The Friends of Hemingfield Colliery had a very busy time this particular weekend in May as the site was open to visitors on both Friday and Saturday, with a number of groups being given guided tours of the colliery and its history and remaining buildings.
But first there was work to do. On Saturday Friends Directors Glen and Ian arrived early to complete the fencing of the back of the site. No light task, they closed a gap which had allowed some unwelcome visitors to sneak in previously.
On the record
Amidst the work, the Friends were pleased to welcome two filmmakers to the site. Nick Jordan and Jacob Cartwright arrived from Manchester and toured the site, interested in the history, industrial function, social stories and place of the pit in the community and local landscape.
Speaking to the Friends, the crew recorded insights into the progress and future plans for the site, including the historical research and creative work of our volunteers, such as Amanda Willoughby’s beautiful artwork project, and the amazing Virtual Reality materials created by Iain Nicholls.
Clear and Pheasant Danger
Elsewhere on site, another regular visitor graced the Friends with her presence: the somewhat carefree pheasant wandered freely around the site and almost into oncoming traffic on Wath Road, until one of the volunteers shooed her back into the pityard and safety.
International Early Engines Conference at Elsecar
During the week, from Thursday 11th until Saturday 13th May, The Ironworks at Elsecar Heritage Centre hosted delegates from the International Early Engines Conference – IEEC – the first event of its type – dedicated to exploring the history, engineering and archaeology of early engines, that is the atmospheric and steam engines developed before 1812.
During two visits on Friday evening, and a further tour on Saturday afternoon, the Friends were delighted to extend a warm welcome to visitors from as far afield as China, New Zealand, Germany and The Netherlands.
Working closely with the Conference organisers, Barnsley Museums and our friends at Elsecar Heritage Railway, the conference delegates had a rich variety of places to visit on the doorstep of the main conference venue, as well as enjoying trips to Rockley furnace and engine house, and to Wortley Top Forge.
Remembering the Oaks Colliery Disaster – unveiling the memorial
On Sunday 7th May, the Friends of Hemingfield Colliery were present at the ceremony to mark the public unveiling of the memorial statue you the victims of the Oaks Colliery Disaster. The Oaks Colliery Disaster Memorial which was installed at Church Street in Barnsley was designed and sculpted by Graham Ibbeson (RCA).
Friends Directors Christine and Glen were proud to attend the event, and form part of the public parade, which assembled at Regent Street South and Mandela Gardens at noon. There, the Dodworth Colliery Miners Welfare Band and the City of Sheffield Pipe Band formed a procession, with banners being carried by Trades Unions groups. Members of the public swelled the numbers as they marched up Church St to the unveiling.
Video by Barnsley and Surrounding Areas