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British Industrial History

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Thomas Young Hall

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Thomas Young Hall was an internationally acclaimed mining engineer and coal mine owner.

Born in Greenside, County Durham, on 25 October 1802.

Became Under-Viewer at the North Hetton Colliery at the age of 22.

By 1832, he was a Director and share holder in the Old Hartlepool Docks and Railway Company.

In late 1832, Hall added the mining engineer at South Hetton to his portfolio. Over the next four years, he developed the tub, cage and guide-rod system for raising coal from the pit. He replaced the wicker baskets (corves) with low tubs which ran on rails underground. Initially these were emptied at the shaft bottom, but he subsequently developed a frame or cage into which several tubs could be loaded for lifting. To prevent the cage fouling the sides of the shaft, he developed an idea proposed initially by John Curr of Sheffield and fitted guide rods to constrain it. These developments had a profound effect on mining costs.

By 1836, Hall was in partnership to work the Ryton Glebe and Stella Collieries, soon extended to include the Townley Main and Whitefield pits and workings in the Crawcrook area. The group became known as the Stella Coal Co.

In the USA the Blackheath Colliery, Etna and Mid-Lothian pits in Cleveland County, Virginia, were devastated by fire and explosion. American engineers failed to clear the resultant gas, and the mine owners consulted Robert Stephenson, who recommended the services of J. Y., Hall and Frank Forster (Engineer to the London Sewerage Company). They visited Virginia, and it is claimed that within a month, Hall, assisted by one north east pitman who had accompanied him, had restored the mines to working condition. This led to lucrative work in the USA, leading him to cross the Atlantic by sail 16 times between 1839 and 1843.

On his permanent return to Tyneside in 1843, he had lucrative mining and property holdings, and was listed as a shareholder in the Old Hartlepool Docks and Railway Company, Newcastle, Shields and Sunderland Union Banking Co., Scotswood Bridge Co., and J.S. Challoners of Scotswood Rd. He also had an interest in the Ovingham Bleachery, George Hartford & John Reed and the Middlesbrough Sail Cloth Co.

Hall was involved in a number of technical developments. Following the Stephenson/Davy controversy about the origins of the safety lamp, opinion was divided between gauze and glass lamps. Hall was party to an ingenious set of experiments initiated by Nicholas Wood at the Killingworth and Wallsend Collieries. Hall's solution was a series of designs incorporating both gauzes and glass.

He died at his Newcastle residence, 11, Eldon Sq., on 3 February 1870.

The above information is condensed from the excellent Wikipedia entry (accessed 14 Feb 2020).

1870 'Our obituary contains the death of Thomas Young Hall, who for many years past has been well known this district as an extensive coalowner and mining engineer. He had been for some months in an ailing condition, and died on Thursday at his residence, 11, Eldon Square. Newcastle. He was one of the principal partners in the Stella Coal Company, and was also connected with several other public companies in the North. Shortly before the formation of the Newcastle and Carlisle Railway, he took, on a ninety-nine years' lease from Mr Towneley, a considerable tract of land at Blaydon, which up to that time had been comparatively valueless. This soon turned out a very lucrative speculation, and there was an attempt made to annul the lease. The matter was tried at Durham Assizes, and Mr Hall came off victorious. About the same period he became managing partner of some mines in Virginia, and as he was largely interested in speculations on both sides, he at that time frequently crossed the Atlantic. He received on one occasion great praise from the public and the press of America for the bravery and skill he displayed in descending one of the mines which had taken fire, and at the risk if his own life saving the miners who were shut in by the fire from certain death. Newcastle Express.[1]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Kelso Chronicle, 11 February 1870