Out-bye 2015: the last shift

Year’s end

The year ended quietly at Hemingfield; with strangely mild temperatures but constant rain, bringing floods to the North. Our final open day in December was, unfortunately, rained off, but the Friends continued with their current research projects, and set to planning events and identifying new opportunities to pursue in the new year. Elsewhere bigger events dominated the news… Continue reading

14th November 2015 – Village Ramblings


Heavy clouds signaled the start of what would be a very wet weekend in Hemingfield, and an unsettled one for South Yorkshire. Site director Glen and regular volunteers Phil and Chris arrived to continue the site clearance work, but with only the odd break in the cloud for company, they decided to sound the retreat and stay dry. This gave us a chance to go and explore – and what could be better than a historical village ramble in Elsecar!

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Working Party Weekend 22nd-23rd August 2015

Summer satisfaction: Sunshine, showers and slow but certain progress

Summer satisfaction: Sunshine, showers and slow but certain progress

Past, Present and Future

The Friends and volunteers arrived on site for a hot, humid and historic weekend of digging – literally and figuratively – into the past of Hemingfield Colliery. It made for a wonderful couple of working party sessions.

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Working Party Weekend, 8th-9th August 2015


Summertime in South Yorkshire

Saturday was a beautiful, sunny day in Hemingfield, and the Friends of Hemingfield Colliery were delighted to welcome a group of extra volunteers on site to get stuck in to tidying things up, but also continuing the gentle archaeology of the site – peeling back the top layer of soil and roots to reveal some of the former colliery’s features beneath.

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Open Day – Our 1st Anniversary!


A Summer Celebration

On a gloriously sunny day, the Friends arrived on site early, eager to set-up and get ready for the first anniversary open day event – a chance for the Friends of Hemingfield Colliery to celebrate one year of progress since taking possession of the site on 27th June 2014. What a year it has been!

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Many Happy Returns! – Come and join us on our first birthday on Saturday 27th June

Photo credit: Christine Cameron

The sun always shines in Hemingfield

Saturday 27th June 2015 is a very special date – the first birthday of the Friends of Hemingfield Colliery.

To mark the day we will be opening the site as a Open Day, enabling visitors to learn more about our work and future plans for the site. The site will be open from 10am until 5pm, so come and see us at any time during the day.

  • Visit the pit yard, with its two shafts down to the Barnsley seam, and see the 1840s winding engine house.
  • Meet the Friends who helped to save the site and are working hard to secure its future.
  • Join our current volunteers and supporters in celebrating what we have learned so far, and reflecting on what the future has to hold.

Please share your memories, photographs and any questions with us.

On the day you’ll find a diverse range of experienced specialists and people passionate about the site, its history, machinery, working life and its people.

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Read all about it! Share our history and keep up-to-date with our newsletter

Things have been very busy since taking possession of the colliery site. The Friends have been delighted by the response from visitors, volunteers, partners, and the wider community. We’ve also heard from a range of people near and far interested in our work and discoveries so far.

Hemingfield Colliery winding pit headgear

Hemingfield Colliery winding pit headgear

In order to document our progress, share the history of the site, and keep everyone up-to-date with the latest developments, we are aiming to create a regular newsletter to be circulated electronically.

So, now we need your help! We are looking for any interesting stories or photographs of Hemingfield Colliery and its surroundings to be included in the newsletter. We welcome any stories or memories for consideration. The aims are to spread the word about the range of our activities, learn more about the past of the site, and keep everyone posted about the programme of events and future opportunities to get involved.

To contribute to this new newsletter, or simply register your interest in receiving the updates, please contact us using the form below, or directly by email to hemingfield.colliery@gmail.com


18th and 19th October – Keeping busy

Saturday was a very busy day on site with visitors, volunteers and members of the local community exploring the site, digging up rubble, reclaiming materials for future reuse, as well as discussing both the past and the possible futures for the colliery and its surroundings.

No shortage of bricks!

No shortage of bricks!

We were delighted to welcome back members of the Live Project team from the University of Sheffield’s School of Architecture. The whole group of thirteen students have been busy developing proposals for the future development of the site, and the project members have already conducted visitor research and are surveying the opinions of members of the local community. In the near future the team will be presenting some of their ideas as part of a stall at the Elsecar Heritage Centre.

Pumping pit headgear

Pumping pit headgear

We were also fortunate to have a number of experts on site – mining historians and professionals who can shed further light on the standing structures and phases of development in the site’s working life. There’s lots still to be discovered about the story of the site – from its beginnings in the 1840s through to the end of the First World War when it was under the control of Earl Fitzwilliam, then into the South Yorkshire Pumping Association and Mines Drainage Committee years, and finally up to its most recent history just before the site’s acquisition by the Friends of Hemingfield Colliery.

Sunday was quieter by comparison, but another beautifully sunny day in which to get stuck into the working party tasks of clearing vegetation, digging out rubble and reclaming whatever materials we can as we go. One element of this work is the reclamation of bricks – cleaning, stacking and storing original building materials is important to our work.

On brick reclamation duty as bricks emerge from other parts of the site being cleared of rubble.

On brick reclamation duty as bricks emerge from other parts of the site being cleared of rubble.

As many of the volunteers will recognise, we have a wealth of different types of bricks on the site and a number of visitors have commented on some of the names – local makers’ names both remembered and long since disappeared. As we make progress in exploring and clearing the site, we hope to be able to add some information about some of these related histories; often important concerns for local history. Please follow this link to the first of these concerning Skiers Spring brickworks.

Working Parties Update

Due to poor weather conditions and some unforeseen circumstances the general working parties scheduled for 8-9th and 29-30th November have been cancelled. However, the Friends have remained busy throughout, both on site and attending events (see the following blog posts!).

Please see the Working Parties page for further updates.