Monument record MDR13340 - Oil well (remains of), Oilwell Nursery, Chesterfield Road, Tibshelf

Type and Period (2)

  • (Early 20th Century to Mid 20th Century - 1919 AD to 1946 AD)
  • (Early 20th Century to Mid 20th Century - 1919 AD to 1946 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Full Description

During the First World War, the consumption of oil and its by-products rose dramatically. In 1918 the government, disturbed by German disruption of shipping, began to search for oil in the British Isles and commissioned the sinking of a number of wells in Scotland, North Staffordshire and North Derbyshire. In 1919 oil was struck at Hardstoft; if flowed naturally for a time before having to be pumped, and this well proved to be the only productive one in the country for some time. The site is now a garden centre, and only the storage tank remains, although oil still seeps out. (1) The remains of an oil well lie behind the 'Oilwell Garden Centre' near Hardstoft, although the collection tank and associated pipework are all that remains. A patch of ground is covered with oil seepage. Oil was first struck in 1919 but the well was clossed down in the 1930s as it was not economic, producing as it did high grade oil but only a small quantity. It was reopened during World War II and closed again in about 1946. (2) The British Government became increasingly aware during the First World War of the importance of oil as a source of energy and, as a result, surveys were carried out to identify likely parts of the country where oil reserves might be found in sufficient quantity for major exploitation. These surveys revealed that Derbyshire, and the Hardstoft area in particular, was geologically worth exploring and a deep well was sunk there at the end of the war, the first of eleven exploratory wells sunk in various parts of the UK at this time. Oil was struck at Hardstoft at a depth of 3075ft in May 1919, the first successful deep oil well in the UK. It was therefore converted to production and carried on producing levels of up to 400 tons per year right up to 1945. The well was capped and equipment removed in 1952. (3)

Sources/Archives (3)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: Bower, A. 1984. Chesterfield and North-East Derbyshire on Old Postcards. p 34.
  • <2> Unpublished document: County Treasure Recording Form. 11.1, with photos.
  • <3> Article in serial: Lea, C. 2003. 'Derbyshire's historic role at the dawn of the UK oil industry', Industrial Heritage.



Grid reference Centred SK 4428 6241 (149m by 158m)

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Record last edited

Sep 1 2015 4:15PM

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