Memorial to John King, inventor of the Detaching Hook, Pinxton, Derbyshire. 

Blue Plaque for Pinxton

Inventor of the mining safety device commemorated 

A blue plaque was recently installed at Pinxton, Derbyshire to commemorate local mining engineer, John King, inventor of the King Safety Detaching Hook. The unveiling event was filmed by Bolsover TV


Bolsover TV featuring John King Commemoration

About the mine cage safety detaching hook 

John King’s detaching hook is a safety device which detaches the cage from the rope in the event of an overwind in the shaft: Where the cage would rise above its proper unloading position. By the second half of the 19th century with increasing demand for coal to power industry, technological advances resulted in even faster cage winding. Subsequently, the cage could be wound up and over the headstock pulley wheel with disastrous consequences for the miners inside. John King’s safety detaching hook was successfully trialled at Pinxton No.1 colliery in 1873.


John King, inventor of the Detaching Hook,  with his wife and a model of the detaching hook. 

Opening the mining memorial headgear and model of detaching hook, opposite The Greyhound Inn, Pinxton, 1974.

The John King museum closed in 2014 and its contents distributed to other museums and heritage centres, including the Bilsthorpe Heritage and Mining Museum. The model detaching hook is believed to be in the possession of Pinxton Town Council.

Pinxton Men’s Society meet on a monthly basis for talks on the second Wednesday of the month at the Town Street Methodist Chapel, Pinxton, NG16 6JN. They also run other Society events including day trips out and meals.

Details of the society can be obtained from Brian Burgoyne:

Further Reading

Booth, W, Ed     Modern Mining Practice, Vol V, Bennett College, Sheffield (date unknown)

Smith, Fred       A History of Pinxton, unpublished, (1953)

Smith, Frank    The Life of John King, Pinxton, (1970)

Smith, Frank    A Complete History of Pinxton, (1970)


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