History of the Site
Sutton Manor Colliery was the only pit within the former St.Helens boundary to be opened during the 20th Century and the last to close.
It dates back to May 1906 when No.1 shaft (18 feet diameter; 1,823 feet deep) was sunk. No.2 shaft (22 feet diameter; 2,343 feet deep) was completed in 1912. The two shafts were inter-linked and it became one of the largest pits in the Lancashire coalfield.
At its height in the 1960s, Sutton Manor employed around 1,500 men producing more than 600,000 tonnes of coal a year.
When it closed in 1991 on the grounds of economic viability and profitability, the 450 remaining miners were still generating an output of over 450,000 tonnes per annum, and had only 8 months earlier broken the colliery's long-standing production record of 12,000 tonnes in a single week.
Following its closure, responsibility for Sutton Manor was transferred from British Coal to St.Helens Council who facilitated the importation of many thousands of tonnes of clean soils from the construction of the Trafford Centre in 1997 to cap the spoil heap and make it fit for tree planting.
Stewardship of the site was granted to the Forestry Commission in 2002, since when more than 50,000 new trees have been planted around Sutton Manor in conjunction with the Mersey Forest initiative.
Just as the colliery had been the primary economic and social hub of the local community, its closure left many feeling as though Sutton Manor had "lost its soul".
The strength of the bond forged by shared toil, hardship, and camaraderie was such that for many years afterwards some ex-miners chose to have their ashes scattered on the site.
These powerful sentiments and a yearning for something to commemorate the colliery's human heritage are fittingly captured in the poignant poem "Memories" by former Sutton Manor miner, Brian Salkeld.