The Story Of Grassmoor Colliery

Published: 11th March 2011
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Grassmoor is a village in North Eastern Derbyshire, in the East Midlands of England. It is three miles to the south of the town of Chesterfield. Until around 40 years ago, coal mining was the main source of employment in the village. This had been the case for more than 100 years, and around ninety percent of the men in the village who were of working age worked in the colliery.

In the early nineteenth century there was evidence that rich seams of coal lay in the ground underneath the village of Grassmoor. A number of entrepreneurs and industrialists made investigations, and a businessman called Mr Barnes took the plunge to excavate a mineshaft. He invested in the creation of the first mine shaft at Grassmoor, and got a team of miners working on it. They found rich seams of coal, and Grassmoor Colliery was therefore built and fitted out with the necessary equipment. The colliery was officially opened in the year 1880.

Accommodation was built for the colliery workers and their families in two rows of terraced houses. East Street is what one of the rows of houses was called. East Street is just a short walk from Grassmoor Colliery, but the local people called it 'Sluggards Row’. This was due to the classic situation when people live close to their workplace. As they lived so close to the colliery, the miners living in East Street tended to be the ones who arrived at work the last, in relation to all the other miners who worked at the colliery.

The second row of terraced houses that was built for people connected with the colliery and their families was named Grasshill Street. These residential dwellings were also built in the late nineteenth century. They were built on a site that was further away from Grassmoor Colliery than East Street. Grasshill Street was nick named 'Four Bob Street’ because the rent for each house was just four shillings each week.

The colliery was therefore all set up with miners and equipment, and was a successful enterprise, generating jobs for the community, coal for industrial activities such as furnaces for smelting metals, and for powering steam trains.

Mr Barnes, the owner of Grassmoor Colliery, wanted to give something back to the people of Grassmoor, so he invested in a park, which was called Barnes Park and was opened in the year 1920. It had fields for playing football and cricket, a bowling green for the game of bowls, and a playground with swings for small children to play on. The swings and the fields for playing cricket and football are still used today.

Sadly there was an explosion in Grassmoor Colliery in 1933 due to an ignition of flammable coal gas, which is a well known danger of coal mining. Tragically a number of miners were killed in the explosion and its aftermath.

Grassmoor Colliery, which had provided employment for generations of the people in the village, remained operational for another forty years or so, and was shut down in the 1970s. The closure marked the end of an era for Grassmoor.

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