Reliving the closure of Warsop Main Colliery - 30 years on

Warsop Main Colliery being demolished in 1989.
Warsop Main Colliery being demolished in 1989.

The village of Warsop Vale was once a thriving mining community, with a colliery at its heart to provide jobs, money and housing.

But when the colliery closed for good, everything changed for the community.

Miners and their children on site in 1973.

Miners and their children on site in 1973.

Warsop Main Colliery served the parish for exactly 100 years, from 1889 to 1989, but after it was revealed the pit was "losing £200,000 per week", it was forced to shut on August 25, 1989.

Exactly 30 years ago this Sunday the last shifts were worked by mineworkers, before the colliery's demolition started one month later and it was eventually brought down on November 28, 1989.

To mark the anniversary of those final shifts, your Chad is looking back on what the pit meant to the community.

REMEMBERING THE WARSOP MAIN COLLIERY CLOSURE, 30 YEARS ON

The colliery in 1982.

The colliery in 1982.

When the pit closed in August 1989, things rapidly began to decline in Warsop Vale because of the lack of alternative employment and limited housing options - as many properties fell into disrepair and were left empty.

But it was four years earlier, in 1985, when the cracks started to appear for the mining community in Warsop.

Following a cost-cutting exercise that resulted from the conclusion of the 1984-85 miners' strike, about 200 jobs were cut from the site - though the then-manager Mr Goodwin announced that the site's future was "secure".

Only four years later the situation had changed completely, with it being reported that the site was losing upwards of £200,000 every week - and the site being told it must close.

The colliery in 1982.

The colliery in 1982.

The mining community across the area was not completely wiped out by the closure, with Welbeck Colliery remaining open and mining until as recently as 2010.

But the community of Warsop Vale, according to parish council chairman Councillor Andy Burgin, "still has not recovered".

He said: "The closures of all the pits affected the communities right across our area, but I think Warsop Vale was affected much more.

"The Warsop Main Colliery was one of the first to go and it had a detrimental impact on the village. In some ways it still hasn't recovered.

"The shops and everything else that were lost in the aftermath still haven't been replaced, and there's not been much investment in the area ever since.

"I'm a resident in Warsop and have been all of my life, and I've seen it all happen. I was only 11 when the pit closed so you don't really take much in then, but in the years after I've seen the affect it's had on the community."

Fellow Warsop councillor Phil Shields had previously told your Chad he was often caught in the middle with coal-mining friends during the strike five years earlier, with some joining the picket lines, while others refused.

He says that the closure of the pits made the community "a lot stronger" than what it would have been had it stayed open, with the public banding together to help the parish survive.

He said: “There’s no doubt that the community groups that came out of it are a lot stronger than what they would have been had the pits not closed.

“There are generations now buying houses in that area whose fathers didn’t even work down the pit, but the area will always been known for that.

“The community came together because of it, and were looking to create opportunities."

And while mining stopped in Warsop Vale on August 25, 1989, the mining community never faltered.

Regular reunions between the miners have taken place ever since, and a different kind of 30th anniversary is due to take place in October.

The miners are due to meet at Shirebrook Miner's Welfare to mark 30 years since the closure on October 19, with live music and drinks on tap as the community reminisces about coalmining life.

What experiences have you got from the Warsop Main Colliery days? Let us know by emailing andrew.topping@jpimedia.co.uk or commenting on our Facebook page, facebook.com/MansfieldChad.