Now the dust has now settled, after the three weekends of the Great War Festival of Transport, I thought it was time for a short update on the latest happenings in the Industry Team.
During the 11 days of events, including The Great War Steam Fair, Horses at War and Old King Coal, we had over 33,000 visitors through the doors! Below are a few shots from parade, held as part of the Old King Coal Event during the final weekend of the event.
Normally Our Old King Coal event takes its inspiration from the Durham Miners Gala. This year’s parade differed from past years as we wanted to use it to mark the efforts of the mining communities to help the war effort. However, for the duration of the First World War the Gala was cancelled.
In looking for an example of parade held in the area, during the War, a record was found in “Keep the Home Fires Burning” by Kevin Stock & John Burrell. The book documents life in the Pit Village of Sherburn Hill during the conflict.
The Sherburn Hill District Workingmen’s Horticultural Society dedicated proceeds of their annual show to the work of the Red Cross, in France. They made and sold miniature flags to sell to raise further funds. To sell the flags there was an accompanying float with actors on the back, simulating the work of the Red Cross. Also in the procession was a band of costumed cyclists, one dressed as a pirate, with his bike decorated as a ship. A retired pit pony, pulling a tub, was used to collect villager’s donations. So for anyone left confused, I hope this explains the presence of a pirate in this year’s procession.
Other work around site has consisted of ongoing work in the Colliery and at the Fairground. The Colliery Fan House is receiving some much needed attention. The current ventilation fan is housed in a railway van body, which has seen better days, but has served well over the last 40 years! As a replacement we have decided to go for something a little more permanent and make a brick building. Luckily we had a small stock of the traditional yellow brick, used widely in collieries, made from the clay that often found in bands beneath the coal seams.
Since our Drift Mine opened in 1979 the ventilation has been provided by an ex NCB booster fan. However, as the mining industry has all but ended, and spare parts become increasingly hard to find, we will be renewing the equipment with a modern fan, motor and control unit.
Also at the Colliery, as previously mentioned by Paul, the construction of fence to hide a skip to help control waste disposal on site has created much interest. The site Handymen have been inundated with questions about the new structure, only to be met with disappointed faces when such a mundane answer is given. Once the gates are in place signage and set dressing will be placed around the area to give it the appearance of a working addition to the Colliery Yard.
At the Fairground our new side shows are now up and running. Hoopla, Roll-A-Ball and Dart a Card are all proving popular with visitors. As the side shows are semi-permanent they have been built out of metal and tin sheet, to help them stand up to the weather, though the façade and fabric banners help to give a traditional look to the buildings.
Work continues at the Fairground as we prepare for the restoration of our Light House Slip (Helter-skelter), the addition of some Penny Slot machines and the imminent arrival of a new tilt (canopy) for the Gallopers. Work is now almost complete on the Fairground toilet block, which will provide a much needed facility for the Fairground and events field.