I recently visited the former Colliery Winding Engine House at Bestwood Colliery. It was the first time I have visited since restoration work was done as part of a successful HLF funding bid in 2009. A magnificent example of a vertical steam winding engine, the only one in Britain that survives on its original site. Most steam winding engines at collieries were of the horizontal type. The Bestwood Winding Engine House is open on Saturday mornings (10.00am – 12 Noon) from April to October.
Being a dog owner (we own a Parsons Russell Terrier) I do lots of walking. The health virtues of walking are often mentioned in the media but there is another aspect to it. With a little background research, a keen set of eyes and some imagination every walk becomes a history lesson. This morning a short hours walk included the site of several old pits that operated around Eastwood in the 1800′s, the former home of one half of the Eastwood coalowners (the Walker Family), the coach-drive that connected the home of the Walkers to the home of the other half of the Eastwood coalowners (the Barbers), a former industrial railway that connected the Barber-Walker pits, former pit houses and within shouting distance of the birthplace of a worldwide renown author (D H Lawrence).
Hoskins (the founder of Local History) once said that the best way to study Local History is to put a pair of boots on, get some old maps and walk about? A favourite saying of my Dad’s about the men at the pit was – “Some men at this pit travel the world and see nothing, a few others walk across a field and see everything”!
Recently it was my pleasure to meet some of the Committee Members from the Bilsthorpe Heritage Society. The group was formed in 1997 following the closure of Bilsthorpe Colliery with the aim to try and ensure that the coalmining, agricultural and social history of Bilsthorpe remains an integral part of the village community development.
Bilsthorpe is a 20th century coalmining community which developed in the late 1920′s. The Stanton Company developed the sinking of the pit between 1927 and 1927 and the subsequent development of the village followed. In all the pit was in production for 70 years.
The group are working towards getting a permanent exhibition for their vast collection of memorabilia, much of which was salvaged from the pit when it closed. They regularly go to various heritage exhibitions and work with schools on coalmining history based projects.
For further details of the Society e-mail on: email@example.com
The MuBu Coalmining Project took place from April 2010 to the end of March 2012. The remit was two-fold - firstly to see how the once vast coalmining industry in the East Midlands was represented in the Heritage sector and secondly to bring aspects of social media to that representation. The Coal mining project was funded by Renaissance East Midlands (REM) and the Centre for Advanced Studies (CAS) at the University of Nottingham. The Bursary holder is Dr. David Amos who completed a PHD on the 1984-85 Miners Strike in the Nottinghamshire Coalfield. David is an ex miner, having worked in the deep mining coal industry at Annesley Colliery for 24 years.