The Friends of Hemingfield Colliery got 2019 off to a great start, continuing with a busy programme of volunteer activities on site.
A hundred years ago today, 31st December 1918, two agreements were signed which effectively saved important parts of our mining heritage in South Yorkshire, and specifically what is now the site of Hemingfield Colliery.
1852 – Disaster strikes at Low Elsecar Colliery
At 1.30 pm on 22nd December 1852 an explosion underground at Hemingfield Colliery (also known as Low Elsecar Colliery) claimed 10 lives and injured a further 12 miners.
End of year reflections
The Friends and volunteers arrived on site for the final time in 2018, with Friends Chair Steve, Site Manager Glen, and regular volunteers Paul, John and Chris, and returning expert John, coming together to open the colliery and reflect on the year’s progress, as well as start planning for the coming year – 2019 – will be 5 years since the Friends of Hemingfield Colliery first took possession of the site and started the slow, but steady work of undoing years of neglect, vandalism and theft on this jewel of a Victorian colliery site.
Grey days and hidden beauty
The Friends of Hemingfield Colliery arrived on site bright and early on Saturday morning; unlike the less than sparkling cloud bank and damp air. Still, the crew were on site and ready to get on with a good days’s work, and at least it wasn’t raining.
Notching up November
On Saturday morning the Friends of Hemingfield Colliery returned to work on another open day. The approach of winter hardens the ground and turns the air, so working out doors becomes harder and the days slightly shorter as the clocks fell back at the end of October. With the great sleep-in behind us, the Friends and regular volunteers were eager to face the ultimate challenge: shifting the Great Stump.
Elsecar Remembers (19th Oct -5th Dec 2018)
As we mentioned in a recent blog post, a collection of local community groups, charities and educational bodies have joined together to create Elsecar Remembers, a project to commemorate the memory of 72 local lives lost in the First World War.
The Friends of Hemingfield Colliery arrived early on site, swinging the gates wide open and stepping into the pit yard. Expecting rain, but finding mostly dry terrain and pleasant working conditions in the mild autumnal air. Looking over across the valley over to Hemingfield proper, the sky was cloudy but blue, and the farmed fields in the distance contrasted with the dense and beautifully dis-colouring trees nearby. It is a turning point in the year when days shorten, clocks go back and woolly jumpers emerge. American poet Robert Frost put it crisply:
O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
(From ‘October’, published in A Boy’s Will, 1913)
Grey Days and Silver Linings
The Friends of Hemingfield Colliery arrived bright and early on site, under a grey sky at Hemingfield. Regular volunteers Keith, John and Chris were on hand to get to work on the first undoubtedly Autumnal day of 2018.
Saturday 15th September 2018
The second and final Heritage Open Day of 2018 began with grey and cloudy skies, though without the unbroken rains that preceded the previous weekend. Friends Chair Steve and regular volunteers Keith and Chris were on site to welcome another series of visitors to the site and provide walking tours of the surviving buildings and machinery.