Coalmining Representation in the Heritage Sector of the East Midlands

Coalmining Representation in the Heritage Sector of the East Midlands Blog

Coalmining Heritage Day at Underwood Saturday 24th September 2016

A celebration of coalmining in the Community at St Michael’s Church, Underwood on Saturday 24th September 2016 from 10.30 am to 4.00 pm. Free Event, all welcome.


Film Screening and Text Study – Odour of Chrysanthemums

The DH Lawrence Society are running a film screening and text study of Lawrence’s “Odour of Chrysanthemums” at the Bestwood Winding Engine House on Thursday 5th June 2014 (10.30am to 2.30pm). Cost is £5 per person which includes drinks and light refreshments plus a tour of the preserved winding engine house. For more details contact the Heritage Officer at Bestwood on (01159) 762422.


Mining Memorabilia Event – Bestwood – Sun 27th April 2014







A free event to promote the rich heritage of the coalmining industry in Nottinghamshire takes place at the preserved Bestwood Winding Engine House, 4 miles north of Nottingham, on Sunday 27th April 2014 from 10am to 2pm.  Members of the National Mining Memorabilia Association will put on displays of coalmining artefacts and tours of the preserved 1876 Colliery Winding Engine will be available on the day.   Drinks and home made cakes will be available for purchase in the Dynamo House at the very reasonable price of a quid for a drink and piece of cake – best cake / drink deal in the county!

Copies of the recently released book “A History of the Nottinghamshire Miners Unions Vol. 4 (1980 – 1985) will be available at the discounted price of £10.99 per copy.

All welcome – further details on (01159) 762422 or by e-mail at


History of the Nottinghamshire Miners Vol.4 (1980-1985)







The book version of my PhD thesis to the University of Nottingham is available in book form which forms Vol. 4 of  ”A History of the Nottinghamshire Miners Unions 1980 – 1985″.  Most of the book covers the eventful period from the introduction of the NUM overtime ban in October 1983 through to the formation of the UDM in December 1985.  The book compliments the work on the Nottinghamshire Miners Unions, Vol. 1 (1881 – 1914) and Vol.2 (1914 – 1944) by the late Prof. Alan R Griffin.  The book, priced £13.99, can be purchased at the following outlets:

Bestwood Winding Engine House (Open Saturday mornings 10am – 12 Noon from Easter to end of October) Tel:  (01159) 762422

Kirkby-in-Ashfeld Heritage Centre (open Saturday mornings from 10am – 12 Noon)  Tel: (01623) 720111

Mansfield Museum (open daily Mon – Sat) – Tel: (01623) 463088

D.H. Lawrence Heritage Centre in Eastwood – (Open Tues to Sundays 10am – 5pm)   Tel: (01773) 717353


Having the Crack – what was it?


The Eastwood Pitman in full flow!

Having the Crack was a distinct type of dry, quick witted humour that existed, not only in the pits, but in many of the traditional heavy British industries.  Have a neb at David Coleman, the Eastwood Pitman, telling a funny story about a miner’s snap tin

This section aims to collect some of the humorous bits connected to the coalmining industry – witty quotes, short stories, poems and cartoons.


Mining Heritage Tour – 2012 DH Lawrence Festival

On Sunday 16th September a group of 32 people took part in a Mining Heritage Tour as part of the 2012 DH Lawrence Festival.  The two-week annual festival took place from 6th – 19th September 2012 and included many activities and events  connected with the Eastwood author.  The Mining Heritage Tour visited various mining memorial sites at former Nottinghamshire collieries as well as various mining heritage sites including Brinsley Headstocks, Bestwood Winding Engine house and the Breach House.  David Amos, tour organiser, gave a potted pit history at each stop as well as introducing the visitors to some prominent, and often controversial characters, connected with the various pit sites on the tour.  These included Arthur Lawrence (Butty), Colin Clarke (NUM Branch Official), Harold Larwood (Cricketer) and George Spencer (Controversial Notts Miners Leader from 1926).



Visit to Bestwood Winding Engine House

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.



Dust – Mansfield Palace Theatre

On Wednesday 18th April 2012 the play Dust was performed at the Mansfield Palace Theatre in Mansfield.  Dust is the story of miners and coal mining communities.  It is a story of dreams and reality in Britain partly shaped by the the social and political upheaval of events surrounding the 1984-85 Miners’ Strike.  It is also the story of two Arthur’s – Arthur Scargill, NUM President 1982-2002, and Arthur Cook – A  J Cook – leader of the Miners Federation of Great Britain in the 1926 Miners lockout.  Scargill’s inspiration and involvement in mining trade unionism was based on his admiration for A J Cook.

Dust is a fictional account of a ghost from the past that comes to haunt Scargill the morning after the death of Margaret Thatcher.  It was not without controversy and the plot questioned aspects of Scargill’s role in the 1984-85 strike among other things.  To that end when the play opened in Barnsley on 17th March it was disrupted by hecklers in the audience.  The play was written and directed by Ade Morris.


Newstead Colliery – End of an Era – 25th anniversary

19th March 2012 saw the 25th anniversary of the finish of coal production at Newstead Colliery.  At the time Newstead was part of the Annesley-Bentinck-Newstead Complex, with all coal from Newstead travelling by underground conveyors to the coal preparation plant at Bentinck.  From here coal was dispatched by “Merry Go Round” Trains to Ratcliffe Power Station.

Newstead’s peak period of production was 1960 – 1976 when it regularly turned over 1 million tons of coal each year.  During this period Newstead employed 1,400 men.  At the time of closure Newstead employed just over 600 men turning 385,000 tons of coal.  At the finish of production coal was being produced from the High Hazels seam.

The sinking of the Newstead shafts commenced in 1874 and the subsequent colliery village (the Old Village) followed shortly afterwards.  The colliery village was extended in the 1920′s (the New Village).  This part of the colliery village was sometimes nicknamed “Wembley” following one of the house designs being exhibited at the 1922 Wembley exhibition.

Food for thought that anyone under the age of 35 will hardly have known Newstead as a coalmining community.


Railway and Canal Historical Society Walk – Pinxton Area – 15th March 2012

On Thursday 15th March 2012 the MuBu Miner led an Industrial Heritage Walk for the East Midlands Branch of the Railway and Canal Historical Society around the Pinxton area on the Nottinghamshire / Derbyshire borders.  Fifteen hardy souls took part in the walk which commenced at Pye Bridge, initially following the former Pinxton Branch of the Cromford Canal to the current Pinxton Wharf and the site of the former Great Northern Pinxton Station.  The second stage of the walk went from the Wharf to the John King Museum which was kindly opened up by members of the South Normanton and Pinxton Local History Society.  John King, a Pinxton Victorian, invented the safety detaching hook which unhooked the cage from the rope in the event of an overwind.

The third stage of the walk went from the museum to the Horse and Jockey Public House on Church Lane, Selston via the former Brookhill Colliery site (closed 1969) , the current coal prep plant which is washing the coal from the tip recycle at the former Langton Colliery (1844-1968) and the former Pinxton and Selston Station on the former Midland Kirkby to Pye Bridge line.

A good day was enjoyed by all and many thanks go to the South Normanton and Pinxton Local History Society for opening the John King Museum and providing tea and coffee for the walkers.  Also thanks go to Jane, Landlady of the Horse and Jockey.


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.