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Work on sinking the first shaft began 23rd August 1900 to a depth of 1,251 feet and the first coal drawn in 1904. There were 3 shafts, known as North, East and South. The underground workings eventually reached out 5miles under the North Sea.

From the ‘Northern Daily Mail’ 9th December 1930:

“Trees had to be cleared from the space where the pithead is now reared. Next came the erection of the steam engines and the preparation of the boring mechanism, all of which was brought across the un-bridged Castle Eden Dene by an ingenious arrangement of slings known as an aerial flight.
One supreme achievement was the transport of a locomotive by road from Shotton for use on the stretch of line near the colliery. Two short lengths of rail were fixed on wooden beds and whilst gangs of labourers placed these, one in front of the other alternately, the engine proceeded from Shotton to Horden under its own steam at the rate of a few yards every few minutes. Sighs of relief must have ascended from several hearts when they saw it safely down the gradient of Ellison’s bank. The journey took four days.”

Railway lines, a viaduct and roads were needed to support this growing colliery village and by 1905 the rail link to Hartlepool was completed and railway station opened.

The coast road was not built until the 1920s; it was finished in 1925. The building of this road, through Easington Colliery, Horden, Blackhall and on to Hartlepool through 3 denes, was a nationally acclaimed feat of engineering.

In the ten years following the sinking of the shaft houses, church, chapel, shops and a school were built to provide for the growing number of miners and their families.


  • 1900: Those building the pit lived in temporary accommodation, termed ‘sinkers huts’
  • 1901: House building began and the first street built was East View.
  • 1902: The first Church of England was consecrated. This was St Hild’s Mission and it still stands today as St Mary’s Church Hall in between St Mary’s and Eighth Street
  • 1902: Primitive Methodist Chapel opened temporarily in a converted barn
    11thApril 1904: Horden Colliery Temporary School opened as a ‘Public Elementary School. Principal Teacher Mr Prest, Art teacher Mary Kemp and Probationer Margaret Wells. After the school had been open 15 months there were 139 children attending.
    10th September 1906: New school opened with 71 new scholars attending at Blackhills
    Road School. This building is now Horden Youth and Community Centre.
  • 1908: Horden Football Club was founded as Horden Athletic.
  • 1913: First carnival held
  • 1910 Big Club burnt down was rebuilt and re-opened in 1912. Burnt down again in 1930s rebuilt and finally closed and demolished in 2007. Houses were built on this site in 2008.
  • 1911: 1st Cemetery behind Dene Street
  • 1913: St Mary’s Church known locally as the Miner’s Cathedral was consecrated
  • 1914: Miners Welfare Hall opened
  • 1914: Roman Catholic school opened in South Terrace, this is now the Catholic Club
  • 1914-1918: World War 1 – 165 from Horden were killed
  • 1920: Pit employed almost 2,000 men, the housing stock was 1,500 and most of village was built by this time
  • 1925: ‘Our Lady Star of the Sea’ Catholic Church consecrated
  • 1929: Welfare Park opened offering a range of sporting facilities much the same as it does today, apart from the fact it had an outdoor swimming pool which by the 1950s was in a disgusting state. Parish Council took ownership of the Welfare Hall and Welfare Park after the pit closed and both have been re-vamped. Another sporting facility Horden had in these days was a Rifle Club, the Rifle Range situated on the open ground which is now opposite St Mary’s Church and next to Memorial Park.
  • 1930: 30 Aged Miners Homes had been built by this year. The money provided by the pitmen – The sum of 2 old pennies was kept off each man’s wage for this fund.
  • 1930s: Coking Plant also operated at the pit site
  • 1930: 4,428 employed at pit – eventually 7,500 were employed. Horden became the Country’s biggest, most modern and highest coal producing pit and also the biggest mining village
  • 1939-1945: World War 2 ‘Pillbox’ for guard duty erected at junction of Warren House Gill and Ash Gill and Tank Trap at Lime Kiln Gill. 86 from Horden were killed this includes 8 adults and 1 child killed in air raids on Horden. The War Memorial is in Memorial Park and there is also a Memorial Plaque in Horden Social Welfare Centre.
    January 1st 1947: This is a very important date, the day that all of the coal mines were nationalised and the beginning of the National Coal Board. Until this time the coal mines were privately owned by various owners. This day is known as ‘Vesting Day’ a legal term taken from the verb ‘to vest’ meaning to confer or bestow.
  • 1986: Horden Colliery closed
  • 1951 census: highest population15,000
  • 2001 census: population 8,500

At one time there were 3 Cinemas: Empress in Blackhills Road, Picture House on Sunderland Road/Shotton Road and Ritz also at Sunderland Road shops. Horden also had its own Hollywood film star; John Alderson who appeared with John Wayne in ‘Against All Flags’ and with Forrest Tucker in ‘Boots and Saddles’ and many other films.

Other People of Note Are:-

John L Sullivan British and Empire Boxing Champion (Old Paddy’s Market, Royal Hotel)
Stan Anderson International Footballer
Bob Taylor International Footballer
B Hudson England International
W Sidney Youth International
J Collard England International
Bob Taylor Professional Footballer
Bryan Little Professional Footballer and Coach
Jonathan Chapman Radio Personality and Comedian

This information was taken from many sources. Special thanks to (in alphabetical order) Denis Allison, Anne Crute and Susan Skirving.