Plans for Hatfield Main Colliery are coming along nicely
Words: Mike Lanaghan
Photos: Save Hatfield Main Headgears
Hatfield Main is the last colliery in the Doncaster Coalfield, finally closed in 2015. At its height, it employed 3,500 workers from the villages of Stainforth, Dunscroft, Hatfield, Thorne, and Moorends. By the time of its final closure that number could be counted on one hand. The socio-economic cost of having a coal producing mine without employment in those communities has resulted in no input from the Coalfields Regeneration Scheme since in the early 1990s, resulting in the economic deprivation of the area.
On learning of the immediate closure of Hatfield Main and filling of the shafts, a local miners’ heritage group moved to gain protected status for the last headgears in the Doncaster coalfield, and was successful in 2015. The site also has two winding houses, an engine room, and fan housings that are still intact and, in early 2018, a formal trust body was initiated to build a plan for the site.
Firstly, we aim to provide a miners’ memorial garden at the end of the old pit lane included in the proposals for the colliery use.
It’s a well known fact that the mines of Britain didn’t just produce coal; a rich seam of poets, artists, writers along with comedians, singers and songwriters became a by-product of the mining communities. With this in mind, a large part of the trust’s proposals will include affordable artisan workshops and studios in the disused winding houses and engine room, harnessing solar and underground sources of heat and electricity, inclusion of a local radio station and recording studio, along with proposals for a virtual reality underground experience. The old fan housing will hopefully become a gallery to exhibit artworks, including art from the mining communities of Doncaster and other coalfields of Britain, while the area’s surrounding country park will hopefully become a heritage centre including a wedding venue and community facilities aimed at generating a sustainable future. Finally, it’s hoped that both headgears can be repaired and lit so that they can be seen from all major transport routes to the east of Doncaster, becoming a lasting memorial to our coal mining heritage.
It isn’t the aim of the Trust to seek any funding from the taxpayers of Doncaster, instead seeking funding from grants and crowd-funding.
Please find us on Facebook at Save Hatfield Main Headgears and Just Giving Hatfield Main where we are currently raising the initial funds for a feasibility study along with initial structural surveys that are required to open other grant funding sources.