Memorials Museums and Events

Coal Mining Heritage

Today, headstock wheels can be found mounted on plinths forming a kind of gateway into the former mining communities. These wheels remind newcomers, the grandsons and granddaughters of ex-miners, how these communities came about. Many villages throughout the county owe their existence to the colliery companies who built them in order to attract workers to the new mines. After closure, most pit yards and workshops were developed as industrial estates for business startup’s and light engineering use.

Fig 1: Mining Memorial at Pinxton, Derbyshire.  Photo Credit – MuBu Miner.

The pit tip at Bilsthorpe is now the location for wind turbines, providing alternative energy. Methane gas is also being extracted from old mine workings to produce electricity, including Clipstone – the site of the tallest headstocks in Europe. These derelict structures can be seen for many miles and were built in 1952 over the original steel headstocks (built in 1922). The unusual design employed the Koepe winding system which originated in Germany. Land-owners (Welbeck Estate) have applied for consent to demolish these Grade II-listed structures.


Fig 2: The remaining headstocks at Clipstone Colliery in November 2016.  Photo Credit – MuBu Miner.

In Nottinghamshire there are three preserved headstocks that are open to the public:

  • Bestwood Steam Winding Engine and Dynamo House (1861-1967). Once the most productive mine in the world – the first colliery to produce over one million tons of coal in a year.
  • Brinsley tandem headstocks, (1872-1970). Located near Eastwood in a woodland setting in D. H. Lawrence country.
  • Pleasley Colliery (1873-1983). Located on the Notts/Derbyshire border, one of the Stanton Ironworks collieries, lovingly restored to its former glory by former miners and local volunteers.

Fig 3: The preserved headstocks and Winding Engine House at Bestwood, Nottinghamshire in 2014.  Photo Credit – MuBu Miner.

Fig 4: The preserved wooden tandem headstocks at Brinsley near Eastwood, Nottinghamshire. DH Lawrence’s father, Arthur Lawrence, was a Butty (Contractor) here.  Photo Credit – MuBu Miner.

Fig 5: The preserved headstocks and Winding Engine House at Pleasley, North Derbyshire.  Photo Credit – MuBu Miner.

Mining Heritage Events
In June 2013, the Tin Hat Centre, Selston hosted talks by the mining heritage project team. The event was supported by Bilsthorpe Heritage Society who displayed photographs and objects from their collection. The promise of a mining-themed evening combined with a pie-and peas supper proved so irresistible that tickets for the event sold out in few days.

Fig 6: Mining Heritage event at the Tin Hat Centre, Selston, Nottinghamshire in 2013 as part of the AHRC funded ‘A History of Coal Mining in Ten Objects’. Photo Credit – MuBu Miner.

Mining Heritage Events
In September 2014, a Steam Heritage Event held at Bestwood Winding-Engine House Museum captured the spirit of the traditional Miners Gala with music from Bestwood Colliery Black Diamonds Brass Band. The event provided an opportunity for sharing stories, displaying images and direct handling of mining memorabilia from the former East Midlands coalfields.


Fig 7: Coal and Steam Heritage Festival at Bestwood Winding Engine House, September 2014.  Photo Credit – MuBu Miner.

Mining Heritage Events
The team also contributed to the 2013 D.H. Lawrence Festival in Eastwood which included the debut of the Headstocks video featuring local historian, retired mining surveyor, Robert Bradley. Members of the public brought in family photographs and documents for identification and scanning, and in some instances, important historic material was donated to the University of Nottingham archives.


Fig 8: Guided tour of the Bestwood Winding Engine House as part of the 2013 DH Lawrence Festival.  Photo Credit – MuBu Miner.

Mine2Minds Education

Community outreach and training activities in former coalfields continue through Mine2Minds a not-for-profit community interest organisation headed by co-producers; Dr David Amos and Paul Fillingham.

Coal in 10 Objects Menu
Research Partner - University of Nottingham
Research Partner - Centre for Advanced Studies
Arts and Humanities Research Council Funded
Digital Production Partner - Thinkamigo