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Forgotten photos of Nottinghamshire miners’ very last working day at town pit

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These long-lost photographs show the very last working shift at Nottinghamshire’s Cotgrave Colliery, before the pit closed for good in 1993.

After battling through years of uncertainty in the troubled sector, the resignation on these miners’ faces is clear to see.

This was the end of the road.

The workers were devastated at leaving for the very final time, with one engineer saying the very worst bit for him was when the fans were finally switched off around a year later.

Like a heart that’s stopped beating, everything fell silent.

Unfortunately, as with many pits at the time, the miners were initially laid off and the colliery was kept ticking over for safety reasons; where any seeping water and noxious gases were kept out so the mine could be opened up again if the industry recovered.

There was initially some optimism about a comeback, as even the roadways were maintained, but they were never to be used again.

“When a pit is shut it’s shut for good,” engineer Bob Matthews told the BBC back in 2004.

Mr Matthews rode the last cage out of Cotgrave in 1993.

When the colliery closed it was reported that the mine’s millions of tons of coal reserves were simply not good enough quality.

But many claimed a myriad of reasons were to blame for the pit’s demise.

These included potential flooding problems following the discovery of a subterranean stream, numerous geological faults and the gradually increasing remoteness of the coal seam face from the mineshaft – which made it more expensive to bring the coal to the surface.

As time wore on and the situation looked more and more bleak, there was one final shaft inspection before it was filled in with 6,000 cubic metres of concrete and all buildings on site demolished.

The site is now home to Cotgrave Country Park.

The colliery was a relatively new pit, only sunk in 1964.

The koepe towers at the pit head were deemed extremely modern at the time and characterful when compared to other pit-head winding gear towers.

In what was far from the norm, face workers at Cotgrave had decent modern changing and shower facilities – which meant workers could leave the site just as clean as when they entered.

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Written by: thehitnetwork

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