Joseph Mitchell of Worsbrough Dale near Barnsley was a Weslayan coalpit owner and as managing partner of Swaithe Main, Edmunds Main and Mitchell’s Main, was one of the largest employers in South Yorkshire. Having served an apprenticeship at Dawes' Milton Works and after working as a journeyman, he established a small foundry in Worebrough Dale. He went into coal mining in the 1850s. On 6 December 1875 an explosion at his Swaithe Main resulted in 140 deaths. The shock killed him and he died soon after in January 1876. Swaithe Maine ceased production in 1894, although the coke oven continued until 1908.
His son, Joseph Mitchell (1840-1895), born 7 September 1840, was involved in his father’s foundry and was responsible for the reopening of Swaithe Main and completing the sinking of Mitchell's Main, begun in 1871. As a successful mining engineer, he was consulted on issues in the South Yorkshire and other coalfields, served as an arbitrator in mining disputes and was a Parliamentary witness in mining, railway, and trade matters. A founder member of the Midland Institute of Mining, Civil and Mechanical Engineers, he became its secretary and treasurer in 1879. His foundry provided bridges for the South Yorkshire Railway. He resigned from the family business in 1890.
He was in turn succeeded by his son, Mr. T. W. H. Mitchell. who stood unsuccessfully as a Coupon Conservative for Wentworth in 1918.