A campaign to preserve the headgear of Doncaster’s last pit as a lasting memorial to the town’s mining industry is gathering pace.
Hatfield Colliery, the last surviving pit in South Yorkshire, closed early last month after a shock announcement which saw scores of miners losing their jobs overnight.
But now a campaign to save the iconic colliery towers and winding wheels – known as headgear – is being stepped up to try and ensure Doncaster’s massive contribution to the UK mining industry is remembered.
Pete Thompson, secretary of the Hatfield Main Colliery Community Heritage Association, says the headgear has been a local landmark for more than a century.
A petition has already attracted 500 names, with Goldthorpe-born acting legend Brian Blessed among those offering support.
He said: “The pit might have gone, but we can save the headgear for future generations as a reminder of Hatfield’s presence in the local community for so many years.
“We want to keep it alive and preserved so mining is not forgotten about.”
Production has already ceased at the colliery and it is understood work is now underway to seal the shafts.
In addition, salvage teams are busy removing equipment from the site in preparation for it being handed over to administrators.
Mr Thompson said: “If the headgear goes, there will be nothing left to say Hatfield Colliery was ever here. That is why it is vital that we save it, but we don’t have much time.”
Mr Thompson hopes that the towers can be left intact and a visitors’ centre could be built to help tell the story of mining at Hatfield.
“In other places, the winding wheels have been preserved, but we want to go better than that and save the whole thing rather than the site being cleared and forgotten about,” he said.
“It is a building worth preserving and it would be an insult to Doncaster if we just allowed our mining heritage to be forgotten about.”
He said the group would be staging meetings and making visits to the pit headgear in the coming week in a bid to preserve the headgear,
The petition can be signed at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/105550
There is also a Facebook group, Save Hatfield Main Headgear, where people can offer their support and sign the petition.
Log on to www.facebook.com/shmhg2015 to find the group.