Ancient Tramroads near Telford – Part 4 – Malinslee Part 1
Around 100 yards from our home in Telford there was once, many years ago, a colliery that was served by a tramway/waggonway.
Little Eyton Colliery was already disused by the time the survey was undertaken in 1881/1882 for the 6″ OS Maps published in 1888. The tramway had not yet been lifted, so it appears on the map extract below.
The Mindat.org website tells us that the colliery was owned in 1890 by the Haybridge Iron Co. It was in the ownership of the Stirchley Coal & Iron Co. from 1895 to 1896 and was back in the hands of the Haybridge Iron Co. by 1900. 
The Dawley History Website tells us that the Chartermaster in 1869 was Edward Bailey. 
There was a mining accident in 1869 at the Little Eyton Pit. … The Wellington Journal on Saturday 17th April 1869 carried this report:
The Late Fatal Accident. – On Saturday last an inquest was held at the Bull’s Head Inn, Lawley-bank, before J. Bidlake, Esq., on the body of Joseph Oliver, aged 37 years, whose death we recorded in last week’s Journal, when the following evidence was adduced:– John Oliver, son of deceased, deposed : My father worked at the Little Eyton Pit. Edward Bailey is chartermaster. It was a coal pit. I have worked at the pit a month. I have been driving. On Thursday morning, about nine o’clock, I was taking a draught of coal to the bottom of the shaft. I saw my father lying at the bottom with the basket on him. There was a lid on the basket, and another lid lying by the side of him. I ran off and told James Poole. I had seen my father about ten minutes before at the bottom. There was no one with him. He did not speak to me when I found him under the basket. I saw that his head was cut on the top, and also behind. He was lying on his back. One end of the basket was sticking up against the shaft, the other end on his stomach. The lids are about 2 ft. long. The lids on being sent down are tied under the tackler. – James Poole said : I work at the Little Eyton Pit. The last witness came and told me that his father was under the basket at the bottom of the shaft. I went there and found him. The deceased was lying at the bottom, with his head in the shaft, and not in the road. There was one lid in the basket not fastened, and one by him. He was about a yard from the side of the shaft. Three or four lids are generally sent down at a time. They are not usually lashed. There was no lasher round the basket when I saw the deceased. The lids are about three quarters of a yard. The pit is 200 yards. The hooker-on generally calls for lids. He had called for some that morning. I told him to do so, and he told me that he had done so. This was about half an hour before I found him. – John Perks said : I am banksman at the Little Eyton Pit. On Thursday morning deceased shouted for some trees and lids. I sent some down. I remember sending the last two lids down. It would be about half-past eight. I shouted “Joe” when I sent them down, but I got no answer. They were put under the tackler between the squares. We lash the trees. I have known of lids falling out before. I did not hear this drop or the skip catch. The Jury returned a verdict of “Accidentally killed.” 
By the time of the next OS survey of Malinslee, just after the turn of the 20th century, all traces of the tramways at the colliery site have disappeared.
The next few photographs show the Little Eyton Colliery site in the 21st century.
Leaving the colliery, the tramway followed the route of what is now Matlock Avenue.
The Dawley History website provides the following information about the Langleyfield site:
Langleyfield Collieries Ownership:
Coalbrookdale Company 1803 – 1826 Langley Field Company 1826 – 1856 Beriah Botfield 1856 – 1872 Haybridge Company 1872 – 1885 The site records the pit(s) having been sunk in ca. 1803 and closed ca. 1885. 
The website quotes Malcolm Peel, in his book, ‘The Pit Mounds of Dawley’ says that at Langleyfield: “There were at least ten shafts working at various times between 1803 and 1885, and they produced coal and ironstone. This large colliery was originally owned by the Coalbrookdale Company and in 1826 was sold to the Langley Field Company in which George Bishton and Adam Wright were partners. The colliery, ironworks and brick yard established here by Bishton and Wright were bought by Beriah Botfield in 1856, and after the breakup of the Botfield Empire the colliery was owned by the Haybridge Company.
In addition the Dawley History site highlights a short article in the Shrewsbury Chronicle on Friday 25th March 1836 advertising an auction of property at the Jerningham Arms Inn, Shiffnal, on Tuesday, 12th April, 1836, “at four o’clock in the afternoon, in one or more lots, or shares, and subject to such conditions as shall be determined on at the time of sale.” 
The sale included, freehold, around 30 acres of land and “two dwelling houses, with nine Cottages for workmen, Warehouses, Shops, Stables, Outbuildings, Yards, and Gardens, and several pieces or parcels of Land thereto belonging, situate at Langley Field, in the parish of Dawley Magna, in the county of Salop, … with the Mining works thereon erected, and the valuable Mines of coal, and iron-stone, clay, and other minerals under the same.” 
Also for sale were “two blast furnaces, one bridge house, two casting houses, one blast engine sixty horse power with four boilers complete, three cupolas (one at work as a foundry, and has a good casting house and stove, and the fires are blown from the blast engine), one steam engine to wind materials to the top of the furnaces, a blacksmith’s shop, an air furnace for heating boiler plates, and a punching engine, three machines for weighing coals and stone, three field winding engines, several shafts down to the mine, two stoves, one oven, one kiln for making bricks, and a mill for grinding fire clay, and every other possible convenience for carrying on the mines and works in full vigour.” 
According to Eddowes’s Journal, and General Advertiser for Shropshire, and the Principality of Wales – Wednesday 21st August 1844, the site was up for sale once again.
Of interest to us, in addition to a glowing and detailed description of the site and items for sale, is the following paragraph:
“The property is intersected with tram roads in every requisite direction, and is admirably arranged for carrying on the works at as little expense as possible, and contains within itself every convenience required for making superior iron, and the whole of the works may be put into full operation in a very short space of time, at a comparatively trifling outlay.” 
Elsewhere, the Dawley History site notes that the tramway was in use in the early 19th century. It was “known locally as the Jerry Rails. The now demolished nearby public house, The White Hart, was referred to in the 1861 census as the ‘Tom & Jerry’, called locally the ‘Jerry’. The name was obviously associated with the tramway and other features in the area.” 
We have explored the branch tramway which ran to the East on Hinkshay Road, we return no to look at the branch which runs to the West.
Returning to the junction on Hinkshay Road we continue our journey along the route of the tramway from Little Eyton Colliery.
We continue heading Southeast from the tramway ‘crossroad’ in the 6″ extract following the line between the Hinkshay Pools.
Immediately to the West of the Canal the tramway we have been following divided in two to access a wharf/wharves alongside the Coalport Branch of the LNWR.
In Part 2 of this review of tramways in the Malinslee area, after wandering South down the Coalport Branch to the site of Stirchley and Dawley Railway Station we will return along the ‘Jerry Rails’ past the Hinkshay Pools on their Southern side, past the Hinkshay Ironworks and then on round to the Stirchley Ironworks site and then follow where they lead.
Malcolm Peel; The Pit Mounds of Dawley; Dawley Heritage.
R.F. Savage & L.D.W. Smith; The Waggon-ways and Plateways of East Shropshire; Birmingham School of Architecture, 1965. Original document is held by the Archive Office of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust.