REASONS FOR DESIGNATION
Coal has been mined in England since Roman times, and between 8,000 and 10,000 coal industry sites of all dates up to the collieries of post-war nationalisation are estimated to survive in England. Three hundred and four coal industry sites, representing approximately 3% of the estimated national archaeological resource for the industry, have been identified as being of national importance. This selection, compiled and assessed through a comprehensive survey of the coal industry, is designed to represent the industry's chronological depth, technological breadth and regional diversity. Coking is the process by which coal is heated or part burnt to remove volatile impurities and leave lumps of carbon known as coke. Originally this was conducted in open heaps, sometimes arranged on stone bases, but from the mid- 18th century purpose built ovens were employed. By the mid-19th century two main forms of coking oven had developed, the beehive and long oven, which are thought to have been operationally similar, differing only in shape. Coke ovens were typically built as long banks with many tens of ovens arranged in single or back to back rows, although stand alone ovens and short banks are also known. They typically survive as stone or brick structures, but earth- covered examples also exist. Later examples may also include remains of associated chimneys, condensers and tanks used to collect by-products. Coke ovens are most frequently found directly associated with coal mining sites, although they also occur at ironworks or next to transport features such as canal basins. Coal occurs in significant deposits throughout large parts of England and this has given rise to a variety of coalfields extending from the north of England to the Kent coast. Each region has its own history of exploitation, and characteristic sites range from the small, compact collieries of north Somerset to the large, intensive units of the north east. All surviving pre- 1815 ovens are considered to be of national importance and merit protection, as do all surviving examples of later non-beehive ovens. The survival of beehive ovens is more common nationally and a selection of the better preserved examples demonstrating the range of organisational layouts and regional spread is considered to merit protection.
The coke ovens 120m north east of Summerley House survive well, and are considered to be rare examples of beehive ovens nationally. Their structural remains and buried features, particularly internal ones, will provide valuable information on the layout and operation of coking ovens during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The monument lies 120m north east of Summerley House, and includes the ruined buildings, earthworks and buried remains of the Summerley coke ovens and associated features. The Summerley coke ovens served the colliery of the same name, which has since been cleared. The ovens represent a very rare survival of intact beehive coke ovens in a large range with much of its internal detail preserved. The coke ovens and colliery were opened shortly after the main line railway reached the area in 1871. Originally taking coal from the colliery, the ovens had attained their present size by 1876 and continued to operate after the colliery closed in 1884, remaining in use until 1921. The ovens are in two back-to-back banks, each of 24 beehive-shaped chambers with portals and voussoirs of brick or stone, and brick vaulting within. Some have been re-lined in brick or stone on one or more occasions. On each side of the range, four narrow stone stairways between chambers give access to the top, where the remains of four collapsed square-based chimneys can be seen. The remains of brick-lined flues are also partly visible here, and further flues will survive as buried features. They are of two types; those running along the range to connect a number of ovens to a chimney, and those running diagonally across the range to connect an individual oven to a chimney. Spoilheaps, adjacent to the ovens, are included in the scheduling and will provide additional information on the operation of the ovens. Also included in the scheduling is a part of the former railway, whose remains will preserve valuable details of the relationship between the railway and coke ovens. Modern field boundaries are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.
Book Reference - Title: Dronfield, 19thC Beehive Coke Ovens and Associated... - Date: 1983 - Type: SMR - Description: Ref: DR 4724
Map Reference - Author: Ordnance Survey - Title: Ordnance Survey 1st Edition 25" - Date: 1897 - Type: MAP
Article Reference - Author: Battye, K et al - Title: Summerley Colliery Coke Ovens - Date: 1991 - Journal Title: Industrial Archaeology Review - Volume: XIII, 2 - Page References: 152-161 - Type: DESC TEXT - Description: Includes measured plan & elevations