Beneath the earth of Nottingham
Lies our future, to be claimed,
The hole is sunk, the men are drawn
towards a dark and deadly flame
Nine men fall down the hungry shaft
and come back up without their breath
just nine more on the tally chart
of all the men who met their death
In Gedling's pit, where thousands worked
the rich, deep sedimentary seam
from all the world the miners came -
Jamaican beach to Sherwood's dream
The Pit of Nations is no more.
Struck down; an easy callous swipe
of the blue-edged capital sword,
ignoring what remained behind.
Was it worth it? Those six years?
Working on while others starved?
The end was coming sure enough
when unity was rent in half
Ninety years and more of toil
torn to a pile of dust and scrap
leaving a silent open grave
mighty holes filled in and capped
The pounding of 700 feet
on the crushed and stony tracks
give birth to yet another year
as the distant, lonely sun
washes gently on our backs
We climb the hills, embrace the dips
accept the cold upon our face
we pass the embryonic homes
as an uncertain future looms
behind our gathering pace
(c) Tim Fellows 2018
Gedling Colliery, which was the life-blood of Gedling and many of the surrounding villages, opened in 1899 and was closed in 1991. 128 men died at the colliery, which produced over a million tonnes of coal per year in the 1960s. It developed a reputation as the "pit of all nations" because of the diversity of foreign miners who worked there: in the 1960s, ten per cent of the colliery's workforce of 1,400 were originally from the Caribbean.
The site was opened as Gedling Country Park on 28 March 2015 and is the location of Gedling parkrun.