Closing date, after 78 years, for Doncaster pit

A South Yorkshire pit, sunk in 1911, was finally closed 29 years ago, on June 16, 1989.

Wednesday, 13th June 2018, 9:00 am
Barnburgh Main Colliery c1982

Barnburgh Main Colliery was owned originally by the Manvers Main Colliery Company based at Wath-upon-Dearne.

Shafts were sunk between 1912 and 1915 to the Thorncliffe seam.

A view of Barnburgh Main Colliery taken after the explosion that killed 6 men on the 26th June 1957

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Other seams worked over time were the Newhill, Barnsley, Swallow Wood, the Parkgate, and the Melton Field seams.

Barnburgh Main was connected to the nearby Dearne Valley Railway at first, but a private line was built in 1924 that ran between Barnburgh and Manvers.

The pit was nationalised along with others across the country in 1947, to become part of the National Coal Board.

It was also in the month of June, in 1957, that six underground workers ultimately lost their lives following an explosion at Barnburgh Main pit.

Just some of the miners whose hard work has given the Barnburgh Colliery a high output of coal - 8th May 1980

Twenty miners working in the Newhill seam at the time were burned in the horrific incident, some of them very severely.

The pit rescue squad was joined by other miner volunteers swiftly, in a bid to rescue the injured.

Those caught in the blast were mainly rippers, waste drawers and conveyor belt turners.

It took three hours to get all the men out and to hospital at Mexborough, Doncaster and Rotherham.

Barnburgh Main Colliery NUM Branch President, Bob Burnett (left) and treasurer Bill Cook, are pictured with the centre-piece of the first ever Barnburgh Main NUM Branch Banner - 12th December 1988 One side of the banner centre-piece shows former miners' leader and Labour politician Tom Williams (1888-1967) who later became Lord Williams of Barnbugh, and the other side shows an early view of the colliery.

The explosion occurred as the result of an ignition after shot firing about 70 yards from the coalface.

At its peak, output at Barnburgh was 450,000 tons per year and the mine employed around 1090 men

Barnburgh men were among those who walked out in solidarity during the miners’ strike of 1984 to 1985.

The strike began following an announcement by the National Coal Board on March 6, 1984, that it intended to close down 20 pits, with the loss of 20,000 jobs.