Work commenced on Tilmanstone Colliery in 1906. The building of the East Kent Railway from Shepherdswell to Eythorne in 1912 improved the transport to carry materials for sinking the shaft. The first coal was raised in March 1913.
"The most advanced colliery is at Tilmanstone. This was commenced on the 7th of July, 1906, by the Foncage Syndicate, an offshoot of the Concessions, under the management of Mr. Nathanile Griffith, M.Inst.M.E. It was afterwards transferred, under the same able manager, to a new East Kent Colliery Company. This pit is equipped with engine power for pumping and winding, and is expected to be the first shaft to reach coal." (J.B.J. 1907)
The picture at the top of this page shows the winding gear at Tilmanstone in the late 1960s. In the foreground are the coal trucks waiting to take the coal along the East Kent Railway to Shepherdswell, where they would join the main London to Dover line.
Tilmanstone Colliery closed in 1986, the shafts being permanently sealed in April and May 1987. During its 74-year life, over 20 million tons of coal were extracted. Nothing remains of the colliery buildings - only three concrete slabs covering the shafts and a small monument now mark the site. The area is now occupied by the Pike Road Industrial Estate. Proposals have been made in recent years to build a theme park on the site, but no progress has been made to date.
The buildings in the background are part of the Pike Road Industrial Estate which now stands where some of the colliery buildings once stood
Below are two views of the site from different angles. On the left is the view from where the E.Kent Light Railway once entered the site, looking towards the coal tip. The view on the right shows the (now landscaped) coal tip on the right. The village of Elvington can be glimpsed on the top of the hill to the left.
The pictures below, showing two fine examples of lamp checks from Tilmanstone Colliery, were kindly provided by Mr. David Shaw.
Work began a few weeks ago on reclaiming the site for the new home of Kent Salads. They have uncovered a lot of shale and a few bits of old twisted machinery, but not much else. (Information supplied by Mark Frost, July 2000)