Mining memories were brought crashing to the ground yesterday as an iconic part of South Yorkshire’s coal industry was demolished.
A controlled explosion carried out by demolition experts saw Maltby Colliery’s No3 winding tower disappear from the skyline that it has dominated for more than three decades.
Ex-miners and surface workers gathered at the site to see the 78-metre-high building reduced to rubble.
Among the spectators were ex-miners and Maltby residents Tom Crishlow and James Barratt, who said the tower held many memories.
Tom, aged 78, who worked at the pit his entire working life, said: “I came to the pit when I was 17, starting at the bottom, and made my way up to overman before being made redundant in 1988.
“It was very hot working 1,000 metres underground but we had good camaraderie and I made a lot of friends here.
“I saw the tower go up in the 80s and now I’ve seen it come down - it’s sad to see Maltby’s mining past disappearing.”
James, aged 83, cut coal down the pit for more than 30 years.
He said: “I have many memories of the colliery - some good, some bad.
“Going down the pit was one of the best things I did though as I got a good deal when we were made redundant.”
A loud warning alarm sounded before the blast at 1.15pm which saw the pit’s most visually striking structure, which became a Maltby landmark, reduced to dust.
The demolition is the latest development in the de-commissioning of Maltby Colliery, which had its first mining shafts sunk in 1910.
At its peak, the colliery was capable of producing more than one million tonnes of coal a year.
Deep coal production came to an end at Maltby in 2013 when the pit was closed by owners Hargreaves on safety and geological grounds.
Hargreaves has since been working with specialist contractors to cap the old mine shafts and remove its main buildings.