It took between 6-8 years to sink the shaft 117 yards into the South Yorkshire coal seam, back in the 1840's. By 1848 1000 tonnes a day was being extracted.
On the 21st of December 1852, disaster happened when a ventilation door was left open and this caused firedamp in the area to ignite. Even though the miners were using safety lamps, the locks had been unscrewed and a naked flame revealed to produce more light. Ten people were killed and 12 injured.
A mining engineer at the mine, Benjamin Biram gave the following evidence at the enquiry.
"I have not the slightest hesitation in saying that it occurred from the combined efforts of leaving open a trap door in the 2nd south board gate, by which the circulation of air was diverted from its proper course in ventilating these boardings, and by the manner in which that door was shut, whereby the stagnated air which had accumulated in the board gates was brought upon the exposed light which belonged to Joseph Stenton, one of the men killed, and the gas ignited.
With regard to the lamp discipline, I regret it was not stricter."
Beneath this, is the a grill over the mine shaft. The sound is very impressive. A torrent of water is pouring into the blackness. The obligatory stone dropping took about three seconds before it hits the water. Scary and yet very cool. No picture. Sorry.
Elsecar Low Pit closed in 1920 and its headgear removed in 1935. One of its shafts is still used as a mine water pump station. The mine was pumped by a Cornish Beam engine prior to electric pumps being fitted.