Kiveton: Pithead baths are demolished

Demolition team leader Mick Dennington presenting former miner George Smith with the door of the locker he was allocated
Demolition team leader Mick Dennington presenting former miner George Smith with the door of the locker he was allocated

After years of standing derelict and several attempts to breath new life into the buidling, Kiveton’s pithead baths have been demolished.

It took a specialist demolition team just a few days to take down the structure which had been a feature on the local landscape for more than 70 years.

The demolition work in progress

The demolition work in progress

The landmark water tower was the last part to go.

But part of its history will always remain and will provide a reminder of how much the baths - and the colliery - were such a big part of the community.

Rotherham-based Ron Hull Demolition scoured the site and saved everything of historic interest before demolishing the building.

Royal Doulton troughs that were used by the miners as well as various signs and other fixtures and fittings will now take pride of place in mining museums and collections.

David Wall, contracts director with Ron Hull Demolition, said: “We were originally scheduled to start work some months ago but the demolition was delayed to allow swallows nesting in the building to bring off their young.”

“As part of our preparation work on the site we did save everything of historic interest including the huge Royal Doulton troughs that were used when the miners filled their water bottles before going underground, as well as various signs and other fixtures and fittings. They are going to several mining museums and collections.”

“We were even able to re-unite one former Kiveton miner, 75-year-old George Smith, with the door of locker 927, which he was allocated almost half a century ago when he started work at the pit.”

“I gather George is planning to hang the memento in his shed.”

The former bath house dates from 1938 and was paid for by thousands of miners so they could shower before going home after work.

The facilities accommodated 1,748 miners, but the workforce dwindled to just 800 before it closed in 1994.

Several attempts have been made to develop the building for various uses but they have never materialised.

Last year the Secretary of State approved an application by the Homes and Communities Agency - the baths’ current owners - to demolish it.

Its demolition has attracted national interest.

A BBC television crew has filmed the progress of the project for a programme that is to be broadcast later in the year.

Mr Wall added: “ The demolition itself has been very straightforward.”

“The buildings have all been brought down and the clear up operation is now underway.”

“Brickwork, concrete and rubble is being crushed on the site, a process that we are expecting to complete in another week or so.”

“Meanwhile metal, timber and other materials are being moved to the Ron Hull Group’s recycling centre in Rotherham, which is one of the most advanced facilities of its type in the country.”

“It is a zero-to-landfill operation, so absolutely nothing is wasted.”

Once the site has been cleared it will be returned to green space as an extension of Kiveton Park Community Woodland, which covers the rest of the old colliery site.