The Club along with the Shropshire Mines Trust and Shropshire Bat Group organised a number of activities over the weekend for members of the public. Ranging from underground trips, to surface tours and activities, plus demonstrations.
On the Saturday evening members of all three organisations came together for a social event in Snailbeach Village Hall. Luckily, as the thunderstorms broke out the public events had finished - Snailbeach also managed to dodge the worst of the rain.
The weekend events were centred around Snailbeach mine site. (Kelvin Lake)
Everyone in the village hall waiting for the food at the Saturday social!
The event involved a lot of members of the Club along with the Shropshire Mines Trust and Shropshire Bat Group, and numerous members of the public were welcomed to Snailbeach over the two days. The weekend saw the first outing for the Trust’s newly refurbished electric loco Red Dwarf with Stuart Tomlins operating it on the dressing floor. Andy Harris has done an amazing job on the restoration.
Alan Cureton volunteered to work in the Blacksmiths’ shop for the weekend. Although, he began to regret it towards the end of a very hot Saturday! It has been a long time since the Blacksmith’s forge has been used in anger and luckily the squirrels that were living above the chimney had moved out a couple of weeks before the event.
Stuart Tomlins and Mike Boyd unloading the electric loco 'Red Dwarf'. (Kelvin Lake).
Alan Cureton spent a hot time at the blacksmiths forge, making small items and casting ingots.
On Saturday the Shropshire Wildlife Trust put up their display outside the visitor centre. Their animal bone exhibits elicited a lot of interest from the younger visitors! Unfortunately they were not able to be at the site on the Sunday.
On the Saturday, Julian Bromhead lead the last tour of the day to the Snailbeach smelter, just as the sky went very dark and thunder started rumbling around the hills. We escaped the worst of the rain - Shrewsbury and all points east seemed to have been subjected to very heavy downpours. The amount of vegetation on the smelter site now makes it almost impossible to see the remains of the reverberatory hearths and flues.
The Saturday evening social in Snailbeach Village Hall for members of all three organisations was well attended. The food was very good - there were even seconds and thirds (of the desserts) for some!
The Shropshire Wildlife Trust display on Saturday.
Gareth Rushton's Fairlie locomotive in steam.
On Sunday, the underground trips and surface tours started all over again. The cottages at Blakemore Gate were also open, so visitors were able to combine their visit to the mine site with the cottages.
One of the highlights of the weekend was Gareth Rushton’s steam locomotive display. This was set-up on large sheets of chipboard outside the Snailbeach District Railway locomotive shed. The SDR hopper wagon was also wheeled out of the loco shed and the railway display panels brought outside for people to look at, without disturbing the bats inside the loco shed.
The very hectic weekend seems to have been enjoyed by all the visitors that came over the two days. Some only came for the morning, but ended up staying for the whole day!
Thank you to everyone who helped out in all the various roles, hopefully you found it enjoyable too.
Finally, special thanks to Julian for organising the ‘schedule’ of events and who was doing what, so that those on support duties weren’t stuck doing the same thing for the whole weekend.
The 'Granville Boys' and family members unveil the long awaited Mining Memorial.
On Sunday 19th March, 2023 the Telford Mining Memorial was finally unveiled in front of a large crowd of former miners, their families and friends. It has taken over twenty years of trying, planning and fund raising, but the 'Granville Boys' finally brought the dream of a mining memorial to honour all the men, women and children who worked in the Coalbrookdale coalfield to 'life'.
The 'Granville Boys', Malcolm Peel, Stuart Braddock and Cliff Hewitt, all former miners at Granville Colliery (the last deep pit in Shropshire, which closed in 1978) deserve the credit for realising their dream. Sadly, Malcolm Peel passed away last year, so his wife Cath along with Stuart Braddock, Cliff Hewitt and their grandchildren took part in the unveiling ceremony.
Dedication plaque to all those who worked in the local coalfield.
Plaque honouring all those who helped bring the memorial to fruition.
'Granville Boys' Stewart Braddock and Cliff Hewitt (right) with Cath Peel and Ray Matthews (designer of the memorial).
Children of the miners, helping with the unveiling.
A group of former Granville miners at the ceremony - it was an impossible task trying to get they to stop joking and looking in the same direction!
The Telford Miners Memorial
Monthly Meetings - normally held on the first Friday of every month at Allscott Bowling Club (formerly the British Sugar Social Club), Allscott, Telford, Shropshire. Meetings start at 19:30 (7:30pm) with a presentation/talk by a Club member (to be less than 60 minutes long), before the main meeting takes place. Please get in touch before turning up in case the date or venue has changed!. The secretary usually emails the meeting details out a day or so before hand - contact him if you don't receive meeting minutes and access details by email.
September 15th to 17th: Hidden Earth is back!!! After a gap of a few years, due to the impacts of the Covid pandemic Hidden Earth is finally back - although the announcement is short notice.
It will be held at Gordano Sports Centre, St Mary’s Road, Portishead, Bristol, BS20 7QR.
Tickets can be booked via the Hidden Earth website.
If you have not been to a Hidden Earth before the weekend is packed with lectures. Topics include new and old exploration from the UK and overseas as well as workshops covering cave science, research, technology and photography. There are competitions, games, videos and a trade hall with caving equipment vendors from across Europe selling their latest products. Hidden Earth has it’s own bar (with excellent beer - so Les Williams says!) and a conference dinner with entertainment on the Saturday night to make this a great social occasion.
Friday October 6th: Club AGM, Allscott Social Club.
June 29th to 30th, 2024: National Association of Mining History Organisations (NAMHO) Conference.
It will be based at: Heartlands, Robinsons Shaft, Redruth, Cornwall.
It is being organised by the NAMHO Committee. More details will appear on the NAMHO website in the New Year.
Links to a selection of older news reports and items of interest can be found on the
Old News page