Coal Mining in Kent

Thanks to David Dixon of Dover for the loan of these pictures

A Brief History

"We would welcome any additional information, personal memories, pictures, etc., particularly from ex-miners and their descendants, to make these pages more interesting."

Statue of the Waiting Miner


"The exploration of the Kent Coal Field was commenced at Dover, and has been continued in its neighbourhood with remarkable success.  Most of the boreholes, and all the shafts that have been put down have been in the vicinity of Dover, and although at the present time the operations have not been advanced to the stage of obtaining a coal output, the certainty and importance of the coal discovery is now well established."

"The possibility of coal being found in Kent was for many years the dream of the geologists.  Mr. Godwin-Austin definitely advanced the theory in the year 1857, and his views were accepted by Sir Joseph Prestwich, one of the members of the Coal Commission of 1866-71.

"In addition to Mr. Brady's original search at Shakespeare's Cliff, other borings, previous to 1904, were undertaken to test the extent of the Kent Coal Field, but only three of those were carried deep enough to obtain definite results.  One, at Brabourne, at a depth of 2,004 feet, struck the older rocks, proving that the coal measures were absent.  At Ropersole, Barham, a boring of 2,129 feet deep, pierced 548 feet of coal measures containing 12 very thin seams of coal.  At Ellinge, five miles north-west form Dover, the coal measures were found in a boring at a depth of 1,686 feet, and the boring was carried on 129 feet in the coal measures, but it was suspended before any coal seams were reached.  None of these three borings have been followed up by sinking shafts."

(Bavington Jones, 1907)


PLEASE NOTE: The photographs on these pages may be copied for personal use only, provided that the copyright notice is retained.  The paintings may not be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the artist, for which a reproduction fee will be charged.


Links to Individual Collieries and Borings

  Betteshanger Opened 1921, closed 1989
  Chislet Produced coal from 1918 to 1969
  Guilford Closed in the 1920s (Waldershare boring)
  Shakespeare Closed in 1915
  Snowdown Produced coal from 1912 to 1986 (Fredville boring)
  Stonehall Abandoned in 1914
  Tilmanstone Produced coal from 1913 to 1986
  Wingham Abandoned in 1914
  Woodnesborough Abandoned in 1914
  ------------------------- Goodnestone boring  

Thanks to my cousin, David Dixon of Dover, for the loan of the pictures at the top of this page, which recently surfaced from the collection of one of my mother's aunts. 

Thanks also to Briony Sutcliffe for the information on the Shakespeare Colliery accident and to Mark Frost of Deal for providing additional information about some of the collieries.

Information for this section of the site has been obtained from various sources, including: Ritchie (1919), Sherren (1990), Armstrong (1995) and Bavington Jones (1907). 

These pages are still under construction and further information will be added as we find it, along with pictures and links to other related sites.

For a brief description of life in the mines at the turn of the century, see Griffin (1982).

Click here for a map showing the approximate locations of the mines in East Kent. (temporarily removed)


Alan Andrews, an ex coal miner now living in the USA, is developing a database of ex UK miners around the world.  To register your details or to look up old friends, go to


This page last modified on March 26, 2007