Summertime had certainly arrived in Hemingfield, with the village Gala taking place at the Ellis Church of England Primary School, over the canal, across the valley from the colliery at the top of Tingle Bridge Lane. Friends Director and Site Manager Glen opened the pit gates and put out the signing-in sheets ready for what would be a bright and busy, somewhat muggy, but memorable day.
The start of Summer can only mean one thing – torrential downpours. Perhaps predictably Saturday was something of a washout. On Sunday, however, the Friends and Volunteers gathered early once more. Site manager Glen welcomed John, Nigel and Amanda, and Chris. Phil and Frank joined the troops later during the day.
On Saturday the Friends were delighted to host a visit from a number of members of the Northern Mine Research Society. It was a pleasure to introduce visitors to Hemingfield and our colliery site; the two shafts, the 1840s pump and winding engine houses and later machinery and buildings.
On Friday evening, the Friends of Hemingfield Colliery were privileged to be present at the unveiling of the restored Newcomen beam engine at Elsecar. The engine – a Scheduled Ancient Monument, No. SY1146, since June 1972 – is the only atmospheric engine in the world still in situ; still working in its original building and over the original mine shaft. Built in 1795 as the Dearne and Dove canal drew nearer, and the 4th Earl Fitzwilliam’s Elsecar collieries and industrial enterprises were being expanded, the engine has pumped billions of gallons of mine water during its working life – a run which officially ended in 1923 when electric pumps were installed by the the South Yorkshire Pumping Association – the same body that maintained the pumping stations at Hemingfield and over at Westfield in Rawmarsh.