The coal mining industry in Westhoughton was the major employer for men for decades before the last pit closed in 1936.
There were 26 coal mines in total within the district, the earliest started working about 1764.
The Hulton Colliery Company was the largest mining company in Westhoughton and eventually operated seven pits, the earliest three being located north of the A6. The infamous Pretoria Pit, where 344 men and boys were killed on 21st Dec 1910, was also known as Chequerbent Bank Pits 3 and 4 and were constructed in 1901 and closed in 1934. Pits were closed because they were uneconomic or flooded. A map showing the names and locations of these 26 pits is shown below. A comprehensive book produced by Pam Clarke entitled “The Coal Mines of Westhoughton” is available in Westhoughton public library.
This page shows a range of the most well-known pits around Westhoughton. To see a presentation about early coal mining in the area, click here.