In 1871, Mr John Nevin, son of the vicar of Mirfield, having completed his
training, returned to Mirfield. Almost immediately the coal industry was
reorganised on a larger scale, and centralised. Messrs Charles Wheatley,
Robert Barraclough and John Nevin founded the Mirfield Colliery Company
(1871), and sinking operations were begun at Dark Lane, the entrance to
which was signposted ‘Nevin’s Lane’. The Blocking Coal Seam was reached in
February 1872, and during the first year produced 200 tons a week. In 1896
Mr Charles Wheatley transferred all his interests to Messrs. John and T.E.
Nevin. But before that, in 1891, a shaft was sunk near the King’s Head Inn,
connected with the workings at Dark Lane, and this afforded a means of
escape at either end in time of emergency, though in the attempt to connect
the two in 1897 an explosion took place, killing three men. In 1906 some
800 men and boys were employed by the Company.
At Dark Lane, coke was made from slack in 20 bee hive ovens. (It has been
described as the finest gas and coking coal in the world.) But water was
the enemy, particularly when workings were below river level, and sometimes
as much as 970,000 gallons were pumped out in 24 hours.
The King’s Head stood on the inside of the corner of Water Royd Lane opposite Cripple Gate and sold Bentley’s Yorkshire Bitter .There is evidence that the pub was in existence as far back as 1600 and when the King’s Head Mine opened it was used as a meeting place for the miners as well as farmers and other traders doing business in the area. The cellar was unusual in that it was carved out of the rock on which the pub stood and the pub sported a bowling green which was taken over by housing shortly before the pub was demolished. It was pulled down by a Mr. Curry to be replaced by his hardware store which itself has now been replaced by a private house