Palterton Air Shaft / Markham no. 5

The pit that never was!

For years locals referred to Palterton Air Shaft as the "Palterton pit".

It was also known as Mackerel Main pit, though I am not certain why it was so named.  Village folklore states that Friday being a traditional day for a fish meal, fish would be delivered to the pit on Friday mornings. The womenfolk of the miners would go to the pit to collect their menfolks wages and at the same time buy their fish.  Mackerel was the favoured fish at that time.  Hence Mackerel Main.

However, its' correct name was the Palterton Air Shaft, though some locals referred to it as Markham number 5 shaft.  It had more to do with Markham Colliery than Palterton.  It was sunk in 1919 to a depth of over 100 feet and was used as a man riding shaft and ventilation purposes only.

Pit headstocks similar to Palterton pit

It was sunk on the north side of Carr Lane, close by Bucks Bridge, around 1919.

A small amount of coal is stated to have been removed from the pit bottom, but it was never a pit that actually turned coal.

Quite simply, it was easier and quicker for miners at Markham Colliery working underground in the area to use the train or other means of transport to arrive at the Air Shaft and use this shaft to descend to their workplace.

It dispensed with the long journey underground at the start and end of each shift.  It reduced travelling time.  That had the effect of the miners spending more time actually working.  It provided an improvement to the ventilation system in the Top Hard seam workings of Markham Colliery.

1921.  The Palterton Air Shaft ceased to be used.

The railway Station Masters House was on the south side of Carr Lane about 100 metres south east of this location.

Palterton Air Shaft / Markham no. 5


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Created 2 December 2001
Last updated: 3 February 2003