Westthorpe Colliery stood on Green Lane, Killamarsh from 1923 to 1984.
2014 marks 30 years since the Pit was closed and Killamarsh Heritage Society felt it an appropriate time to ensure that a memorial was put in place so that current and future generations will remember the mining history of the village of Killamarsh.
The members of Killamarsh Heritage Society are proud to say that we have achieved our aim and on Monday the 22nd of September the memorial was unveilled.
The memorial was unveilled by Mr Arnold Vardy, the last Manager and Mr Joss Pearson, the NUM Secretary at the Pit for many years.
The memorial was dedicated by Rev Helen Guest of St Giles Church Killamarsh.
Many ex miners attended the unveilling, together with children from Killamarsh Infant School, Killamarsh Junior School and St Giles School, all of whom have grandads, great grandads and great-great grandads who worked at the Pit.
We were blessed with a really lovely day and there was lots of reminiscing and smiling!
Below is the programme for the unveilling and photographs taken on the day. We will add more photographs as we receive them.
If anyone has any photographs that they would like to add please telephone 0114 2484812 or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org
We would like to thank Gary Daynes and his family of Daynes Monumental Ltd of Killamarsh for all their help and their contribution to the memorial. They have been friendly, helpful and efficient throughout the project.
Thanks also to Ian at the West End pub for his continued support for Killamarsh Heritage Society.
KILLAMARSH HERITAGE SOCIETY
The Unveiling of a Memorial
to Westthorpe Colliery
on Monday 22nd September 2014 at 1.00 pm
Green Lane, Killamarsh
Programme of events
1.00 pm Introduction by Janet Jackson of Killamarsh Heritage Society
1.10 pm Unveiling of memorial by Mr A Vardy, the last Manager at Westthorpe Colliery and Joss Pearson, Secretary of the Miners’ Union for many years
1.20 pm Blessing by Rev Helen Guest, St Giles Church, Killamarsh
Followed by photographs
1.30 pm A buffet and get together at the West End Hotel,
Westthorpe Road, Killamarsh
The memorial was made by Gary Daynes of Daynes Monumental Ltd at his premises in the Engineers Workshop which still stands on the site of the old Waleswood Colliery, on a machine used at the Colliery and still used today.
The memorial is made of Bretton Moor Derbyshire Stone.
A memorial made at a Colliery for a Colliery.
Introduction by Janet Jackson, Killamarsh Heritage Society
Good afternoon everyone, its nice to see so many of you here and thank you to all of you on behalf of Killamarsh Heritage Society.
Many of you will have had some association with Westthorpe Colliery either working there yourself or had family who worked there. So this will mean something special to you in some way. Also, we would like to welcome the children from Killamarsh Infant School, Killamarsh Junior School and St Giles School who have grandparents, great grandparents and other family members who worked at Westthorpe.
Other pits have had their place marked with the pit wheel from their headgear. Ours may not be so big but if says all it has to. As the memorial states Westthorpe Colliery was opened by J & G Wells in 1923 and after producing coal for 60 years it closed in 1984. The Davy lamp on the memorial represents the 100s of men who over that 60 year period worked tirelessly to produce the coal and made Westthorpe Colliery a huge part of the history and heritage of Killamarsh.
There are some people I would like to thank for making this project possible. Without them we would not be here today.
Firstly Mr Jonathan Murcott and Mr Robert Rowley who have very kindly allowed us to place the memorial on their land and have given us their support.
Secondly, Mr Gary Daynes of Daynes Monumental Limited who has produced the memorial for us, making it something to be very proud of. It is a wonderful reminder of our Pit.
Last but not least the small team who made this project happen:
Joss Pearson who worked at the pit and has given us lots of information and help. Margaret Slack, Joan Talbot, Pat Bone and myself who all had Dads, Granddads, brothers, uncles and husbands who spent most of their working life at Westthorpe Colliery.
I know I speak for all of our group when I say we are proud to have been associated with the project and after 30 years without the recognition that a pit was ever here we have achieved our aim to put Westthorpe Colliery back on the map.
I would now like to hand over to Joss, the last Miners’ Union Secretary, and Mr Vardy, the last Manager of the Pit, to unveil our memorial.
1923 – 1984
Westthorpe Colliery opened in 1923 when the first sod was cut on the 17th of March.
During its lifetime the Pit provided employment for many men and women and was successful in attaining many targets in coal production.
Westthorpe Colliery played a huge part in the working and social lives of the people of Killamarsh and the surrounding villages and resulted in a very close community.
There were many groups associated with Westthorpe including a thriving St Johns Ambulance Brigade, a cricket team a football team and even a Miss Westthorpe Competition.
In line with a decision taken jointly in November 1983 by the National Coal Board and representatives of all the mining unions, Westthorpe Colliery officially closed on 31st March 1984 (30 years ago this year).
The decision had been taken in order to protect as fully as possible all coal industry employees within the northern sector of the National Coal Board’s North Derbyshire area. Apart from those men who elected to take early retirement or voluntary redundancy all the Westthorpe men were guaranteed jobs at other local pits.
Many ex miners still live in Killamarsh and the surrounding villages although, of course, many are no longer with us. However, many of their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren still live in the area and for them the memory of Westthorpe Colliery should be kept alive.
THE MEMORIAL IN THE MAKING
Photographs copyright Ian Beck
PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN ON THE DAY OF THE UNVEILING
Below: Photographs courtesy of Fred Rotherham
Below: Photographs courtesy of Paul Smith
Below: Photographs courtesy of Kevin Bone
Below: Photographs courtesy of Tony Ward
Philip Royston and his partner Linda who came down from Scarborough to the unveilling of the Pit Memorial.
Mr David Brocklehurst