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Bygone Stanley - The Spa


There was a report in 1827 by W. H. Gilbey M.D. that during boring operations for the search for coal seams in fields near Hatfield Hall, at a depth of 80 yards water gushed up from the bore hole. The water was clear and contained a high percentage of gas as it was reported to be 'simmering with bubbles of air that were perpetually rising', and deposits of sulphur were left on the sides of the ditch along which the water flowed. It was claimed that the water contained as much soda in one pint as other waters had in one gallon. Many people over a wide area visited this spring to drink its water and claimed it was beneficial for their health. A recommended dose was two tumblers full before breakfast which would increase the flow of urine and help to cure kidney and bladder infections.

My own research suggests that during the boring operation they penetrated a water-hearing sandstone known in this area as Woolley Edge Rock. This rock, when broken by mining operations, gave clear water at pressures according to depth. The water from this rock was used for the underground ponies to drink at Parkhill Colliery for many years. Often the workmen would drink it as it seeped through the roof in the winter seam of coal by cupping it in their hands and then having a drink. I myself have drank it on many occasions when I visited these workings. It had a pleasant taste, not unlike soda water. If it did no good it certainly did no harm as the ponies showed no ill effects nor did the workmen who occasionally drank it.

The Stanley Main Colliery, Ferry Lane, encountered this water-bearing strata at a depth of 122 yards and the water which poured into the workings was pumped into the River Calder which, at that time, was well stocked with fresh water fish and the river water was used by patients at Stanley Royd Hospital. So the waters from this rock did give some beneficial health effects. And so, for a time, we had a Spa at Stanley.

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