Coalmining Representation in the Heritage Sector of the East Midlands

Coalmining Representation in the Heritage Sector of the East Midlands Blog

S is for Snibston Colliery and Discovery Museum.

Snibston Colliery, locally known as Snibo,  is situated in the heart of the former Leicestershire coalfield in the town of Coalville.  The Colliery finished production in 1983 but remained in situ for receiving coal from Whitwick  and South Leicester Collieries until they both closed in 1986.  Snibston Colliery commenced production in 1832 and had links with the famous industrialist and Engineer, George Stephenson.

The Colliery Headstocks and buildings survived to become part of the Snibston Discovery Museum. Part of the Museum includes the excellent Colliery Tours conducted by former miners.  The tours describe vividly what life was like in coalmining and include visits to the colliery winding house, the control room, the Lampcabin and the Explosives Magazine. The Story of Coal and coalmining is told in the gallery part of the museum using interactive, hands on exhibits, audio visuals, mining artefacts and various exhibitions.

Deep coalmining finished in this part of the world when Bagworth Colliery turned its last coal in February 1991. The super-pit at Asfordby, part of the Vale of Belvoir Project, never really materialised, and it closed in 1997 after merely two-years of production.  The cost of this “White Elephant Project” was between half and three-quarters of a billion pounds to the British taxpayers. Surely the dearest coal ever in the history of coalmining!


R is for the Rufford Colliery Memorial

The Rufford Colliery Memorial stands at the end of the former pit lane in the former colliery village of Rainworth, near Mansfield, Nottinghamshire.  Sinking of the Rufford shafts commenced in 1912 by the Bolsover Colliery Company.  The Colliery closed in 1993 during the coal-crisis of October 1992 – March 1994.


Q is for The Quadrangle – Newstead Colliery Village

The Quadrangle is made up of houses built in the early 1920′s that formed part of the “new village” at Newstead.  Sinking of the two shafts began in 1874 and coal was first won and sold in 1876.  Around 1875 the Newstead Colliery ”Old Village” was constructed. 

When the new village was completed in 1924 it provided additional accomodation for the miners at Newstead Colliery.  The Miners Welfare Club opened a year previous to the new village.  The Welfare Complex is now a centre for regeneration following the closure of the colliery in March 1987.

The new village used to be nicknamed “Wembley” by locals, this is because a design of one of the houses was exhibited at the Wembley British Empire Exhibition in the early 1920′s. 

Newstead Old Village c1985


P is for Pleasley Colliery

The Friends of Pleasley Colliery.

Pleasley Colliery is situated between Mansfield and Chesterfield on the A617.  The colliery finished production in 1983 when it merged with the nearby Shirebrook Colliery.  Both headstocks , complete with steam winding engines are now preserved on the site and looked after by the Friends of Pleasley Colliery.  Various open days take place each year with a number of added attractions being present.  The shafts were sunk by the Stanton Ironworks Company in the 1873-1875 period.

The MuBu Miner visted Pleasley during the second weekend of September 2010 when the site opened as part of the heritage weekend, a nationwide initiative when sites of historical interest open their doors to the public.


O is for the Ormonde Colliery Memorial

Ormonde Colliery – 1908 – 1970

Over the last three – four years many mining memorials, in the guise of half headstock wheels, have appeared in various East Derbyshire former mining communities.  Most of these pit villages and towns lost their pits during the mass closure programme of the 1960′s.   One of the memorials is situated at Loscoe whose last pit, Ormonde, closed in 1970.   The closure of Ormonde brought deep coal-mining to an end in the Heanor region of Derbyshire.

The Losoce memorial is situated around halfway between Heanor and Codnor on the A6007.  For a potted history on coalmining in this region see “A History of Mining in the Heanor Area”  by the Heanor and District Local History Society (1993).   Copies are usually available at the Shipley Park Visitor Centre near Heanor.   Price £3.


