During March 2015, the built heritage team carried out a programme of historic building recording of the 1920s Power House and 1989 Number 1 Winding Tower at the former Harworth Colliery, Nottinghamshire. The colliery at Harworth had been established in the early 20th century, but was mothballed in 2006, and it was announced in 2014 that the site would not reopen. The majority of the former buildings and ancillary structures on the colliery site had been demolished in recent years, but the Number 1 Winding Tower and Power House remained. Planning consent was granted for the demolition of the remaining buildings and for the redevelopment of the site by Harworth Estates with the construction of 996 residential properties.
Both the Power House and Number 1 Winding Tower were recorded by the built heritage team prior to their demolition. The Winding Tower, constructed in 1989, was a huge and important landmark in the area, visible from miles around, dominating the landscape. The Tower demonstrated ingenuity of design whereby it had to be constructed around and over the original headgear without interrupting the continuous coal winding operations, allowing the removal of the redundant gear and commissioning of the new tower, all during a three week holiday period. Its great structural advantage was its cellular design which provided walls of considerable strength to withstand suction from ventilation fans in upcast shafts, with the economy of materials. The Tower in fact received a commendation in the 1990 Civic Trust awards.
On Sunday 10 April 2016, the Tower was set for demolition, and with crowds of local people gathered to watch the iconic tower fall, the explosives weren’t enough to topple the tower. It wasn’t until the following day that the tower finally fell. Videos of the failed demolition can be viewed here.
Our report and site archive will be deposited with Nottinghamshire Archives.