A South Tyneside pit will be providing jobs once again - more than 70 years after it closed.
St Hilda’s Colliery’s headstock building in South Shields is set to be revamped after securing planning permission and funding.
The Tyne and Wear Preservation Trust, received a £580,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to help bring the building back to life and the project was then awarded a further £60,000 by South Tyneside Council.
Now the local authority’s planning officials have given the go ahead for work to be carried out on the Grade II listed headstock, which was first built in 1810.
Eventually it’s hoped small businesses will be operate from the site and it will generate its own income.
Coun John Anglin, lead member for regeneration and economy said: “This is a brilliant step towards a bright future for this significant historical asset in South Tyneside.
“We are very proud of our rich mining history and are delighted that now planning permission has been given that the Council and its partners can safeguard this building for the future, making it more sustainable in the longer term while preserving and paying tribute to the borough’s mining past.”
Plans for the headstock are to create office and work space units within the building which will be available to rent from the Tyne and Wear Preservation Trust.
The units are intended to 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.
Plus space has been earmarked to display mining memorabilia, artefacts, photographs and banners, paying tribute to the Borough’s mining past thanks to the support of the Harton & Westoe Miners Banner Group.
St Hilda’s one of very few physical remains of mining heritage within the former Durham coalfield.
Peter Fall, Chairman of Tyne & Wear Building Preservation Trust, which secured the funding, said: “We are delighted that St Hilda’s can now be restored and brought back into use. Coal is such a key part of the region’s identity and the Trust has been working hard to protect what little remains of this once vibrant industry.”
He added: “This funding approval from the Heritage Lottery Fund is a huge step forward and the support from South Tyneside Council has been crucial.”
The project is also being supported by the Architectural Heritage Fund, which funded early feasibility work to examine the potential reuse of the building.
It is hoped that works would start on the building as early as 2017.