When Blidworth Pit "temporarily" closed between 1928 and 1932, the following article appeared in the Mansfield Advertiser, a forerunner of the Chad. A little melodramatic perhaps but the writer certainly captures the mood of the village during those terrible days.
Towards the end of the article and although not mentioned by name,who can mistake such a wonderful description of the Bird in Hand Pub.
I will not
easily forget Blidworth, the colliery village that is not a colliery village,
the pit that is not a pit. A pretty little place, Blidworth, with its quaint
winding street, its cottages, its lovely old church; quiet and peaceful it is
there, too quiet, too peaceful, because over the place hangs the shadow of
tragedy, one of the greatest that has ever befallen the mining industry in the
laid schemes of mice and men” And at
Blidworth the brains of scientists, the brawn and muscle of strong men, the
rich red gold of finance, the hopes and dreams that go to make a reality of
life have been set at naught by the freakish whim of nature.
appalling luck of it all, the devilish fate. Imagine a mighty shaft, sank deep
into the bowels of the earth. A chimney, rearing its gaunt neck into the sky,
atop a collection of the finest colliery buildings, possibly hundreds of coal
trucks in the sidings, …….. the stage for a mighty drama of effort and reward,
a setting for industry on a grand scale, the potential labouring ground of
hundreds of men, eager to wrench a living from mother earth, eager and willing
to wrench and hew black rock, that is called coal from the fastness’s which
gave it birth, that their wives and families may live.
nature has smiled……and tricked them all. Tricked the Engineers, tricked the
financiers, made a laughing stock of the brains and the brawn, brought to
naught the sweat and toil of years.
the pit that is not a pit. There is a fault in the coal seam. It cannot be
shaft is smokeless, the machinery idle, or all but idle. The hundreds of trucks
stand empty on the sidings, knee high in lank grass where children play and
birds build nests. There are rows and rows of miners’ cottages; neat pretty
little places, but there are few miners living in them, and they do not toil at
Blidworth pit. Most of the houses have been given over to the Skegby Council
who let them to anyone they think fit, and the County Council argue about it
when anything goes wrong, and say, “Has the Colliery Company done this” or “Will the Colliery Company do that?” I have heard
them, and in the sunlight that filters across the Council Chamber at Nottingham
one seemed to see a mighty shaft, smokeless, great machinery, silent trucks,
hundreds of trucks, empty and rusty, on sidings knee high with grass.
some sort of activity at the pit. A thin trickle of smoke risers from a minor
chimney, and men come and go, but it is all a mockery. I will not pretend to
know what is wrong with the white elephant of Blidworth, but the waste of it,
the disappointment, the mockery, is appalling. If only those empty trucks could
be filled with coal, if only those neat cottages could be filled with miners
and their families, if only ……
miner I met in Blidworth was a Welshman. He sat talking to his mate in the bar,
and his dialect gave him away. I bet myself a bob his name was Williams --- and
won it! As he rose to go I said, “Cymru am blyth, shoni” and I thought the man
was going to kiss me!
We sat and
drank half pints in the back room of the quaintest little pub in Notts, what
time, we swapped reminiscences of the Swansea valley, and breathed afresh the
garlic and the glory of the Welsh hills. What a view
from the window! I can conceive of no happier dotage than to sit there with a
pipe and a tankard and watch the rolling pastures, the woods and valleys, the
hills in the distance; watch the mists rise slowly of a September evening,
watch until the harvest moon rises high in the sky, and then go out into the
little flower slashed garden, and smoke a last fill in the bewitched silence.
They say you can see Belvoir Castle from there. Maybe, at any rate there is a
good view of Fairy land.
William got over loquacious, Welshmen do you know. I wandered off, and made a
noise like a bottle of Guinness in the four-ale bar. In there, a stout fellow,
a Mr What’s-his-name a real Midlander. I mentioned the pit …. He drank his beer
and begged to be excused.
They are like that at Blidworth. The pit is
there, too well they know it. Every day it looms stark and bright and clean
before them, a tragedy in steel and stone… the might have been. But, they do
not like talking about their white elephant at Blidworth, the village of
The passing of time has taught us that other factors
needed to be taken into consideration and contributed towards the
decision to close Blidworth Colliery. Following WW1 there was an over production of coal throughout the whole country.
According to the Dept. of Energy statistics, an average of 233 million tons of coal was being
produced per year. This has never been achieved before or after, continuously, as it was during the10
year period 1918-1928. Subsequently the price of coal fell dramatically and whilst the geological fault
at Blidworth was still not overcome, in August 1928 the decision was made that
conditions were such and unfortunately Blidworth Colliery was to be