Nothing but blue skies may be an optimistic note to strike in the midst of a global pandemic, but despite the darker clouds, the ups and downs, through the closings, reopenings and re-closings of recent days, the ability to safely distance and volunteer with others, carefully, outdoors, for a common cause – to protect and restore our common heritage – is something to celebrate. Saturday 1st August also had the distinction of being Yorkshire Day – so it was good to see the blue flags flying the white rose against a mostly blue sky.
Indeed, despite the widespread uncertainty and social and economic distress since the crisis began in March, it is heartening to see concrete steps being taken to support culture, the arts and heritage; most recently the announcement of the £88M Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage distributed by the National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Historic England, following criteria from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. This fund is part of the £1.57 billion rescue package from government to safeguard cultural and heritage organisations across the UK.
At the end of the Nineteenth and beginning of the Twentieth Century, Hemingfield came under the local governance of Wombwell Urban District Council. The body oversaw most local services and reported on the health and welfare of the population, numbering an estimated 17,764 souls.
A hundred years ago today, on the 15th May 1920, the last corf load of coal was raised from Earl Fitzwilliam’s Hemingfield Colliery. It marked the end of an era for the pit, as silence fell, albeit temporarily, at the main winding shaft.
Coronavirus is contracting space and dilating time, it seems. For their part, the Friends of Hemingfield Colliery continue their efforts, remotely: researching, planning and staying safe. We hope you and yours are safe and well. Our thoughts and best wishes go out to all those affected by this epidemic, all those lost to it, and all of those caring and keeping the rest of the country, if not the whole world, running as normal as possible.
But more anon: this blog has a little bit of catching up to do…
What with Storm Ciara (pronounced keera) threatening proceedings, and suggestions of Storm Dennis barely a week away, the Friends threw caution to the – admittedly light – wind on Saturday 8th February 2020, and ventured down to site for a surprisingly storm-free open day at Hemingfield Colliery.
October continued to charm with its up-and-down weather. Saturday looked ok as Site Manager Glen welcomed regular volunteers, John, Paul and Mike to the pit for what would be another good session on repairing the wall.
Saturday 17th August, the Friends of Hemingfield Colliery head down to site, unawares: the forecast fibbed. Early in the day at least, with a downpour catching out many a shorts-clad fun-seeker from Sheffield to Barnsley.
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…