Headstock wheel in storage since 1993 could return to colliery

The owner of a Nottinghamshire surveying company will cover the cost of returning a headstock wheel to its former home at a nearby colliery site.

Craig Gould, who grew up in Ashfield, is the owner and co-director of Make Consulting, based in Annesley, which operates chartered surveyors and project managers.

He is keen to see the headstock wheel that was once at Silverhill Colliery back at the site after months of campaigning by ex-miners in the area to see the wheel returned.

It had been in storage at the Ashfield District Council depot since the pit closed in 1993 and now, Mr Gould will help oversee it returned to the colliery where his grandfather once worked.

Mr Gould’s business is based around a 20-minute drive from Silverhill Wood – now a country park – and plans are now being drawn up for how the wheel could be displayed in a memorial.

He said: “It’s fitting to have the wheel go back to where they were and it feels good to give back to area I grew up in.

“My granddad used to be a miner there himself and I know some of the ex-miners from there who have been looking to do this.

“By chance, our MP, Lee Anderson, who is involved in the project came by and told us about it.

“I was immediately interested as we had been looking at ways we could give back. I felt I had to get involved because the business has the resources to draw up the planning applications and designs for how the wheel could fit into a memorial there.

“We will pay the contractors ourselves and at the moment, it could cost us between £10,000 and £15,000 in total.”

Mr Gould has said work to refurbish the wheel before displaying it will begin in the coming weeks with the aim to have the wheel on display in May 2021.

Alan Batterham, 72, worked at Silverhill as a coal face worker from 1980 until it closed, and is one of the main campaigners with the Friends of Silverhill group.

He said: “It was unbelievable when Lee Anderson rang me to tell me we had secured the funding. I was totally overwhelmed

“We have a real opportunity to make a memorial at Silverhill to all those who worked there. Hopefully we can get this all through planning without any problems.”

Lee Anderson, MP for Ashfield, added: “To have Craig and his business get involved and fund the project for free is a massive win for us.

“I was approached by former miners about this one some weeks ago and then I had a meeting with Craig where he seemed keen to get involved.

“As an ex-miner, this is a project I’ve wanted to see through. I think it will go some way in keeping the legacy of mining in Ashfield alive.”

Jason Zadrozny, leader of Ashfield District Council – which would cover the planning costs – said: “This is a fantastic project and I was very pleased to meet with Alan and the Friends of Silverhill last week (November 2).

“The Council is working with the group, helping them to draw up and submit plans. I have pledged that the Council will cover all the costs associated with this, so that the money the group have raised can be used back in the community.

“As well as displaying the wheel, there will be a memorial garden and landscaping that will show the wheel off to its fullest.

“The wheel has been hidden away for too long and this is a real community project. We’re aiming to have the wheel in place by May 2021 and fingers crossed by then we’ll be able to have a celebration event to welcome back this important part of the district’s history.”


Nottinghamshire Live – Local News