My name is Kathryn, I’m aged 23, have lived in different places throughout my life and recently moved to England (2012). In June 2014, I joined the Groundwork Prince’s Trust Team programme and it is aimed at 16-25 year olds wanting to gain and develop more skills and experience. On this programme, we are required to take on a 2 week work placement and mine was with Jo Fullman at the Jubilee Colliery in Shaw. The week that I joined was when it was the last week of dig and they were pretty much finishing up with digging and recording.
On my first day at the site, I met the volunteers and staff; I got shown around the site where coke ovens as well as the chimney and the boiler room grounds were recently uncovered by the volunteers and staff. Along with that, they found bits that resembled things used in coal mines. We found things like rope/cable that could have possibly been made of hemp fibre. I also had a little history lesson of what went on and how things were done back in the late 1800s. I helped a little with the digging and found more bits like screws and bolts and what seemed to be an old electrical ceramic thing.
The next day I was helping a couple of the staff with the painting and other little jobs like sawing to help build the sweet cart, coconut shy and skittles alley for the Victorian day on that weekend. It was tiring but enjoyable.
On Wednesday, we had a BBQ for the volunteers and staff. Jo, Gayle and I prepared and made it then cleaned up afterwards. The BBQ went down well with everyone! I also did some planning for the treasure trail for the Victorian day as well as found a bumble bee hive and took a video of where they lived!
Following day, did lots and lots of painting for the activities for the Victorian day. It was good to help out and there were lots to do and it was great to see the dedication all these volunteers and staff have!
The day before the Victorian day, we all still had tons to do like the painting and woodwork as well as finishing the treasure trail and events map. Final preparations may not be big jobs but all the little jobs add up and take up more time, but we did it.
On Saturday was the Victorian day and the morning of it, we loaded and unloaded everything at Jubilee. We set everything up and made final decisions of where the clues should be for the treasure trail as well as where the coconut shy and skittles alley should be. After all, we want people to explore! I had to leave a little early to tend to family matters but I know the Victorian day was a success! There were a number of local as well as overseas visitors and the children and parents loved the treasure trail which I am very happy about. The best dressed also won an adoption pack for ponies in Wakefield.
The following week involved cleaning up after the Victorian day. Unfortunately, one teacup did not survive. After all the washing and cleaning up, Jo and I went to the site to check if the trees there survived the storm and thankfully there was not any damage done to the site. We sadly packed up the remaining tools and said goodbye to the site (for a couple of weeks).
On the Wednesday, we took volunteers and staff from the Jubilee to the National Coal Mining Museum in Wakefield and it was amazing. There were tons to see and do. I particularly loved the stables where the horses were as well as the interactive things in the museum. Most of the volunteers went on the underground tour which looked like fun but I said above ground with Jo and a couple of the other volunteers to check out the very big museum site. It was amazing to see how many men and boys were miners as well as the tragedy that often occurred back then. It was such a great experience and I loved every bit of my work placement. It was lovely to meet everyone involved as well as learn about the history of where I currently live and spend my time.
I am grateful for the experience and opportunity given to me and I would just like to thank Jo and the others again for a great time and work placement.
More placements available: If anyone is looking for work placements then look no further! Jubilee Colliery: Preserving the Past is looking to offer work placements over the next two months. Please contact Joanna Fullman for more details.