HISTORIAN Jack Nadin researches the history of Burnley’s largest mine, Bank Hall Colliery, 40 years after its closure.

Once described as Burnley’s finest pit, it was sunk in 1865 by the executors of John Hargreaves, the main owner of the mines around the town.

Originally there were two shafts, and one of them was used for more than 100 years, being retained right up to closure.

A third shaft was sunk in 1903 and became known as the ‘Dandy Pit’ on account of the seam worked.

The fourth shaft was sunk 11 years later and had the largest diameter and was the deepest, at 1,500 feet, in the Burnley coalfield.

Massive reorganisation took place in the early 1950s soon after nationalisation which included a new pit bottom, surface layout, and the introduction of large mine cars.

The pit became self-sufficient as far as workshops were concerned.

The massive headgear over the fourth shaft was built there, as were the gates put up at the Colne Road entrance in 1953.

By the early 1970s time was running out for the old colliery and there were frequent ignitions at the coalface caused by the new machinery, raising fears of an underground explosion.

The Hapton Valley pit explosion of 1962 was still fresh in the minds of many – and the decision to close the pit was made in 1971.

Another main factor was that it had lost more than £1million that year.

Among the miners who lost their jobs were Bob Wilson, who was working in his sixth pit, John Shaw who had gone straight into the job after leaving school, and Joe Pennington, who decided to retire.

Some of the men did get transferred to Hapton Valley until that, too, was closed down 10 years later.

Our photograph shows miners at Bank Hall receiving training certificates in1953.

Left to right are H Clegg, area agent; T Jeremiah, training officer; and W Rawstron, pit manager. New trainees are J Shuttleworth, T Cottom, Burnley FC centre half Tommy Cummings, and R Stephenson.

The chap wearing glasses in the background, far right, is unknown.

Perhaps you recognise him.

Do you have any photographs, memories, or stories, to share with Looking Back readers? Please get in touch.