Bristol Coalmining Archives Ltd

Bristol Coalmining Archives Limited was established in 1988 to provide a fast and efficient reporting service to local solicitors, surveyors and others involved in the property transfer services or in the construction industry.

About the Coalfield

Eastern Bristol and parts of South Gloucestershire and northern Somerset each lie over a coal basin where coal has been mined over many centuries. Although records have been kept from the latter part of the nineteenth century much of the mining is older for which few or no records have survived. The older the mining is, nearer the surface it is, with the earliest being surface or near surface workings; usually no records exist of these, or where they do exist, are not kept in a central location.

Often those living within the coalfield are not aware that there has ever been any mining as much of the evidence has been removed and old colliery sites taken over for industrial units or farmed; often later redeveloped for housing and more. As the last pit in the whole coalfield closed early in the 1970’s and those in Bristol before the last war, there are now very few miners and their families still living in this area who will remember any active mining.
Past mining can still affect the housing which has been built over these past workings, particularly if they are near surface or surface workings, such as crop workings or bell pits.

Reports are tailored to suit the requirements of the particular inquirer whether it be an individual private client or a solicitor acting on behalf of the purchaser of a single dwelling or a consultant investigating the planned development of a large site.

Our Extensive Archive

Bristol Coalmining Archives’ reports are based on the extensive archive built up over many years by the late John Cornwell, who obtained information from both public and private sources. BCA holds the most extensive collection of such information for Bristol, South Gloucestershire and Somerset. The collection comprises of early maps, plans and other archival material covering coalmining and other past industrial activity.

Typical Section Through a Coalfield

The diagram below is a typical imaginary section through a coalfield showing various coal seams, geological folding, a fault, weathering and redepositing of upper layers, crop workings, bell pits, water levels, worked seams, shafts, horse whims and engine houses. Click on any slide to pause the slideshow, move slides right or left to suit yourself.

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