd' is still in dispute but there are many persons of this name in the area, even back in the 18th C. The name of this pit could well have been that of the Chartermaster.

Stilehouse along with many of the following pits probably closed in the 1830's/40's when the ironworks were being moved to Blists Hill and the mines were exhausting.


2. Baugh's Pit
to Location map of mines down River from Ironbridge In Upper Lloyds, shown as John Baugh's Penny Pit on the 1840 lease. Its name is self-explanatory, it may also have been the 'Pennystone Pit', which had an engine as it stands on a prominent mound of waste. (The 'upper' pits tended to work Pennystone, the 'lower' pits Crawstone ironstone).

A William Baugh was Chartermaster in Madeley in 1791 (VCH p120) and Baugh's occupied 7 plots on the 1847 Tithe Map and schedule.

This shaft was probably closed in the 1840's and until recently was covered with a brick 'bee-hive' covering.


3. Middle Pit
to Location map of mines down River from Ironbridge This is shown as a single shaft in Upper Lloyds on the 1840 lease. Very little is known but it probably worked Pennystone ironstone. The name 'Middle' is a local family name, so this may be the name of the Chartermaster.

The pit probably closed in the 1840's.


4. Dales Pit
to Location map of mines down River from Ironbridge A similar description and history to Middle Pit, again Dale is a local family name.


5. Lloyds Clay Pit
to Location map of mines down River from Ironbridge This pit is shown on the Tithe Map of 1847 and was still working in the 1880's, but had closed by 1890.

On the 1882 OS Map it is shown to be a single shaft, and connected by tramway to the Bedlam brickworks. It is believed that there was also a brickworks near here to make the bricks for the shaft walls and local housing in the Lloyds. The mine had at least one building but may have been quite shallow since W.Yates of Madeley (who began work as a clay miner in 1892) told the writer that the mine worked 'red clay' ie: Hadley Formation deposits. He also said that Ben Maddox, (Mayor of Wenlock at the time - about 1910), was 'blowed' here in the 1880's (in this area to be 'blowed' meant, having been in a mine gas explosion).


6. Lloyds Ironstone & Coal Pit or Lloyds Crawstone Pit
to Location map of mines down River from Ironbridge This was a substantial pit in the 1880's. It adjoined the now, nearly deserted, community around New Buildings and was probably developed about the same time 1780-90's.

The colliery had some early steam engines, one may have been drawn by Smyth in the 1840's.

It closed about 1890, but may have reopened for a short period about 1900.


7. New Coppice Pit
to Location map of mines down River from Ironbridge It is shown as a single shaft on the 1840 lease, but the area was badly affected by landslip before 1880.


8 & 9. Union and Wharf Pits
to Location map of mines down River from Ironbridge Union & Wharf Pits from 1840's Tithe Map These mines had an engine house almost midway between them. There were two engines in 1790's, but only one in the 1840's. Unusually, the 1840 lease appears to show the single engine house connected by winding chain from an outside drum, but supported by at least 2 rolley posts - shown in drawings made at the time by Smyth, and Tancred.

The pits had closed by 1880.

Further along the riverside road (to the south) there is an isolated shaft on a promontory (at point 16 on the location map). This may have been Cape Pit which also had an early steam engine.

Other mines known to have had early steam engines such as Paddock Hill, Bedlam and Cumberland cannot now be located, but they were probably near Baugh's Penny Pit.


In addition to those mentioned in the text:

  • "Underground in the Ironbridge Gorge", I.J.Brown, I.A.Review Vol. III, No.2 Spring 1979
  • "The Lloyds", I.J.Brown, I.A.Review Vol. XIV No.1 1991


Report & Sketch: Ivor Brown


Bad Air Warning Bad Air - Although these mines are now sealed bad air - mainly oxygen deficiency has been recorded in them in the past.

If you visit the area: DO NOT enter any workings or tunnels without proper precautions - people have died in tunnels in the Gorge through bad air, so BEWARE.