[Live Project] Day 21, Model making and preparing for our weekend event

The Hemingfield Colliery Project

There was quite a bit going on today!

Dave from the team met with John Tanner of Barnsley Council & Museums to discuss our ideas with him and confirm our weekend event.  We will be in the visitors centre in Esecar Hertiage Centre this coming Saturday (25th Oct) between 11 and 4, come along to see some of our ideas and have your say!


Whilst in Elsecar we also collected our ‘postcards’ from the local school.  We had some great contributions from years 4 & 5, a McDonalds, police station or a swimming pool!  These have definitely given us some more ideas about what we should include.


The model team also began assembling the 1:100 site model which will include the cottages, the site, and will go all the way down to the Trans Pennine Trail.  This model will be used to help show people the site as is, and will later be used to show some of our proposals.

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Live Project – Help decide the future of Hemingfield Colliery

The Live Project team from Sheffield School of Architecture will be holding a community engagement event seeking your input on the future development of the site. The event takes place this weekend at the Elsecar Heritage Centre. Please drop by, see the information and share your thoughts!

Please come down and share your views!

Please come down and share your views!

Follow progress via the project blog.

[Live Project] Day 19, Site clearance volunteering

The Hemingfield Colliery Project

Today was a bit different.  Several members of the team, Mark, Chun-Yin, Connor and myself all went to site to join a volunteers day helping to clear the site.  Whilst we were there we met a big range of people all interested in the site, it’s history as well as it’s future.  It was really useful to speak with these guys to understand the history of this colliery within the wider context of industrial development in the valley.


During the day we helped to unearth and move hundreds of bricks abandoned and buried in one corner of the site.  There is still a very long way to go with the bricks, but will definitely be worthwhile once they are all cleaned and sorted.

It was a hard days work but really rewarding; we will definitely use the bricks in our design now!


Sam Diston


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[Live Project] Day 18, Sketching our ideas

The Hemingfield Colliery Project

Today was the day that we began to condense all our ideas and research into some design work.

The team spent the day sketching out our ideas for specific buildings, the site and the wider area (ie: connecting it down to the railway, canal and footpaths below).


These sketches will be used as part of our next community engagement event (this coming weekend).

We also began consolidating/preparing our historical research for presentation at the same event.


Here you can see an initial design for a allotment/garden/market idea, which could use it’s produce to supply an on site cafe.

Sam Diston


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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.

Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership – Hemingfield


Students from Sheffield University School of Architecture are working with the Friends of Hemingfield Colliery to see how this historic site can be brought back to life. This group of year 5 and 6 architecture and conservation students are developing proposals as part of their course but their work will also be vital in helping the Friends group move forward with their ambitious plans for the area.

This six-week project will see the students carrying out extensive research on the site and surroundings, primarily through community engagement. They are hoping to understand the rich history and possible futures for this area.They will then propose ideas on how to reinvigorate the site, with the aim of bringing the community and the colliery together once again, linking closely with Elsecar Heritage Centre, Elsecar and Hemingfield.

If you’d like to read more about progress with the project and contribute any of your ideas then go to


Hemingfield Colliery…

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[Live Project] Day 16, Site visit #2

The Hemingfield Colliery Project

Today several of our team went back to the Elsecar to speak with our contact Christine and have another look at the site itself.  They discussed further history of the site, initial findings from our research as well as initial ideas for what could be done with the site.  They also talked through in more detail our ideas about presenting ‘visions’ for the site rather than producing inflexible and expensive rigid designs.Moved suggestion boxes

photo 2

Whilst in Elsecar the team also moved several of our suggestion boxes, one into the ‘Elephant and Castle’ pub and another into a local primary school.

photo 5

The team also had fun in the bushes surveying the lower areas of the site!

Sam Diston


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[Live Project] Day 17, Team and tutor discussions

The Hemingfield Colliery Project

Today the whole team was taken up with University commitments throughout the morning.

During the rest of the day we sat down as a group and went through our individual initial ideas for the scheme, (based on all of our research & community engagement).  These ideas ranged from a mini-golf course to children’s activity centre.


Following our team discussions we sat down with our tutor John-Paul to go through our progress since last week.  Some good points of discussion were raised including the format of our final outputs, the positives/negatives of listing buildings and our plans for the upcoming community engagement event next weekend.


Sam Diston


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Hemingfield Colliery – Live Project with Sheffield School of Architecture (SSoA)

Where will the future take us?

Where will the future take us?

The Friends of Hemingfield Colliery are delighted to be working with the University of Sheffield’s School of Architecture (SSoA) in their innovative Live Projects initiative – bringing the skills and insights of a group of year 5 and 6 architecture and conservation students to bear on the real world challenges and exciting possibilities that await the former colliery site.

At the beginning of October, the SSoA team met the Friends and our partners from the Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership to begin discussions and conduct an initial site visit. The project will last for six weeks as the SSoA team conduct research and proceed to develop detailed proposals for the site.

To learn more, contribute data and suggestions, and to watch this exciting work develop, please visit the Hemingfield Colliery Live Project Blog.