Picking up from our previous update at the end of March, you might be forgiven for thinking that the seasons had jumped, with winter returning, as snow fell on site on the morning of 31st March; the pit briefly donning a white cloak, before warmer air, and the green shoots of Spring began to emerge more fully.
This week’s blog will review the progress made at Hemingfield Colliery throughout 2021.
Starting with the group’s first day back on site and reflecting on the jobs completed throughout the year. Recapping on a few important dates before finishing with the group’s final visit on the 18th December.
The original contents of this particular whisky flask type glass bottle are unknown, although spirits seem more likely than the round bottles usually seen for beer. Starting with this object with a local provenance, and working with memories and records from Hemingfield families, this blog is an exploration of the changing times in the village, and a small contribution to sharing the stories of local people through to the present day, as part of The Friends of Hemingfield Colliery’s Hemingfield’s Hidden History project, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. It’s thanks to National Lottery players that this history and heritage work can be developed and shared with the public.
Seizing another weekend of good weather and maintaining the momentum of recent weeks, the Friends and regular volunteers started early and quickly got shovelling, mixing and delivering lime mortar ready to continue rebuilding the collapsed rear retaining wall. Working safely outdoors and with focus to get the job done, the global pandemic seemed a little further away for a short while.
A nice prospect: the pit opening up, but tinged with frustration at criminal damage
It was an absolutely cracking day at Hemingfield for the Open Day. Compared to the previous fortnight when rain stopped play. The sun was beating down, baking the ground, drawing all the greenery higher. Set against the bright blue sky it was beautiful; still the crew were eager to get back on site and stuck in once more. Friends Chair Steve, and Site Manager Glen opened up, joined by regular volunteers John, Paul, Chris and Keith during the day which was equal parts glorious sunshine and hard yacker.
Hot, bright sunshine shone down across the valley from Elsecar on Saturday as the Friends and regular volunteers arrived at the pit for the final Open Day in April. 2018 has truly flown by!
With Site Manager Glen out on assignment, regular volunteer Keith opened up the gates. He was joined by a good band of volunteers, Paul, John, Mike and Barrie. A fair array of brimmed headwear was on show, most sporting baseball caps, before the arrival of Chris, who was seeking deep cover under a cricket hat.
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.
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.