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Field House Open Cast

The Chair of The Partnership, Arthur Dornan, attends the liaison committee meetings with Hargreaves as our representative. Here is his latest report. You can download a .pdf copy here. You can also contact Arthur on

Field House Liaison Committee Report 11th July 2018: Work to date

  • Car park completed and site offices in place

  • Fencing completed to those areas of site where access had been restricted due to standing water.

  • Water treatment areas 1 and 2 excavated, fenced, danger deep water signs and lifebuoys in place. Water treatment area 3 being excavated.

  • Archaeological Investigation -To date the main area, over the Lady Seaham Pit buildings, is fully open and we have evidence for two phases of pit-head structures (provisionally an early phase of sandstone block construction and a later brick-built phase). Survival of structures is pretty good, with walls, machine bases and brick floors, and an extensive set of drains & conduits all surviving, in addition to the two shafts exposed in the trial works.

The second area, over the pair of 19th century cottages to the west, is fully open. Evidence for the cottages does survive, although less well-preserved and with only one or two courses of brick footings + brick surfaces surviving.

The above features were exposed using a small excavator under the supervision of the archaeologists and they are now using brushes and trowels to clean the exposed features. The archaeologists expect to be on site into August.

To allow archaeologists access to the Lady Seaham Pit area a temporary gate was installed on Pittington Road with the agreement of DCC, this gate will be removed and fence reinstated on completion or the archaeology investigation.

  • Soil stripping for site preparation works and main excavation area almost complete. Last areas will not be stripped until the archaeologists have completed their investigation and left site. The stripped soils have been used to form the site screening mounds. Some of the soil storage mounds have been graded, grass seed and fertiliser applied.

  • Noise and dust monitoring, results in compliance with planning limits.

  • Ecology – the ecological enhancement of the existing seasonal waterbody adjacent to Pittington Road has been completed.

  • We have encountered running sand and pockets of water across the site. Trenches have been excavated to drain these areas.

  • The RH120 excavators and Cat 777 trucks have been delivered to site ready to start excavation work later this month.

  • Future work

  • Complete soils stripping operations

  • Installation of wheel wash and weighbridge.

  • Tar-macadam to be laid on site access and internal roads.

  • Set up coal processing plant

  • Excavation of box cut to expose coal seams.

  • Coaling operations to commence later this month.