On Saturday 7th April the Friends of Hemingfield Colliery hosted a special open day visit from members of the Sheffield-based Time Travellers group of archaeology enthusiasts. The group had arranged a day trip to the Elsecar Heritage Action Zone area, being hosted by Dr Tegwen Roberts (Elsecar Heritage Action Zone officer), and filled a busy day visiting the Newcomen beam engine, exploring the buildings of the Heritage Centre, stopping by the Elsecar Heritage Railway and reviewing the archaeological research underway in the area and supported by Historic England.
ELR Loco William passes the pit
In the afternoon, Dr Roberts led the group of around 25 members down from Elsecar to visit Hemingfield Colliery, guiding the visitors along the Dearne and Dove canal towpath, past the Hemingfield Colliery basin and on to Tingle Bridge with its surviving lock-side public house, the Elephant and Castle.
The Next Shift
The Friends of Hemingfield Colliery were keen to return to site this Saturday – to open the gates, collect tools, and return to the dig at the rear of the winding engine house.
Friends Chair Steve welcomed regular volunteers John, Keith and Paul, followed by Chris. The crew returned to the scene of the earlier discovery of the coal tub, and picked up where they left off, removing the spoil in what is quickly becoming a fascinating area of hidden features.
With November fast disappearing it certainly began to feel a lot like Christmas was knocking on the door as the Friends arrived on site to open the gates for another open day and working party. Site Manager Glen welcomed regular volunteers John, Alan, Nigel, Keith, Chris and new recruit Paul to site. Jack Frost more than nibbled on our toes as ice glistened on wall-tops, and ground frost led to some fancy footwork during the morning; all thankfully relieved by bright sunshine in a surprisingly clear and beautifully crisp blue sky.
For the last open day weekend in September, the Friends of Hemingfield Colliery gathered in numbers. Site Manager Glen was joined by Friends Chair Steve, and regular volunteers Nigel, Alan, John, together with John, Phil, Chris, Mike and another Phil – a very full crew.
Full house. Catching up with Friends and volunteers
Another year flies around and suddenly it’s the first weekend in September once again. Time for the Elsecar by the Sea festival.
A community gala, a great beer festival and a weekend of public activities, including railway trips, live music, entertainers and fairground rides all celebrating the promenading wonders of Elsecar by the Sea.
The origins of the celebration date to the turn of the Twentieth century when the summer charms of Elsecar’s reservoir were promoted to Sheffield city dwellers as a ‘seaside’ escape from the industrial grime and smog.
Raising the roof
There was excitement in the air, alongside the welcome warmth of the September sunshine, as the Friends of Hemingfield Colliery and their regular volunteers gathered on site to kick start another busy day’s work and open the gates to visitors.
Friends Chair Steve, and Directors Glen, Ian, and Christine were all on site during the day to share the latest news on developments on site and some exciting plans for the coming year.
Earlier in the week the Friends were able to announce the fantastic news that thanks to the tremendous support of the Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership, The Association for Industrial Archaeology, and Subterranea Britannica, the group had been able to secure funds to completely reconstruct the roof of the 1846 winding engine house.
View of the 1846 winding engine house
THE FIRST WORKING PARTY OF THE NEW YEAR!
A grey, but mild, Saturday morning saw Friends Chair Steve catch the attention of an inquisitive, passing dog walker, as he opened up the heavy steel gates to the Hemingfield Colliery site in readiness for another productive working day. Steve duly treated the gentleman and his four-legged friend to an impromptu tour of the site and an explanation of the archaeological and reclamation work underway.
The Friends of Hemingfield Colliery warmly welcome visitors and are always happy to showcase and explain their work to interested guests and to share their exciting plans and aspirations for the future of the site.
The Friends of Hemingfield Colliery are delighted to announce that we have received a grant of £950 from South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation (SYCF) to further help the development of the group and continue our work on site.
The grant is administered by SYCF and has been made from the AESSEAL Charitable Trust Grassroots Endowment Fund for South Yorkshire to whom FOHC would like to express our sincere thanks.
The grant is to help with the ongoing insurance costs for the site until October 2016, to develop promotional materials helping to raise awareness of the group’s activities, and to provide tools and equipment for volunteers to make real progress whilst on site.
South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation was founded in 1986, and over the past 30 years they have raised and distributed over £25m in grants to community and voluntary projects across South Yorkshire, and created an Endowment of over £10m providing a lasting legacy that will continue to support South Yorkshire for many years to come. Their work aims to demonstrate that:
- Local giving can transform lives
- Together we can build stronger communities
- Together we can achieve economic, social and physical well-being across South Yorkshire
- Everyone deserves the same opportunities to fulfill their potential, no matter where they live
About the Endowment
AESSEAL®, a Rotherham-based company specialising in the design and manufacture of mechanical seals and support systems, created a charitable endowment fund in response to the national Grassroots matched funding initiative from 2008-11. This endowment generates a sustainable source of funding which SYCF administer for the benefit of South Yorkshire.
The weekend saw a smaller working party than usual convene at Hemingfield Colliery, as Site Director Glen met with volunteers Nigel and Chris on an overcast Saturday morning. The team itself was far from overcast, however, and a bright and jolly mood pervaded as the work began.