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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Celebrating our Heritage on Yorkshire Day

Bright morning and blue sky under the main headgear at Hemingfield, Saturday 1st August.

Nothing but blue skies may be an optimistic note to strike in the midst of a global pandemic, but despite the darker clouds, the ups and downs, through the closings, reopenings and re-closings of recent days, the ability to safely distance and volunteer with others, carefully, outdoors, for a common cause – to protect and restore our common heritage – is something to celebrate. Saturday 1st August also had the distinction of being Yorkshire Day – so it was good to see the blue flags flying the white rose against a mostly blue sky. 

Indeed, despite the widespread uncertainty and social and economic distress since the crisis began in March, it is heartening to see concrete steps being taken to support culture, the arts and heritage; most recently the announcement of the £88M Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage distributed by the National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Historic England, following criteria from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. This fund is part of the £1.57 billion rescue package from government to safeguard cultural and heritage organisations across the UK.

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On yer bike – back to the Bicycle Pit (safely)

Returning to a new normal: a view of the colliery on Saturday 4th July 2020

Back. Working behind closed gates, and observing social distancing and regular hand sanitising, the Friends of Hemingfield Colliery made a careful return to site.

View of the closed pit gates from inside the pit. Keeping volunteers safe as they tentatively start to return to site.
Volunteers working behind closed gates. Trying out the new requirements and taking steps towards more activity back on site.
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From Pit to Pump: 100 years ago today, 15th May 1920

View of Hemingfield Colliery in May 2020: the 2 concrete headgears over the old winding pit and the pumping pit and the 2 engine houses can be seen
View of Hemingfield Colliery, May 2020

100 years ago…

A hundred years ago today, on the 15th May 1920, the last corf load of coal was raised from Earl Fitzwilliam’s Hemingfield Colliery. It marked the end of an era for the pit, as silence fell, albeit temporarily, at the main winding shaft.

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Bright, shiny and new, Saturday 18th January 2020

Wath Road entrance to Hemingfield Colliery

2020! The first Open Day in the new year and what a beautoful day. Bright blue skies above, clear views all around, and a quickening coldness which suggested frost, but was soon chased away by getting to work as the Friends of Hemingfield Colliery and the regular volunteers returned to the pit for another year of activity, in a new decade of life for the colliery.

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Heritage Open Days 2019, Part the Second

Saturday 21st September 2019

A thick mist hung over Elsecar on Saturday morning the first day of a full weekend of Heritage Open Days for Hemingfield Colliery.

(somewhat obstructed) View from Elsecar over to Wentworth

But the sun soon shone through and burned away the lingering mist, as the Friends arrived to open the gates and raise the banner, quite literally, for more of our Heritage Open Days.

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