The rainclouds hung heavily overhead during the morning. Ever-optimistic, the Friends arrived on site, opened up the gates, and skipped over the puddles to get on with a list of tasks before the worst of the cold and miserable weather set in.
Another cracking day at Hemingfield. Site Director Glen opened the gates to regular volunteers John, Mike and Chris. The sun was out, the heat was on and all was set for another fun day on site. And off it – but more of that anon…
Wheelie good times
May 2018 was one to remember. Le Tour de Yorkshire passed through South Yorkshire on 4th May. Barnsley was busy and buzzing with one of the stages starting in the town, before heading out throughout the borough. Hoyland, Wentworth and Elsecar were all eagerly awaiting the arrival of the men’s and women’s races during the day – with crowds of all ages, street decorations and special celebrations arranged all around the route.
Events, and more events
February was a very full month for the Friends of Hemingfield Colliery. Events on site and off it filled out the usually short and wintry month, and gave us plenty of news and images to share as we look back on a busy few weeks.
The end of the year cometh, but so do the volunteers! On a cold, but beautifully light December morning at Hemingfield, the Friends of Hemingfield Colliery were delighted to welcome the regular volunteers to the pit to mark the last Open day of 2017; to celebrate the Christmas vacation ahead, and reflect on a busy and rewarding year for the Friends and the whole area.
But first, on with the discoveries!
The Friends of Hemingfield Colliery were excited and proud to present a new Virtual Reality experience based on the colliery as it appeared at the turn of the Twentieth century.
A misty morning at the pit welcomes virtual visitors into the relative peace of the pit yard, before the journey descends into the depths of the Barnsley coal seam 150 years below.
Guided by the insightful narration of Bard of Barnsley Ian McMillan, the explorers are instructed in the ways of navigating in the VR world, before being free to roam in the half-light below ground, lit only by your own safety lamp.
Life and Art
It was designed and created by local Darfield artist Iain Nicholls, with financial support from the Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership.
Using artistic and 3D modelling skills, photogrammetry, and additional effects, Iain has created an immersive experience which brings the underground life back to you, the lost world back into focus and gives a sense of the difficulties and daily details of mining.
This weekend was the first public outing locally, and the artist himself and the Friends were delighted with the response from young and old alike.
Elsecar Heritage Centre
Arriving at Elsecar Heritage Centre, the VR kit and a collection of display materials related to the Friends of Hemingfield Colliery were set up in the upstairs activity room of the visitors’ centre.
Exhibits and experiences
Visitors to Elsecar were of all ages and many tried their hand at the VR experience, including some former mine workers which was wonderful to observe.
Surrounding the VR kit was an extensive display of mining and local history materials corrected and presented by the Friends of Hemingfield Colliery.
So between diving into the depths of our pit shafts, visitors to Elsecar could also learn more about the history, heritage and community activities the Friends are currently engaged in.
A key part of the first local public outing was the opportunity of along members of the public for real feedback, to influence the completion of the original design. This was achieved by asking the VR users to fill in a feedback form and by telling to them about the experience.
Based on this feedback, Iain will make final adjustments before being able to complete his work on Hemingfield Colliery and allow the VR headset, a HTC Vive to be used by the Friends at future events.
Next VR event: Sunday 18th June 2017, Barnsley History Day at Barnsley Town Hall, from 11am to 3pm
The May Day bank holiday weekend saw a busy day down at Hemingfield Colliery, as the Friends and a good crew of volunteers arrived on site, thankfully blessed with a bright and pleasant day.
On the Fence? To the pallisades!
Another busy weekend on site, with the Friends and regular volunteers arriving bright and early to continue work on tidying the site and clearing the rubble.
Friends Chair Steve and site manager Glen opened the gates as the crew returned to their tools and continued the noble tousle twixt mankind and tree. They were joined by regular volunteers John, Alan, Nigel, and Chris.