Your Dinnington

A history of Dinnington, South Yorkshire

In rural South Yorkshire, England, in the Metropolitan Borough of Rotherham is the town of Dinnington, with a history reaching back to Neolithic times and forward to cutting edge Formula One racing. Continuously inhabited for thousands of years, today, it is a small town with a population of around 10,000.

Originally a small farming community, the population grew in the early 20th century because of mining and quarrying. Due to the sinking of the Dinnington Main Colliery in 1905 the population grew twenty-fold. The miners lived in Laughton Common in a prefabricated shanty town but moved into terrace houses build by the colliery in the area of the Laughton Road shopping district. In 1862, a long barrow was leveled where a large number of skeletons of men, women and children were found. The skulls are in the oxford museum now, but there were no ornaments or weapons found with them.

The coal from Dinnington was one source of energy that powered the global industrial revolution of the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. Before 1842, women and children as young as 6 years, both boys and girls, worked in the coal mines. In 1842, an Act of Parliament prohibited women and girls from underground work and boys less than 10 years.

In the seventeenth century, Dinnington was a tiny agricultural community of 189 in 1821 to 265 by 1892. There was a Squire, Rector, nine resident farmers and several craftsmen. They made nails, shoes, scythes and clothing. There were also blacksmiths, bakers and masons. The industrial revolution rapidly changed all that. New machinery was introduced that soon caused local crafts to disappear.

In 1888 a thrashing machine arrived that was pulled by eight horses. It caused riots among the farm labourers who tried to smash the machine that was stealing their livelihood. Farm labourers throughout England felt the same, but they didnít succeed. By the beginning of the 20th century many places in England were paying their farm labourers very little, but in Dinnington they were paid fairly and received lots of extras including meat, vegetables, fruit and milk and there was no real poverty.

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In 1902, with advanced machinery and better way to drain and ventilate coal mines, the Dinnington Main Colliery was begun. They also had railway connection for delivery of the coal to the ever hungry industrial revolution of the time. There was a huge amount of coal under the Magnesian Limestone, but it was too difficult to reach until the new machinery arrived.

Dinnington miners were paid better than some others in the country, but they supported their brethren who needed a minimum wage for underground workers. The minors strike in 1912 secured a Minimum Wage Act that passed Parliament, but it was only in principle not in practice. Miners were bitter and worked hard for little pay.

The miners lived in Tin Town, a shanty town with corrugated iron sided houses next to the pit. This changed when the mine became lucrative and the company built stone cottages some distance from the mines for the workers and their families.

In 1914, the Colliery Company paid two pounds to each man who would enlist to fight in World War I. Like many others in rural England at the time, they went to war as to an adventure not realizing that most, if not all, of them would never return and the world would be changed forever.

After the Second World War, housing estates spread and Dinnington expanded because of commuter living. This resulted in a 3.5 km section of residential and commercial development that is a commuter base for Rotherham, Worksop and Sheffield.

The local community was devastated in 1992 when the Dinnington Colliery was closed, and 1000 jobs were lost. There has been a gradual recovery with a business park and small-scale commercial redevelopment. Virgin Racing in Formula One part of the Manor Motorsport team is based in Dinnington.

Today, Dinnington is home to the Dinnington Comprehensive School, a Youth Theatre, Racing Club and Rugby Club. The Dinnington Colliery Band started in 1904 continues to this day as an award winning traditional brass band. It went into decline when the mine was closed in 1992, but was selected for a BBC three part series A Band for Britain securing it a million pound recording contract and a future.

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