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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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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Autumn falls; rising hope

view of a flowering yellow weed growing out of a sandstone wall with an engine house building above it. Hope in dark times.
View of the winding engine house from the the pumping shaft level

On Saturday 17th October 2020, The Friends of Hemingfield Colliery squeezed another socially-distanced and Covid-safe session for a small number of volunteers. Working outdoors in the fresh air it was a busy day, even if it might have been the last in 2020.

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Saturday successes, 5th Sept 2020

View of lower terrace and top of retaining wall with repairs reaching the top.

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.

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Up and Down

Cloudy but still warm. View of the main headgear from the main gates. Saturday 15th August 2020

Cooler, but no less humid. Cloudy with no chance of downpours. But who trusts the forecasts? The Friends and volunteeers arrived for another COVID-catch-up session; safely-spaced and behind closed-gates to try and make good some of the lost weekends over the past few months that have cast such a long shadow over the country, and worldwide.

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Humid of Hemingfield, seeks shade

Bit warm again. Seeking to keep up the momentum from the last week’s efforts, the Friends and careful band of regular volunteers returned to Hemingfield Colliery once again for another early start to a day of repairs to the rear retaining wall behind the winding engine house. Still gently returning to the site and following COVID-19 secure guidance, the pit was working behind closed gates again for now.

View of the winding engine house and pay off the pumping shaft and headgear next to it.
Sunny view of the pumping shaft and winding engine house
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