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Entrance to underground canal, Hollingwood, 1991
8 June 1991
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Remains of the entrance to the Hollingwood Common Canal tunnel, exposed during opencast coal operations. This was a navigable underground level driven southwards from the Chesterfield Canal in a straight line for about 1.75 miles to serve ironstone and later coal workings in the vicinity of Ringwood Hall. It featured seven ventilation shafts along its route and probably went out of use in the nineteenth century. The entrance lies a little to the east of the bridge carrying Works Road over the Chesterfield Canal.
An account of 1811 (but probably relating to a visit he made about 1800) by John Farey describes it thus: 'The Hollingwood Common Canal is a tunnel one and threequarter mile long, and not connecting with the Chesterfield Canal but kept one foot lower by means of a culvert under the canal. The whole of its length except the first 300 yards is driven in the Deep End or Squires seam. It is used for draining and working the coal seam and two others near to it produce good coking coals for the Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire market. At its southern end it is about 80 yards from the surface. The tunnel is 6 foot high, 5 feet 9 inches wide with 2 foot of water. The boats are 21 foot long, 3 feet 6 inches wide and hold seven coves or boxes containing 20 to 22 hundredweight of coal each. When the tunnel boats arrive at the side of the canal a crane is used to hoist up these boxes and empty the contents into a canal boat. Canal barges on the Chesterfield Canal for the conveyance of coal were 70 foot long, 7 feet wide and capable of holding 20 tons of coal. Near to the middle of the tunnel there are 68 yards driven through a grit stone without the arching being held up by bricks as it is in other places along its length. This curious colliery belongs to His Grace the Duke of Devonshire on his own account under the direction of Mr George Dickens his colliery agent'.