Following the success of a similar event to mark the 40th Anniversary of the closure of Kemberton Pit, Madeley in 2006 it was decided to hold a service to mark the 1979 closure of Shropshire's last deep colliery, the Granville Pit.
On 29th June 1979 the last of the miners, retained on salvage work, walked behind the Shropshire Miners' Union banner from Madeley Court School through Madeley to the Blists Hill Site of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum. Here the banner was "laid up" at a short service led by a Madeley Band although a Miners' Union leader stressed that they hoped this would only be temporary and that some time in the future another generation of miners would need it.
To mark the anniversary of this event, a walk around the mining remains between the former Granville Colliery site and Muxton Bridge colliery (now part of Granville Country Park) was arranged for Saturday 4th July, 2009, followed by a Reunion Service (arranged by Madeley Living History Project) at Madeley Fletcher Methodist Church on Sunday 5th July, with an exhibition of local mining memorabilia.
About 15 people took part in the mining walk on the Saturday (which was cunningly timed to avoid the rain!), led by Dr. Ivor Brown with various contributions and memories from the ex-Miners in the group.
Picture 1: Remains of the large horizontal winding engine house at Muxton Colliery.
Picture 2: Brick pillar that supported a beam pump with the foundations of a horizontal engine beside it, Muxton Bridge Colliery.
On Sunday, 5th July, over 80 people attended the Reunion Service, led by the Rev. Colin Richards (a former miner) at the Madeley Fletcher Methodist Church. Four former mine workers and the daughter of the Madeley Lodge Secretary and checkweighman (1938-1964) took part.
Two original Granville shaft section scrolls (dating from the 1860s when the shafts were sunk) were borrowed from Shropshire Archives and displayed either side of the pulpit. Unfortunately the Union banner held by the Ironbridge Gorge Museum was not 'located' in time for the service.
The events were made possible through the kindness of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, Birse Construction, the Church Stewards, Madeley Local History Project and the Club.
Picture 3: Rev. Colin Richards during the Reunion Service, with the 1860s Colliery scrolls either side of the pulpit.
Picture 4: The South Staffs and Shropshire District Union banner on display at the Forest Glen, Blists Hill, in October 2009.
To rectify the lapse in July, the Museum laid on a special Reunion Service at Blists Hill "Victorian Town" in October 2009, where the Union banner was put on display in the Forest Glen Pavilion.
Those who were present at the July event were invited and given a guided tour of the museum's new mining exhibits, plus tea and cakes in the Pavilion followed by a short Service, led once again by Rev. Colin Richards.
The Club put on a display of photos of Granville and Kemberton Collieries that featured miners on them - attendees were invited to write names on the pictures of anyone they could identify.
The Museum put on a show of a number of lamps and a surveyors dial from the recently acquired Walker Technical College Collection.