28DL Regular User
Barnsley Main Colliery
As soon as I saw this pop up on the forum a couple of months back I knew I wanted to pay a visit. Having spent a fruitless day searching for mining remains in the north east a couple of months ago I'd already discovered that this kind of thing wasn't common place - much of it had seemingly been eradicated from the face of the earth - so it quickly shot to the top of my list. For a few weeks it seemed like so many people were exploring it the council may as well have put a turnstile in and made some money for its restoration. But then it went quiet.
By the time I got over that way I seriously expected it to have been sealed up again. It was the end of the day and I thought if all else failed I could get a nice silhouette of it against the golden sunset. But there it was like an oasis in the desert - an inviting entry point. I had a quick look inside but it was getting dark and I wasn't prepared for the climb that presented itself, so I took some externals and left. The day after however, armed with a torch, I was back...
Deep mining had taken place here since Georgian times, and this site was one of the largest on the South Yorkshire coalfield, eventually merging with the Oaks Colliery. the seam was notorious for firedamp, but the high methane content of the coal made it a dangerous place to mine.
On 5 March 1847 disaster struck when an explosion killed 73 miners. An even more serious explosion on 12 December 1866 claimed the lives of a further 361, the blast being so forceful it sent the pit cage rocketing up the shaft and into the headgear. The day after, 27 rescuers were killed when a further explosion ripped through the mine. An inconclusive investigation suggested that mine workings ignited the firedamp and coal dust, leading to the successive blasts.
Originally closed in 1966 the mine was later reopened following the closure of the Barrow pit in 1985. It closed for good in 1991. Remarkably the pit head and engine house was left, finally getting Grade II listing in 2013 as a result of its historic significance.
The day after: Inside
Barnsley never looked so good!
This is one of my favourite shots of the day: The shaft, looking up. Not bad for a throwaway I took on the way back out...
I got so carried away with myself I didn't realise I had oil smeared across my face until I was halfway to the east coast. Which would explain all the funny looks I was getting in the nearby services...
Thanks for looking :)