If you go for a walk through the woods at Langwith to-day there is little sign of the industry that once went on in the area. It’s green and peaceful now, but it was not always this way, as I found out on Pepper’s walk this week.
First we went through what is now a park and some woodland, but not too many years ago this was the site of one of the area’s numerous collieries, complete with huge railway sidings. There’s absolutely nothing left of any of it, except for the rail track that is now the Robin Hood line and an old footbridge over it.
Carrying on across the bridge, we eventually came to a huge open space. Here, over a century ago now, stood His Majesty’s Factory, a huge and supposedly secret place engaged in making the chemicals for use in WW1 era sea mines. Needless to say this was a dangerous Job and two fatal accidents happened in quick succession.Today the factory is also just a memory. However there is a small stone with a plaque attached, giving the details of those who lost their lives. The plaque also remembers the crew of a WW2 aircraft that crashed on the site.
It’s a shame that at least some of this history couldn’t be preserved. The closure of the colliery and subsequent landscaping of the surrounding area wiped it all away though. And judging by the air gun pellet holes in the plaque, it probably wouldn’t have been appreciated anyway. How sad.