Mist over the meadow

Saturday 10th July 2021 was almost a dot day. Not because of the mounting excitement ahead of the Euro 2020 final and the hopes (ultimately dashed) for England men’s football team, but rather because the weather forecast looked wet and miserable. Nevertheless the Friends and regular volunteers braved the elements.

Emerging from the mist, the approach to Hemingfield Colliery, Sat 10th July 2021

In the event, ‘Plan B’ of indoor building recording work, followed by a swift exit proved unnecessary, and it was a very active and incredibly hot-and-humid day to be working outdoors, mostly bringing the growth of green stuff back into order.

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Pathways to the past, Saturday 26th June 2021

Framed by trees, the pit appears from Wath Road in Elsecar

After a short hiatus, the Friends and volunteers gathered for another socially-distanced outdoor working session on site.

Opening up. Not quite ready for open days more generally, but hopefully not too far away now!

Although decisions around lifting national lockdown restrictions in England were held back for four weeks until 19th July 2021, and there were worrying signs of Covid-19 infections rising with the new ‘Delta variant’, still the protection of an effective vaccination programme and gave the crew confidence in working outdoors, in a small group, albeit behind closed gates for a further push on restoration activities.

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May Days

Glowering and wet: Hemingfield Colliery 8th May 2021

Wet weekends are nothing new, but they do tend to rankle when they delay planned activities, and especially so when the sun somehow managed to shine late into the dying light of the working week. The Friends can wait another week to get back on site for some more socially-distanced outdoor maintenance work.

Meanwhile, back home sheltering from the downpour, the Friends and volunteers made good use of some extra hours of research and writing, and some went for a wander around Hemingfield and Elsecar…

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Step-Up and Stick to the Plan. Returning to a new normal?

This is a recuperative post, covering a range of time from March into April 2021, as the UK’s lockdown began to ease, following a 4 step plan: a roadmap enabled by the extensive targeted vaccination programme proceeding since the new year. As the nation recovers normal activities, so hopefully will we!

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Leaping to Jump’s defence

Are you going to Jump?

Jump road sign

Jump, near Barnsley, in South Yorkshire is certainly an eye-catching name on a sign, and somewhat arresting when said out loud.

But locals have heard it all before…

“…you have a slight touch of onomaphobia as regards the name of our village. The name, tout court, certainly does impinge rather directly on the attention, showing that it has the “punch” or “pep” so beloved of our transatlantic cousins. By the way, the name of Jump would make the fortune of a striving burgh out West.”

Penistone, Stocksbridge and Hoyland Express, 4th April 1925, p.4

Wild West or not, in times gone by it has often been the subject of comment and even scandal:

“Jump was noted as the sport of the Press, and any sensational story was tacked onto it. Society at large thought of it with derision, and speculators gave it a wide berth.”

Barnsley Chronicle, 2nd March 1901, p.7

But where does the name come from?

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Lundhill Colliery Disaster, 19th February 1857

Engraved view of Lundhill (or Lund Hill) Colliery after the disaster, showing crowds assembled at the surface buildings (Illustrated London News, 28 February 1857, p.195)

On this day in 1857, a horrific underground explosion of firedamp occurred at Lundhill Colliery, between Wombwell and Hemingfield, claiming 189 lives, including 120 adults and 69 children.

Snippet from the Lundhill Colliery entry in Mines Inspector Charles Morton’s Report of the Working of the Coal Mines Inspection Act (18 & 19 Vict. c.108.) in Yorkshire, for the Year ending the 31st December 1857, HMSO, 1858, p.134

The impact on families in the community was catastrophic, leaving 90 widows and a total of 220 children without a father. We remember the victims and the devastating impact on the local community.

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