Colliery friends are sparking Shaw heritage site into life

A disused electricity sub-station, abandoned for nearly 90 years, is set for a bright future thanks to a funding boost and the tireless work of dedicated volunteers.

Work will start next month renovating the sub-station on the site of the former Jubilee Colliery in Shaw.

The Friends group, set-up in November 2014, will undertake the project after receiving £500 from the Rapid Respect our Community Awards (ROCA).

“We have been after it from the council for about three years,” explained Friends committee member Peter Lax.

“The building was probably built around in 1926 and abandoned in 1932 (when the colliery closed),” added Peter.

“It hasn’t been used for donkey years but it is bone dry inside and ideal for us.

“The aim is to use it as a small museum and a meeting room when schools and groups come down for heritage walks.

“In the past we’ve put up marquees and they’ve just been blown away.

“Thanks to the money from ROCA we will be able to put up secure steel doors because at the moment it is just boarded up.

“The work will all be done by volunteers. We will start in May and it will probably take us through to September.”

The group was founded on the back of a local community project called ‘Preserving the Past’, where residents came together to help preserve the old coke kilns in the colliery that was in operation between 1845 and 1932.

Trees, ferns, mosses, fungi and flowers now colonise the colliery remains, attracting local wildlife to the area and making it an interesting place to visit.

A team of volunteers took part in the project carrying out a 10-week dig delivered in partnership with Oxford Archaeology North.

Residents became so passionate about the colliery and its surroundings they set up a ‘Friends of’ group to continue the area’s progression

“We are doing a lot of work on the heritage site,” added Peter. We have found the old loading yards where horses and carts came in for coal to deliver round Shaw.

A lot of the stuff we are finding now has been buried and nature took over. It’s not been seen since about 1909.

Now though we are able to go right down to the foundations.

“We are still keeping the nature reserve and fruit tree planting. We even have our own resident hedgehog.

“Things are going well but we still always need more volunteers. We are no asking for labourers we are asking for like-minded people who want to keep a bit of history.”

• If you would like to find out more about Jubilee Colliery or the Friends group email peterlax1@gmail.com

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