The Coal Mines Act of 1855 provided for the first time "General Rules" and "Special Rules" which were to be established for each colliery and which were, after approval by the regional Inspector of Mines, to be printed and made available to each workman. Many of these survive in this collection, dated from 1856, and bear the approval signature of Charles Morton. Associated with these, and in some cases printed with them, are the individual collieries' byelaws which give details of the individual colliery's internal administrative arrangements, some of these also contain the form of employment contract.
A system of fine was established for each colliery: those for Whitwood of 1856 went to a fund and were levied "for the sole purpose of securing the safety and comfort of the workmen and the protection of the colliery". Several collieries had such accident funds, while at Featherstone Manor half of the fine went to an accident fund and the other half "to the x club". At Roundwood in 1873 there is no reference to the use of the fund raised, but in that colliery's byelaws of 1856 the accident fund and the purpose of the fines are mentioned. At Old Flockton, in 1861, the fines were received by the owners as treasurer "as they may think fit, for the benefit of such of the workmen, or their wives or families, as may in their judgement require assistance.".
All the collieries insisted upon the production of as much large coal as the seam allowed, free of slate and rubbish and the corves well filled; if such were not produced, the men would "lose" the whole corf full. At Stocksbridge ironstone was also produced, where the stone was to be "well knapped and cleaned, and the corves properly filled" -or be forfeit; a similar clause occurred in the 1873 Roundwood byelaws, where ironstone was also produced. At Whitwood in 1888, no work was to be provided if prevented by the state of trade, the want of railway waggons, accidents or other matters beyond the owners' control, and persons working for contractors were to be subject to the byelaws too. Generally, underground workers were to be given or give fourteen days' notice; at Featherstone Manor were to leave their houses after two weeks, in good repair. Horses and ponies were to be weel netted when in a shaft, the horsekeeper was to see to their being properly shod, cleaned, fed and watered and seen safely into their stable and the stable lights extinguished at night. Also if the horse were dangerously ill, the farrier was to be called. In 1856 there was still a horse-wound Gin Pit at Roundwood. The Featherstone Manor byelaws of the 1870srefer to wages being paid fortnightly, and of 1888 at Whitwood, weekly. At Old Flockton, in 1861, colliers were to take no more than one day's holiday in a fortnight, suggesting payment on the basis of such a period.
This collection comprises briefs for prospectuses and papers for various mines including Adwalton Colliery, Bowling Iron Colliery, Church Lane, Dodworth, Cross Hills Colliery, Darfield Main Colliery, Emley Woodhouse Colliery, Flockton Colliery, Gawthorpe Colliery, Green Lane Colliery, Heckmondwike Colliery, High Royd Colliery, Milnthorpe Colliery, Newton Colliery, Providence Colliery, Quaker Lane and Dale Lane Colliery, Rockwell Colliery, Rothwell, Sharlston Colliery, Shibden Colliery, Shuttle Eye Colliery, Snydale Colliery, South Wales, Sykes Colliery, Victoria Colliery, West Ardsley Colliery, Whitwood Colliery 1853-1879; off prints of newspaper reports of convictions and cases concerning Brown Moor Colliery, Newmarket Colliery, High Royd Colliery, Flush Mills Colliery, Whitwood Colliery, Gildersome Colliery, Holme Bank Colliery, Grange Colliery, Quaker Lane Colliery, Park Mill Colliery, Sykes Colliery, Rockwell Colliery, Providence Colliery, Bradshaw Lane Colliery, Harp Bottom Colliery, West Ardsley Colliery, Shibden Colliery, Northorpe Colliery, Stubley Colliery 1853-1869 and nd; return with details of visits to collieries in 1853; correspondence between Wakefield lawyers and Tremenheere regarding implementation of the 1842 act; general and special rules, some accompanied by byelaws, for Newmarket Colliery, Garforth Colliery, Providence Colliery, no place, Old Silkstone Collieries, Roundwood Old Collieries, York Road Iron and Coal Company, Stocksbridge Collieries, Swaithe Main, Thorncliffe Collieries, Barrow Collieries, Denby Grange Collieries, Woolley Colliery, Featherstone Coal Company, Briggs Collieries, West Riding and Haigh Moor Collieries, Flockton, Emroyd and Grange Moor Collieries, Hollins Mine, Thornhill Collieries and Pope and Pearson Diamond Mine 1856-20th century; returns of penalties under Coal Mines acts 1856-1872; account with Charles Morton from Scholey and Company, Wakefield Solicitors concerning Cumberworth Colliery, Harp Bottom Colliery, Bradshaw Colliery, Handsworth Colliery, Beeston Colliery, Holbeck Colliery, Garforth Colliery, Churwell Colliery, Grange Lane Colliery and Scholes Colliery 1856; reply concerning proceeding against a colliery owner nd; Charles Morton's statement as to new rules nd; list of papers referred to in lawyers' accounts for prosecution work 1857-1863; correspondence concerning prosecutions 1856-1871; notice concerning shaft at Liversedge 1860; notice to establish Special Rules 1860; notes and correspondence regarding Robert Holliday 1869; reports of Charles Morton 1850-1851; coal mines inspectors' reports 1860-1861; notes on the history of coal mines inspection; reports on explosions at Wath Main, Houghton Main, Crigglestone, Allerton Bywater, Ingham Colliery, Walton Colliery, St John's Colliery 1930-1975; certificate of competency issued to James Stoner of Stairfoot 1890; circular as to prevention of explosions in collieries 1875; papers concerning explosion at Elsecar Colliery 1853; petty session papers 1861 and 1863; report as to inrush of water at Lofthouse 1973; reports of the HM Chief Inspector for Mines and Quarries 1965-1968.