Thurcroft Colliery, Thurcroft - 23/07/08 - Report
Hello, this is my first report and incidentally my first serious trip out with a camera ever (thus explaining the poor quality of the pictures I took).
- Thurcroft Colliery History:
Thurcroft Colliery was sunk in 1909. The Barnsley seam was found in 1913 and worked until 1967 - a newspaper report said that the coal was of very good quality, but the explorations met with difficulty, the coal having been thrown out of its normal position by a large fault which was not discovered when the sinking of the shafts was chosen.Thurcroft was owned by Rother Vale Colliery Company. At one stage over a third of the population of Thurcroft worked at the pit.
After repeated strikes by the miners between the early 1950s to the mid 1980s and the growing debt the site was generating it was decided that the Colliery had to close.
The pit was officially closed 8 days after the decision to close it instead of the required 3 months. According to official documentation by the pit’s management (M. K Tucker) the reasons listed on his letters to his workers where:
1. The colliery had lost over £11 million in the year so far
2. The loss would increase probably to £15 million by March, 1992
3. Severe geological problems in the Swallow Wood Seam
4. Growing evidence of geological difficulties in the Haigh Moor seam
Thurcroft Colliery officially closed around December 1991 though salvage work lasted almost 1 further year.
Attempts where made to by the pit out by the workers but the negotiations fell through when British Coal refused to pay the £20,000 a week upkeep costs while the talks went on.
I decided to do this site first (even though there isn’t really anything left of the place) as it was a place I used to visit almost 15 years ago when I was a kid. Also due to Greenbelt/ Reclamation work on the area the site is rapidly disappearing under plants and ponds.
I had fond memories of going to the huge shale heap and pilfering fossils from it, this time the Shale heap was seemingly no where to be seen just a huge hill with bushes and shrubs on it. I spent over an hour getting lost in the heavy fog and evading what sounded like the old quad bike guards/security that used to look after sections of the area only to realise I was ontop of the shale heap and not some hill beyond it and that the “engine” noise was actually the Pylons reacting loudly due to the weather (was I embarrassed with myself).
Heading back and coming in again from the south, I managed to work out where I was and came upon the old Mine shaft vents (These are the only real things left standing).
Methane Gas Vent
Further along the path and one heart attack causing Hare later I came upon the left overs of the Colliery itself.
Coal Collection Point?
Ladders to Hell
The site itself as can be seen is being overrun by ponds and reeds, likely an old attempt at helping nature reclaim the location.
After hearing Police Sirens in an area that is usually quiet at around 5am I decided to make my exit.
The old entrance
Funky Looking Belt on a nearby pathway
Due to the Reclamation work that as been done and the time that I wasted being paranoid I never got to look for the section of the site I had originally set out to photograph. If it still stands there should be a Brick semi-circular bunker/shelter thing somewhere on the eastern edge of the site as a whole.
For perhaps one of the last glimpses of the site before complete dismantlement Google Earth Thurcroft and scroll north into the coal tip. I have my issues with GE since I don't remember such extensive buildings remaining past what had to have been 1996 though I remember the JCBs and the porta cabins while greenbelt reclamation work was going off. Though having a rock thrown at me and scoring a bullseye on my head might have erased the sight of the buildings at the sight