Pottery Mine

We love examples of former mines and quarries that operated in what are now the middle of towns!

According to Department of Mines annual reports, the Crown Coal, Brick and Pottery Company opened the Pottery coal mine in 1870 immediately east of New Glasgow’s Albert Street, between Marsh and Brother streets. The area is homes and greenspace today.

The main slope (decline tunnel) was driven 48 metres deep. Two levels (horizontal tunnels) were dug at a depth of 41 metres.

By 1872, operations were limited and appear to have been more focussed on extracting fire clay than coal. Fire clay is a type of clay that can withstand intense heat, so it was used to make liners for stoves and furnaces and other objects that are exposed to high temperatures.

The Crown Coal, Brick and Pottery Company failed to elect a board of directors in 1875 and in 1877 it sought legislature approval to appoint a provisional board to manage its affairs. One of the company’s directors was the Honourable William Alexander Henry (1816-88), who was a Father of Confederation, lawyer, solicitor general and attorney general of Nova Scotia, mayor of Halifax and one of the first judges appointed to the newly-established Canadian Supreme Court in 1875.

The company’s provisional board and its impressive connections did not help the Pottery Mine – it was idle until 1893 when a William P. MacNeil reopened it. A new shaft was dug just east of Albert Street, a short distance from the mine’s original entrance, and a slope was sunk just west of the road.

Unfortunately, things again apparently did not go as well - the mine shut down again in 1894 and never reopened.

The mine was also called the Dawson Workings and Dawson Slope from the 1890s on.

Russel Breen, a life-long resident of Albert Street, told government officials in 1994 that houses around the mine site were built after WWII and no houses were on the site prior to the war. In other words, the town grew to surround the former mine.