Ex-miners take first look at work to restore former colliery building
Work has started to bring a historical building back to life and help keep South Tyneside's mining heritage alive for future generations.
St Hilda’s Colliery headstock building in South Shields is to be turned into office and work space units.
It will also feature a dedicated space paying tribute to the borough’s mining past, thanks to the support of the Harton and Westoe Miners Banner Group.
This week, members of the group visited the site to see the work being carried out by Meldrum following a £580,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The project is being run and overseen by Tyne and Wear Preservation Trust.
Former miner Ronnie Peterson said: “The whole project is going well. They hit a problem with the roof as they had to take it off due to it crumbling.
“The key for this project is to have something which is going to keep our mining heritage alive for future generations.
“As well as office space, there will be a part which will feature the history of our mining past. And the hope is, in the future we will be able to gain funding to create a small museum.
“This is the last building left which has any significance to our mining heritage, all the former pits have gone with only a plaque or a small monument in place as a lasting reminder, so it is quite unique.”
St Hilda’s is one of very few physical remains of mining heritage within the former Durham coalfield.
Fiona Tobin, project officer from Tyne and Wear Building Foundation Trust, said: “Everyone who I have spoken to has been really positive about the project.
“I started in November and I have been working alongside the council and other organisations. We have so many exciting things planned for the future.”
The units will be used by artists, creative people and small business with the aim of generating income for the future maintenance and make the building more sustainable.
Jeff Bergstrand, site manager said: “We are trying to keep as much as possible from the original building. Everything has been cleaned down to try and retain the character of the building.
“It’s the kind of project, as a company, we love to get involved in.”