N is for the National Mining Memorabilia Association

The National Mining Memorabilia Association (NMMA)

 The NMMA was set up in 1996 by a number of mottie collectors based around the county.  The reason for setting up the Association was  to counteract the high prices being demanded by market traders for mining memorabilia in the aftermath of the demise of the coal industry in the 1980′s and 1990′s.    The aim of the association is to promote trade and mutual interest between members.  The main subject areas the NMMA deal in is pit motties, lapel badges, lamps and general coalmining memorabilia such as old helmets.

The NMMA have regular meetings around the country and new membership is only £10 per year and includes an NMMA Badge.  The next meeting is Sunday 6th February 2011 (10.30am) at the Milton Hall, Elsecar, South Yorks. S74 8ES. 

Details of the NMMA from Secretary Jeremy Winter, Northcliffe Cottage, Newton Road, Newton Solney, Derbyshire, DE15 OTG.                      Tel (01283) 539963

 The NMMA website can be found at       

MuBu miners motties and swipe card from Annesley Colliery


M is for MACE (Full Circle Project)

MACE (Movie Archive for Central England)

The Full Circle Project is looking for old movie footage from past times which can be copied into digital form.  As part of the Full Circle Project I am looking for old coalmining footage from the coalfields of the East Midlands.  Already several useful clips have been identified and the first batch have been deposited with the Full Circle Project. 

The first batch is footage from 1992 at Bentinck Colliery in Notts and shows the demolition of the last chimney from the old steam winders plus the filling in of the last shaft at Bentinck  – the No. 2 shaft.   With the extensive work schedule this should be copied in May 2011.  The aim of the project is to identify footage which can then be used by community groups and educational purposes.

Anyone with any mining footage can contact the MuBu miner on 01773 760030 or  or look for the MuBu miners Facebook page.  


L is for Langwith Whaley Thorns Heritage Centre

The Langwith Whaley Thorns Heritage Centre is based in the former Methodist Chapel on West Street in the former mining community of Whaley Thorns.  The Centre is the home for various collections of artefacts with a strong industrial base.  Coalmining plays a very strong part of the collection, the area having a rich coalmining heritage.  Langwith Colliery closed in 1977.

Admission is free and the centre is open Wednesday’s, Saturday’s and Sunday’s from 10am – 3pm.  Various events take place throughout the year including walks, talks and exhibitions.  The staff at the centre are very friendly and a proper mug of tea awaits those who ask!  The centre is ideally situated near Langwith Whaley Thorns Station on the Robin Hood Line between Mansfield and Worksop.



K is for the Kirkby Colliery Memorial

Kirkby Colliery was situated in the Nottinghamshire town of Kirkby-in-Ashfield.  It was sunk by the Butterley Company in 1890 and closed in 1968.  The closure was controversial as Kirkby had been planned to be a “Super Pit” project, joining Kirkby, Brookhill and Langton collieries together with all output surfacing at Kirkby.  There was a issue of tipping space (colliery spoil) which brought things to a head in 1968.

The memorial initially came about following a Millenium History Project on the pit  by Christine Kidger in 2000.  The colliery is affectionately known as “Summit” locally as the colliery was based on the summit of the railway and former tramway which runs between Pinxton and Mansfield.  It was a “big hitter” regularly producing over 1,000,000 tons of coal per annum.



J is for the John King Museum – Pinxton

The John King Museum is based in the former mining village of Pinxton on the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire borders near the town of Kirkby-in-Ashfield. 

It is a small but very compact museum with strong local coalmining links.  The museum is named after John King who invented the “detaching hook” in the 19th century.  The detaching hook is a device which prevents overwinding the cage into the headstocks.  A model of the detaching hook is displayed in the museum.  The museum is open from April to October each year on Sunday afternoons from 2pm – 4.30pm.  It is overseen by the South Normanton and Pinxton Local History Society.

Coalmining finished in Pinxton with the closure of Brookhill Colliery in 1969.  However, the nearby Bentinck Colliery remained in production as part of the Annesley-Bentinck Complex until January 2000.  Pinxton’s links with the deep mining industry continue as it is the HQ for Joy Mining Ltd.



About this Sponsor

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 was 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.