The Betteshanger Colliery Welfare Band entertaining the visitors at the Kent Miners' Festival
Coal production ended at Tilmanstone in 1986 but within sight of the former colliery site hundreds of people have been celebrating its heritage.
A seven-hour Kent Miners' Festival on Bank Holiday Monday at Tilmanstone Welfare Ground remembered the one-boom industry in the county and also commemorated 100 years since the first ‘black gold’ was brought to the surface at the pit in 1913.
Brass bands played in the sunshine, two representing Betteshanger and Snowdown which were also collieries in the Kent Coalfield which eventually closed in 1989.
There was a stunt bike display, a boxing tournament, a dog show, stalls and plenty of food, from Russian nibbles to hot doughnuts, as a well as a heritage tent packed with the history of the collieries.
A football tournament was organised for four teams representing the four Kent pits of Tilmanstone, Betteshanger, Snowdown and Chislet
Colin Smith, one of the competition organisers, said: “I married into the mining community and there is a good community spirit here today. Our referee for the tournament is Stuart Rodmell, whose late father was a Kent miner.”
Keen historian Colin Varrall was selling his new book A Pictorial History of Eythorne and Elvington (with Waldershare and Tilmanstone Colliery), which has been produced by the Elvington and Eythorne Heritage Group.
He said: “We must not forget the Kent Coalfied. It is good to remind people.”
* For full story and photos from the Kent Miners’ Festival see the Dover Mercury and East Kent Mercury on Thursday, August 29.