18th and 19th October – Keeping busy

Saturday was a very busy day on site with visitors, volunteers and members of the local community exploring the site, digging up rubble, reclaiming materials for future reuse, as well as discussing both the past and the possible futures for the colliery and its surroundings.

No shortage of bricks!

No shortage of bricks!

We were delighted to welcome back members of the Live Project team from the University of Sheffield’s School of Architecture. The whole group of thirteen students have been busy developing proposals for the future development of the site, and the project members have already conducted visitor research and are surveying the opinions of members of the local community. In the near future the team will be presenting some of their ideas as part of a stall at the Elsecar Heritage Centre.

Pumping pit headgear

Pumping pit headgear

We were also fortunate to have a number of experts on site – mining historians and professionals who can shed further light on the standing structures and phases of development in the site’s working life. There’s lots still to be discovered about the story of the site – from its beginnings in the 1840s through to the end of the First World War when it was under the control of Earl Fitzwilliam, then into the South Yorkshire Pumping Association and Mines Drainage Committee years, and finally up to its most recent history just before the site’s acquisition by the Friends of Hemingfield Colliery.

Sunday was quieter by comparison, but another beautifully sunny day in which to get stuck into the working party tasks of clearing vegetation, digging out rubble and reclaming whatever materials we can as we go. One element of this work is the reclamation of bricks – cleaning, stacking and storing original building materials is important to our work.

On brick reclamation duty as bricks emerge from other parts of the site being cleared of rubble.

On brick reclamation duty as bricks emerge from other parts of the site being cleared of rubble.

As many of the volunteers will recognise, we have a wealth of different types of bricks on the site and a number of visitors have commented on some of the names – local makers’ names both remembered and long since disappeared. As we make progress in exploring and clearing the site, we hope to be able to add some information about some of these related histories; often important concerns for local history. Please follow this link to the first of these concerning Skiers Spring brickworks.

Working Parties Update

Due to poor weather conditions and some unforeseen circumstances the general working parties scheduled for 8-9th and 29-30th November have been cancelled. However, the Friends have remained busy throughout, both on site and attending events (see the following blog posts!).

Please see the Working Parties page for further updates.

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