Bestwood Winding Engine House prepares for new tourist season

how a winding engine works image ??????????  Bestwood Winding Engine House is preparing to give a warm welcome when it re-opens to the public for the spring and summer season on Saturday (APR19).

Bestwood Colliery - 1959

Bestwood Colliery – 1959

Nottinghamshire County Council has been working over the winter months with the Winding Engine House Volunteer group to prepare for another season of visitors at Bestwood Country Park and there is a packed programme of events and activities.

During the summer, a new electric supply will enable the winding engine wheel to rotate once again. It has been stationary for around a year after volunteers noticed that the steel driving rope which drives the main winding wheel was wearing and needed to be repaired.

A small team of dedicated volunteers have put in around 260 hours to help get the complex mechanism working again using their own industry knowledge and have worked with county council heritage officers David Amos and Adele Williams, and electrical and structural experts to carry out the important remedial works.

Bestwood WEH - 2012At the height of the industrial period, Bestwood Colliery would have been powered by steam from a set of Babcock water tube boilers, and these were last in use in the late 1960s.

The Winding Engine House is the last remaining part of the former colliery and is housed in a tall brick building. During the mining industry years, the winding engine lowered colliers into the mine shaft, and winched mined coal up to the surface.

The restoration of the Winding Engine House was helped by funding from The Heritage Lottery Fund and the Greater Nottingham Partnership. The engine dates back to 1876, the heyday of Victorian industrial engineering. Since 1998, there has been an electrohydraulic system powering the winding engine wheel,  and the current works will now modify this electric system.

Bob Gow, Chairman of the Volunteer Group for the Bestwood Winding Engine House, said: “We are keen to get the electric system in place so the winding wheel can rotate and in turn the head pulleys can also turn within the headstocks.

“We scoured a scrap metal yard in Yorkshire to salvage some specialist parts and enlisted the help of a company Gee Engineering and we have been working with colleagues from the county council to work on this project and it is coming on well.” His volunteer colleagues are Mick and Jonathan Sendall and Malc Carter.

Councillor John Knight, Committee Chairman for Culture, at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “This summer season will be exciting for Bestwood and it will be a great moment when the electricity can power the winding engine wheel again later in the season. It is a tribute to the hard work and dedication of those involved in the project.

“There are some fascinating stories to tell related to mining and conservation here and a packed programme of activities to help bring these stories to life.”

From Saturday, April 19, visitors can take a ride to the top of the building in the glass lift and see the 18 foot winding wheel up close, then pop into the Dynamo House café for a delicious home-made cake, which is managed by Women’s Institute volunteers.

Open for tours from 10am to 12noon Saturdays and Bank Holidays from Easter-October.

If you would like to volunteer with the engineering and maintenance team, or in other roles such as learning, oral history or in the café team, please contact the Heritage Development Officers Adele Williams or David Amos or telephone 0115 976 2422. Suitable for wheelchair users

Some of the other forthcoming events are:

Mini-Miners Saturday:

First Saturday of the month, 10am-12noon

In addition to our usual activities for children, under 5s can ‘tunnel for coal’ and older ones can join in the hunt for mining objects around the site. Mini-Miners will take place the first Saturday of the month. In addition to our usual activities for children, under fives can ‘tunnel for coal’ and older ones can join in the hunt for mining objects around the site.


Sunday 27 April 2014, 10am-2pm

Meeting of the National Mining Memorabilia Association

Dynamo House, mining heritage displays, and the opportunity to bring along your own mining memorabilia to show. Tours of the Winding Engine House will be available, as will delicious cakes and coffee at the Dynamo House. For details please call David Amos on 0115 976 2422.