Collieries in Burnhope

Burnhope developed in the 1840s on empty upland fields after the land was linked by wagonway to areas further north at Craghead and South Moor. The mine and wagonway was developed by the famous industrialist William Hedley who built the Puffing Billy locomotive at Wylam Colliery in 1813.
Hedley's four sons continued Burnhope's colliery developments after his death. At first the mine was called Ibbotson's Sike Pit after a nearby stream but was renamed the Fortune Pit. The village seems to have been initially called the Sikes.

Annie Pit and Fell Pit opened at the colliery in 1868 along with a short-lived pit at Jaw Blades, but other mines followed at Burnhope Colliery in subsequent decades including several neighbouring drifts.

At some stage the colliery passed to new owners and then changed hands again but dates are uncertain. We know however that in 1881 the mine was sold to a man called Utrick Ritson.

Burnhope Colliery remained in the hands of Ritson's successors until 1939 when Bearpark Coal and Coke Company acquired the mine.

A five-mile aerial ropeway was built from Burnhope to Bearpark enabling the movement of Burnhope coal to Bearpark's colliery coke works. Burnhope Colliery closed in 1949 shortly after it was acquired by the NCB.