Retro: Rise and fall of mining

Bertha Richardson opens her garden to the public in Goldthorpe - 1984
Bertha Richardson opens her garden to the public in Goldthorpe - 1984
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The latest stop on our Retro wander around Sheffield and surrounding areas is Goldthorpe.

This mining village east of Barnsley hit the headlines around the world a couple of years ago when the death of the hated Margaret Thatcher was celebrated with a mass procession through the streets and a burning funeral pyre on the site of the former pit that closed in 1994.

Goldthorpe Empire - 11th November 1975

Goldthorpe Empire - 11th November 1975

A memorial commemorates two teenagers who died during the miners’ strike in 1984 as they collected coal and an embankment collapsed on them.

In its history Goldthorpe has been linked to the surrounding villages of Thurnscoe, Hickleton, Melton, and Bolton and to Monk Bretton Priory.

According to the parish church website, the 11th-century Domesday Book stated that “In Guldetorp Siward had ten ox gangs to be taxed and land to half a plough, valued at twenty shillings.”

A second reference said: “In Godetorpe and Dermescop (Thurnscoe) Osul had five carucates of land to be taxed, where there may be four ploughs. Roger now has three villanes with three ploughs and seven acres of meadow and wood pastures, six quarenten long and two broad.”

Goldthorpe Tartaneers who took part in the Barnsley Youth Parade - 29th June 1985

Goldthorpe Tartaneers who took part in the Barnsley Youth Parade - 29th June 1985

The name Goldthorpe is said to mean simply ‘tax farm’ or hamlet.

In 1892 the hamlet consisted only of three farm houses, the Horse and Groom Inn and two old cottages.

The sinking of Hickleton Main Colliery in 1892 meant that the number of families coming into the area increased tremendously.

As a result the schools at Bolton-on-Dearne became full, so a school was built in Goldthorpe for village children. New homes also had to be built.

Goldthorpe pit was sunk in 1909, followed by Barnburgh two years later and Highgate in 1916, causing the population to rise again.

Three rail lines were built for passengers and transporting coal. A new village station was opened in 1988.

Local working men’s clubs were very supportive of the Montagu Hospital at Mexborough, and regularly held concerts and had street collections.

A Hospital Sunday was held every yea, and the money raised from the street collection went to the fund.

Much of the information in this article originates from The South & West Yorkshire Village Book, which was written by members of the South & West Yorkshire Federations of Women’s Institutes.