Father’s career inspires 18-year-old to write about Shirebrook Colliery

An 18-year-old university student has been inspired to write about Shirebrook Colliery.

Tuesday, 12th October 2021, 4:30 pm
Updated Wednesday, 13th October 2021, 8:28 am
Shirebrook Colliery headstocks are demolished in 1993, following the pit's closure in May that year.
Shirebrook Colliery headstocks are demolished in 1993, following the pit's closure in May that year.

Tegan Parker, who is studying to be an English teacher, said her father, Paul, is a former miner at the colliery, and it ‘has a special place in his heart’.

She said: “The inspiration was for my dad and to express the feelings I know other ex-miners feel, not just in, but all around Shirebrook.”

Shirebrook, the home of a miner

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This little mining town was once known for its colliery and the passion within it.

The life of the village was the pit. That life bought more than 2,000 men to Shirebrook and formed a unison that could never be replaced. The known chatter that erupted during shift changeovers every day at 2pm and the unity during the Strike of 1984 can never be forgotten. The village now is only a shadow of its former self. Now the distant memory of the colliery exists only in the mind.

The once towering, angular headstocks have been replaced with Sports Direct, leaving only fragments of rubble and dust in its memory. The pubs that were once filled are either rubble that died along with the colliery, or unsustainable flats in what now seems a ghost town.

To a mining man, the walk upon the pit tips and the Sookholme area is not just a wasteland. That area was once the heart of the village and a second home for many. Now, despite the poxy block of cobbled rock placed on the side of the road, an excuse to signify the existence of the once-thriving Shirebrook Colliery, there is no monument that represents the hearts that lived within. The memory exists only in the minds of the ex-miners, on their trips to Sports Direct or on their walks around the pit tips, where the rubble is the only physical evidence left from the life of the colliery. To some, the dirty smell of burning coal still lingers in the derelict area and reminds them of the sense of community that was and is still felt unanimously within every miner who once worked there.

Tegan Parker and her father Paul, a former miner at Shirebrook Colliery.

The trees and rubble footpaths have no doubt given the pit tips a sense of beauty compared with the dystopian state the area was left in. The headstocks were demolished into tiny fragments of the people’s hearts and the aftermath of the death of the colliery left black soot and chunks of what used to be a home just abandoned on the hill. The only shadow that covers the land now is the poorly built warehouses of Sports Direct and owner Mike Ashley’s helicopter. Despite this, the miner can still feel the overwhelming atmosphere of the pit life as if it were still 1984, in the midst of the Miners’ Strike, or 1993, when Shirebrook Colliery was close to its 100-year anniversary. An atmosphere that made Shirebrook village alive as one community. The miner is still influenced by the excitement and passion this little mining town created. Such feelings that can still be felt stood on the pit top watching the sun gleam down on that life that will never be forgotten. Breathing that air that used to be filled with soot that is now fresh grass, the same air, the same place, the same home.