Seasons to be cheerful
The Friends of Hemingfield Colliery arrived on site this weekend as autumn colours finally began to take hold all around. Shivering trees of burnt orange and raw sienna tones, Woody Nightshade berries of bright tomato-red shades and Yellow Snapdragon flowers of a delicate lemon hue all displayed their dazzling natural beauty against a backdrop of grey-brown industrial features.
Woody Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara) plants have invaded the site, clambering over rocks and brick rubble and smothering scrap heaps. This plant is a member of the Solanaceae family, the most well-known genera of this family perhaps being Solanum tuberosum (potato) and Solanum lycopersicum (tomato). Woody Nightshade is a truly beautiful plant with curvaceous, arrow-shaped leaves and striking purple flowers, which are succeeded by succulent, though highly poisonous, scarlet fruits.
Yellow Snapdragons (Linaria vulgaris) are dancing happily on our freshly-formed clearance spoil heaps, their delicate pale lemon and yellow petals adding a welcome splash of sunshine to the dull brown mounds of soil. Naturally a late bloomer, the Yellow Snapdragon can often be seen brightening up waste places, disturbed land, road verges and railway sidings as the sparkly month of October turns into gloomy November.
And this changing season has brought with it changing times for the colliery – the beginnings of a new lease of life for the engine house.
Thanks to generous support from The Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership, the Association for Industrial Archaeology, and Subterranea Britannica, the colliery site has been transformed as work has begun on the repair and restoration of the roof of building which held the 1846 beam winding engine.
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
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.
A Winter’s Tale
The Hemingfield Colliery Friends and volunteers were anticipating what the weather might bring, as they met up on Saturday morning for another productive working day. Continue reading
Lighting up the past – Bright sunshine on the pumping engine house.
As reported elsewhere, the weekend of the 5th-6th September 2015 was the occasion of ‘Elsecar by the Sea’ – a celebration of all things Elsecar and a chance for the Friends to get out and about and meet local people and visitors to raise awareness of the site; however the work on site must go on, and a working party gathered on Saturday to continue the clearance activity.
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.
The Friends returned to Hemingfield ready for another busy weekend of site clearance, material reclamation, and more than a dash of industrial archaeology. Discussions on everything from future developments, the history of the site and the physical structure of cast iron could be heard around the pit yard as the volunteers continued to get stuck into the work of bringing life back to the site.
Saturday was another bright day to open what would be a very busy working party weekend with Friends, volunteers and visitors in and around the site on both days. As usual Friends Glen (Director and Site manager) and Steve (Chair of the Friends) were the first to appear, opening up the colliery gates and preparing the plan of action for the first of two days of volunteer work as the site comes alive once more.
Hemingfield basin – with Hemingfield Colliery above
Springtime showers marked the beginning of the first working party in April, but they quickly cleared, and as bluer skies returned the Friends and volunteers got to grips with another weekend of site clearance.
Happy New Year from the Friends of Hemingfield Colliery, to volunteers, partners, our local neighbours and all interested followers of our progress near and far – here’s hoping 2015 is a busy and productive year for all of us!
Saturday and Sunday 24th-25th January saw the first official Working Party event of 2015, and we were pleased to welcome old friends and new to the site over the course of the weekend to get stuck in to more site clearance work.