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 Friends of Hemingfield Colliery (FOHC) are delighted to announce that we have received commitments of the funds needed to reconstruct the roof of the historically important 1846 Vertical Winding Engine House.
All around Hemingfield, 1911
Saturday was another wet one; a disappointing summer’s day at Hemingfield, and unfortunately the working party and open day were called off. The Friends and volunteers staying indoors to return again on a drier day.
Undeterred, everyone turns their time to good account: the Directors continue their planning work to ensure the future of the site. Meanwhile our active volunteers dive back into their own pursuits inspired by the site. Whether it be investigating the social and economic history; modelling the geological context of Hemingfield; studying the wildlife on site, or seeking inspiration from the variety of flora and fauna to create new artwork, providing new perspectives on the colliery.
In future posts we will start to share the fruits of all of this time and effort. For now, this post will bring together a few odds and ends from some recent delvings into the past, some mining miscellanea.
Too hot to handle…
Saturday presented a very British problem: an actual summer’s day, filled with sunshine and calling for hats, lotion and shade. Friends Chair Steve, and Director Glen were on site ‘early doors’, accompanied by volunteer and ecologist Antony who was conducting a survey of the wildlife in the pit’s boundaries.
The Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership are preparing to launch a new community engagement project, “Archaeology and Geology of the Dearne” which will offer opportunities to learn more about the setting, development and history of key heritage sites through the Dearne Valley.
Read more about the project on their website
Elsecar Heritage Railway steam loco Birkenhead shuttling up and down the line, with Hemingfield village across the fields in the background.
Bank Holiday Weekend fun
The Friends of Hemingfield Colliery returned to the pit on Saturday at the start of a wonderful Bank Holiday weekend. The sun was shining and it was a great day to be outdoors.
Site Director Glen and Friends’ Chair Steve were on site early ready for work, trimming back the lush grass which has shot up over the past couple of weeks. They were joined by Peak volunteers John, Eric and Chris, with regular volunteer Chris arriving later in the morning.
Nunnery Colliery 1897
Hewers leaving work 1896
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
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!
Headgear in autumn sun
Autumn had arrived at Hemingfield Colliery and the rustling silver birch leaves were glistening golden-ochre as regular Friends and volunteers Alan, John, Phil, Chris, Nigel, Amanda and Site Director Glen met at the start of another working weekend.
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.