On Saturday, 26 January, 2019, the Cadeby Main Colliery Pit Wheel was dedicated near Kilners Bridge in Denaby Main.
Denaby Main was originally a company village built by the Denaby Main Colliery Company Ltd. Denaby Main Colliery began production in 1868 mining coal from the Barnsley Main seam. Cadeby Main Colliery began production in 1893, employing 2000 miners. By 1903 both collieries were employing over 4,500 men and boys.
In 1894 Fr Thomas Kavanagh arrived in the village with the task of establishing a Catholic Church to meet the spiritual, religious and pastoral needs of miners and their families drawn mainly from the growing Irish community, attracted by employment opportunities and housing.
Andrew Montague, whose family owned much of the land in Denaby Main, offered Fr Kavanagh an acre of land to build a church. The foundation stone was laid in 1897 and work began immediately on building the church. On the feast of St Alban in June, 1898, St Alban’s Catholic Church was officially opened by Rt Rev William Gordon, Bishop of Leeds. The service was attended by many local dignitaries. After Mass lunch was provided at Rossington Street Infants School where Bishop Gordon congratulated Fr Kavanagh on achieving his goal.
St Alban’s parishioners and the wider community prospered but they also had to endure 1902/03 Bag Muck Strike and mass evictions, 1912 Cadeby Main Colliery Disaster, 1921 Strike, 1926 General Strike, 1972 and 1974 Strikes and 1984/85 Miners Strike.
Cadeby Main Colliery closed on Christmas Eve 1986. Miners, trade unions, the churches and community exhausted the appeal procedures in their determination to save the colliery.
Jeff Lovell, Chair of the Cadeby Main Colliery Memorial Group, and his committee organised the Dedication of Cadeby Main Colliery Pit Wheel which was dedicated by Rev Reg Davies, Vicar of All Saints Parish Church, Denaby and Fr Patrick O’Connor. Many members of the community, trade unions and visitors attended. St Alban’s parishioners, who are extremely proud of their heritage and history, were well represented.
Remembering 30th Anniversary
2015 marked the thirtieth anniversary of the end of the miners’ strike of 1984/5. At the invitation of Rev Reg Davies, Vicar of All Saints Church, Denaby, Fr Bill Bergin, then Parish Priest of St Alban’s, and a group of parishioners from St Alban’s celebrated Mass in the Denaby and Cadeby Miners Memorial Chapel in All Saints Church, (pictured above).
Remembering Our Miners
Celebrating Mass in the Miners Memorial Chapel has become a tradition and an annual event in St Alban’s parish and, on Spring Bank Holiday Monday, 2017, Fr Desmond Edozie, Parish Priest of St Alban’s, celebrated Mass with parishioners from St Alban’s and English Martyrs Parishes.
Fr Desmond commented, “It is important that we remember our miners who worked at Denaby Main and Cadeby Main Collieries. They and their families created the parish of St Alban’s in partnership with their priests and religious sisters. We are in their debt. A special thanks to Rev Reg Davies and his parishioners for allowing us to celebrate Mass in the Miners Memorial Chapel.”
Fr Desmond celebrated Mass in the Miners Memorial Chapel on 28th May last year. Parishioners are pictured below in the Chapel with Rev Reg Davies, Vicar of All Saints Church, Denaby Main.