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!
A Fantastic Company
Following on from a busy couple of public openings and community event activities in September with the Heritage Open Days and Elsecar by the Sea, this weekend was very much time to get back to work, with the Friends of Hemingfield Colliery and volunteers being joined by the fantastic junior soldiers from Waterloo Company, joining us from the Army Foundation College in Harrogate.
The assistance and support from the AFC soldiers is thanks to our friends at the Elsecar Heritage Railway who work with the AFC offering regular volunteer hours with trackwork, rail depot and lineside tasks providing some great team working and learning opportunities alongside some honest graft.
The Friends of Hemingfield Colliery are entering a busy time of year, with a series of events to attend, and planned activities to share and join in with ourselves.
This early weekend, from Friday to Saturday was a celebration of the spirit of volunteering at the colliery and by the colliery in the Elsecar valley which we are proud to call home.
Beautiful countryside around Hemingfield
Junior Soldiers from the Army Foundation College Harrogate with representatives from Elsecar Heritage Railway and The Friends of Hemingfield Colliery (Photo credit: Keith Whitaker)
Saturday 8th April 2017 was an extraordinary open day and working party at Hemingfield Colliery, as the Friends were honoured to be joined by our neighbours from Elsecar Heritage Railway, working together with the great junior soldiers from the Army Foundation College, Harrogate, giving their time to make a real difference here in Hemingfield.
Steam engine Birkenhead passing beneath Hemingfield Colliery
There’s nothing more inspiring than arriving at Hemingfield to find a steam engine on the move and already at work. The Friends of Hemingfield Colliery are lucky to have the Elsecar Heritage Railway right by our site, on a branch line first laid in 1850 as part of the the South Yorkshire Coal Railway (enabled by the 1847 South Yorkshire Doncaster and Goole Railway Act). Built to serve Elsecar’s collieries and ironworks, the line transformed the market for Earl Fitzwilliam’s coal, opening lucrative markets beyond the reach of the Dearne and Dove canal. Barnsley and silkstone seam coals were soon on their way down the Great Northern Railway to London coal merchants at the Kings Cross coal depot.