Open Day, Saturday 8th July 2017

View of the winding engine house in the July sunshine

A bright and beautiful day welcomed the Friends and volunteers to Hemingfield Colliery on Saturday, as the crew returned to do some regular maintenance of the site, as well a continuing the recent excavation on the lower terrace, a pleasing piece of industrial archaeology revealing more of the original stone paving of the colliery.

Continue reading

Happy 3rd Birthday! Saturday 24th June 2017

Happy Birthday to the Friends!

The pit site on its third anniversary under the care of the Friends of Hemingfield Colliery

On Saturday 24th June, The Friends of Hemingfield Colliery gathered at the pit to celebrate the 3rd anniversary of the date that the Friends finally received the keys to the site and could begin the journey which has brought us all to where we are today.

Continue reading

In and Out: two days of volunteering, Friday 9th and Saturday 10th June 2017

The Friends of Hemingfield Colliery are entering a busy time of year, with a series of events to attend, and planned activities to share and join in with ourselves.

This early weekend, from Friday to Saturday was a celebration of the spirit of volunteering at the colliery and by the colliery in the Elsecar valley which we are proud to call home.

Beautiful countryside around Hemingfield

Continue reading

Open Day, Saturday 29th May 2017

Shall we compare thee to a Summer’s day?

All was bright and sunny as the Friends and regular volunteers arrived for this weekend’s open day, marking a great start to the long Bank Holiday weekend.

Director and Site Manager Glen opened the gates to regular volunteers, Keith, Alan, and Nigel, later being joined by Chris. The group caught up on developments since the last open day and determined to continue a mixture of activities, including site clean-up and some archaeology on the lower terrace.

Continue reading

Open Day, Saturday 13th May, 2017

The Friends of Hemingfield Colliery had a very busy time this particular weekend in May as the site was open to visitors on both Friday and Saturday, with a number of groups being given guided tours of the colliery and its history and remaining buildings.

Working day

But first there was work to do. On Saturday Friends Directors Glen and Ian arrived early to complete the fencing of the back of the site. No light task, they closed a gap which had allowed some unwelcome visitors to sneak in previously.

Friends getting to grips with the perimeter fencing (Photo credit: Christine Cameron)

On the record

Amidst the work, the Friends were pleased to welcome two filmmakers to the site. Nick Jordan and Jacob Cartwright arrived from Manchester and toured the site, interested in the history, industrial function, social stories and place of the pit in the community and local landscape. 

Speaking to the Friends, the crew recorded insights into the progress and future plans for the site, including the historical research and creative work of our volunteers, such as Amanda Willoughby’s beautiful artwork project, and the amazing Virtual Reality materials created by Iain Nicholls.

Site Manager Glen discussing the work of the Friends of Hemingfield Colliery (Photo credit: Keith Whitaker)

Friends Director of Community Engagement & Volunteering, Christine, talking to the crew

Friends Chair Steve, and Site Manager Glen taking to the documentary team (Photo credit: Keith Whitaker)

Clear and Pheasant Danger

Elsewhere on site, another regular visitor graced the Friends with her presence: the somewhat carefree pheasant wandered freely around the site and almost into oncoming traffic on Wath Road, until one of the volunteers shooed her back into the pityard and safety.

International Early Engines Conference at Elsecar

During the week, from Thursday 11th until Saturday 13th May, The Ironworks at Elsecar Heritage Centre hosted delegates from the International Early Engines Conference – IEEC – the first event of its type – dedicated to exploring the history, engineering and archaeology of early engines, that is the atmospheric and steam engines developed before 1812.

Hemingfield volunteer Chris giving a brief site tour to IEEC delegates on Saturday (Photo credit: Keith Whitaker)

During two visits on Friday evening, and a further tour on Saturday afternoon, the Friends were delighted to extend a warm welcome to visitors from as far afield as China, New Zealand, Germany and The Netherlands.

Working closely with the Conference organisers, Barnsley Museums and our friends at Elsecar Heritage Railway, the conference delegates had a rich variety of places to visit on the doorstep of the main conference venue, as well as enjoying trips to Rockley furnace and engine house, and to Wortley Top Forge.

Extending a warm welcome to visitors to Elsecar

Remembering the Oaks Colliery Disaster – unveiling the memorial

On Sunday 7th May, the Friends of Hemingfield Colliery were present at the ceremony to mark the public unveiling of the memorial statue you the victims of the Oaks Colliery Disaster. The Oaks Colliery Disaster Memorial which was installed at Church Street in Barnsley was designed and sculpted by Graham Ibbeson (RCA).

Friends Directors Christine and Glen were proud to attend the event, and form part of the public parade, which assembled at Regent Street South and Mandela Gardens at noon. There, the Dodworth Colliery Miners Welfare Band and the City of Sheffield Pipe Band formed a procession, with banners being carried by Trades Unions groups.  Members of the public swelled the numbers as they marched up Church St to the unveiling.

Video by Barnsley and Surrounding Areas


The moment of unveiling the memorial statue (Photo credit: Christine Cameron)

Close up view of the statue by Graham Ibbeson (Photo credit: Christine Cameron)

Coming together: Open day and community activities, 15th April 2017

The Friends of Hemingfield Colliery had a busy and varied day this weekend. In addition to an Open Day at the colliery, Friends Director of Volunteering and Community Engagement, Christine, went to join in the exciting Elsecar Making History event held from 10 to 1pm at the Heritage Centre. The event brought together examples of local history materials from Barnsley Archives, together with an open invitation to visitors to bring their own records, letters, pictures and stories to share.

Back on site, Site Manager Glen opened the gates and was joined by regular volunteers Keith and Frank followed by newcomer Neil. Later volunteer Chris served to lend a hand, and later still we welcomed Andy and Luke.

Continue reading

An Extraordinary Day, 8th April 2017

Junior Soldiers from the Army Foundation College Harrogate with representatives from Elsecar Heritage Railway and The Friends of Hemingfield Colliery (Photo credit: Keith Whitaker)

Saturday 8th April 2017 was an extraordinary open day and working party at Hemingfield Colliery, as the Friends were honoured to be joined by our neighbours from Elsecar Heritage Railway, working together with the great junior soldiers from the Army Foundation College, Harrogate, giving their time to make a real difference here in Hemingfield.

Continue reading

Open Day and Working Party Weekend, 1st April 2017

Despite the forecast, we’re no fools. Sunshine and laughter filled the air as the Friends and crew returned to the colliery on a lively and productive day at the pit.

Site director Glen and Friends Chair Steve opened up the site, welcoming John, Ian, Chris, Phil, Frank, and Keith during the day.

Continue reading

Open Day and Working Party Weekend, Saturday 18th March

Another busy weekend on site, with the Friends and regular volunteers arriving bright and early to continue work on tidying the site and clearing the rubble.

Friends Chair Steve and site manager Glen opened the gates as the crew returned to their tools and continued the noble tousle twixt mankind and tree. They were joined by regular volunteers John, Alan, Nigel, and Chris.

Continue reading