The highest heights, 12th June 2021

Keeping up the pace the Friends of Hemingfield Colliery and regular volunteers returned on Saturday 12th June. Just a week since the last session. Clearly they had the bit between their teeth; the wall-pointing bug was evident: a crazed addiction if ever there was one.

Not quite the Eagle’s Nest, more like a Barn Owl box

This week was crowned by gravity-defying high scaffold work, and equally heightened temperatures. Hemingfield may not have enjoyed the global media attention of the G7 summit happening in Corbis Bay, Cornwall, but lacked none of the fabulous weather. Who needs the pabulum and bluster of world leaders when you have the wit and wisdom determined volunteers? Such geopolitical debates aside, what *is* the right way of spreading cream and jam on a scone?

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Light and Dark, Saturday 5th June 2021

More like it: bright and blue skies, and more than a little warmth at last

Scorchio is the unofficial word for it. After some ups and down earlier this year, the sun decided to come out and pay a courtesy visit to the volunteer crew at Hemingfield Colliery. After a dull and damp start to the year, it came as some consolation to have a little warmth on site, albeit the sun starts to tell as the light moves around and across the site during the day, so liquids and shade were both much in demand.

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Snatches of sunshine

A grey day in May

Continuing the effort to return to normal, or as near to normal as anyone can get during a global pandemic, the Friends and regular volunteers foregathered once again on Saturday 22nd May and – ever the optimists – endeavoured to do a little more maintenance on the site at Hemingfield after a thoroughly mixed week of rain and everything except regular sunshine.

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May Days

Glowering and wet: Hemingfield Colliery 8th May 2021

Wet weekends are nothing new, but they do tend to rankle when they delay planned activities, and especially so when the sun somehow managed to shine late into the dying light of the working week. The Friends can wait another week to get back on site for some more socially-distanced outdoor maintenance work.

Meanwhile, back home sheltering from the downpour, the Friends and volunteers made good use of some extra hours of research and writing, and some went for a wander around Hemingfield and Elsecar…

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Step-Up and Stick to the Plan. Returning to a new normal?

This is a recuperative post, covering a range of time from March into April 2021, as the UK’s lockdown began to ease, following a 4 step plan: a roadmap enabled by the extensive targeted vaccination programme proceeding since the new year. As the nation recovers normal activities, so hopefully will we!

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Leaping to Jump’s defence

Are you going to Jump?

Jump road sign

Jump, near Barnsley, in South Yorkshire is certainly an eye-catching name on a sign, and somewhat arresting when said out loud.

But locals have heard it all before…

“…you have a slight touch of onomaphobia as regards the name of our village. The name, tout court, certainly does impinge rather directly on the attention, showing that it has the “punch” or “pep” so beloved of our transatlantic cousins. By the way, the name of Jump would make the fortune of a striving burgh out West.”

Penistone, Stocksbridge and Hoyland Express, 4th April 1925, p.4

Wild West or not, in times gone by it has often been the subject of comment and even scandal:

“Jump was noted as the sport of the Press, and any sensational story was tacked onto it. Society at large thought of it with derision, and speculators gave it a wide berth.”

Barnsley Chronicle, 2nd March 1901, p.7

But where does the name come from?

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Lundhill Colliery Disaster, 19th February 1857

Engraved view of Lundhill (or Lund Hill) Colliery after the disaster, showing crowds assembled at the surface buildings (Illustrated London News, 28 February 1857, p.195)

On this day in 1857, a horrific underground explosion of firedamp occurred at Lundhill Colliery, between Wombwell and Hemingfield, claiming 189 lives, including 120 adults and 69 children.

Snippet from the Lundhill Colliery entry in Mines Inspector Charles Morton’s Report of the Working of the Coal Mines Inspection Act (18 & 19 Vict. c.108.) in Yorkshire, for the Year ending the 31st December 1857, HMSO, 1858, p.134

The impact on families in the community was catastrophic, leaving 90 widows and a total of 220 children without a father. We remember the victims and the devastating impact on the local community.

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