A Possible Pithead Baths Check From Stafford Colliery.

A possible Pithead Baths Check from Stafford Colliery, Stoke-on-Trent (Actual size 32 mm by 32 mm).

Can anyone provide any information relating to the above type of brass embossed check? It is believed to have originated from Stoke-on-Trent in North Staffordshire and could possibly have been used at Stafford Colliery prior to 1947. This particular check appears to be un-issued given that it does not carry the usual stamped identification number on either its obverse or reverse sides.

The check appears to be a workman's pithead baths (P.H.B.) identification check. Several other  P.H.B. checks are known from collieries across the United Kingdom as well as P.H.B. monetary tokens (which had a slightly different function). Most of these checks and tokens are thought to have originated prior to the nationalisation of the coal mining industry in 1947.

At least two specimens of the the above type of check are known and both of these originated from Stoke-on-Trent. The local collector that originally discovered these checks many years ago has attributed them as being P.H.B. checks from Stafford Colliery (AKA: Great Fenton Colliery) on the grounds that this colliery comprised of two main pits, the Homer and the Sutherland. Hence the initials "H" and "S" on the check. Homer and  (The Duke of) Sutherland were two of the principle characters in the Stafford Iron & Coal Company which operated Stafford Colliery from 1873 to 1947.   

Confirmation of  the attribution of the above check to Stafford Colliery plus any further information related to it would be most welcomed. 

Submitted By : Mark Smith.
Date: December 2003
You are certainly right in assuming that Homer and Sutherland were shafts at Stafford Colliery. My step father worked down the "Ash pit" or Sutherland from 1949 until it closed and as a 14 year old in 1952 I went on a "school trip" down the Homer.
I do not have any dates for the opening of the Pit Baths but they were there in 1949. If you visit Hanley Archives, or Stoke College Archives I am certain you will find what you are looking for.
The only official record I have relating to the pit head baths is in an information booklet (c.1953) for the N.C.B.'s  West Midlands Division - Area No 1 North Staffordshire. I quote verbatim,
Stafford No.1 Colliery (Hem Heath) - Pithead Baths /own boilers.  Accommodation for 1008 /Full Meals Canteen /Cycle store.
Stafford No. 2 Colliery Pithead Baths /own boilers.  Accommodation for 900 /Full Meals Canteen /Cycle store.
The above was obviously written before the new Hem Heath Colliery was built as no medical centre
is mentioned.
Submitted By : Rob Burden.
Date: June 2004.


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