Jubilee Colliery: Preserving the Past

Preserving the Past was a volunteer led heritage project that aimed to unearth more findings from the site of Jubilee Colliery and then share this historical learning with others. Jubilee Colliery is one of the largest and best preserved Lancashire Coalfield Collieries. The site is now a nature site in the north of Shaw, Oldham.

“Before I started this project with Groundwork it felt like one day was merging into the next. I had nothing interesting to do but sit at home all day watching TV. Since starting this project Groundwork has given me a real confidence boost and a reason to get outdoors which I don't do much of. They have inspired me to continue my work at Jubilee and to find work using the skills they have taught me.”

Charles Hicklin, Jubilee volunteer and now a member of the Friends of Jubilee Collier

Community learning and preservationPreserving the Past was funded by Heritage Lottery Fund and aimed to build on the success of the previous Unearthing the Past project. The project was delivered in 3 stages; community archaeology, preservation work and outreach.

The first stage involved the recruitment of a team of local volunteers who would drive forward the project. Following an initial phase of inductions the volunteers carried out a 10 week dig delivered in partnership with Oxford Archaeology North. As well as the core group of Jubilee volunteers, the dig also provided opportunities for schools, groups and other individuals to get involved in the project.

The next stage of the project involved the volunteers completing heritage building conservation in partnership with Alan Gardner Associates and McGiffen Masonry.

The final stage of the project involved a wide range of outreach activities delivered throughout the life of the project. This included community events, presentations in local schools, creation of films and online promotion.

Project outcomes

  • 39 Volunteers involved
  • 24 people trained in CVQ1, health and safety, photography, Heritage Building skills
  • 18 events community held
  • Over 400 visitors attended events
  • 2 structures uncovered and preserved, existing structures repaired
  • 5 local primary schools engaged
  • 6 local community groups involved
  • 1 local sixth form college engaged
  • 12 work experience placements provided
  • Interactive QR code trail installed on site
  • Films produced in partnership with Oldham Sixth Form College
  • Friends of Jubilee Colliery established

“We all had a super time when you came to speak to our walking group... Looking into our local history encourages us to appreciate where we live and we will think about what you have told us about the Jubilee site when we walk along the footpaths through that industrial area” Jean Norman, Nordic Walkers

“This session was perfect for our group (young people with additional needs) and was very hands on. The session would also appeal to younger children. Thank you for inviting the group to your site. Our young people had a fantastic time.” Greg Cookson, Barrier Breakers

Future developmentsThe core Jubilee volunteer group have formed a Friends of Jubilee Colliery to maintain the site in the future. The group are now working with Voluntary Action Oldham and others to access funding to preserve further structures on the site.

For more about Jubilee Colliery and the heritage work at the site visit the Jubilee blog.