PROBUS WALK FEBRUARY 2019
This months walk centered on Ford Green Hall (The oldest building in Stoke on Trent) and included the many surrounding paths over the old Chatterley Whitfield area
There were nine of us on the walk on what was a very pleasant day I will not add any more about the walk as there is already plenty of detail in earlier walk reports around the area.
But you may well be interested in some historical and surprising information:-
The hall is thought to have been built in 1624 for Hugh Ford, a local yeoman farmer, remaining in the Ford family for some 200 years. A brickwork extension was added to the property sometime in the 17th century, most likely replacing or renovating a previous structure.
The Fords had left the area by the 19th century, and after a series of tenants, it was split into three separate dwellings. It included 30 acres of adjoining land.
Chatterley Whitfield colliery was comprised of eight coal outcrops mined by the Monks of Hulton Abbey before becoming what we would call a mine. In 1881 there was an explosion, caused by the underground blacksmiths, that killed 24 men and boys, 1937 it was producing a million tons of coal a year, within a few years production slumped and the mine was eventually linked by a four mile tunnel underground to Wolstanton Colliery this in turn stopped production 1981 due to flooding and the quantity of methane gas. All pumps were then switched off flooding the 50 miles of underground roadways forever.
The present rounded hills which were the waste products of the mine owe their rounded shape to the Welsh mining disaster at Aberfan which killed 144 children and men, after which all such slag heaps were reduced in height and rounded to prevent such occurrences happening again.