Digitally rebuilding Fernhill Colliery, brick by brick.
Since February 2019, we have been working with a small group from the local Valley Kids Youth Project at Penyrenglyn to research and rebuild aspects of the Fernhill Colliery in Minecraft.
The aim of the group is to recreate homes of the miners, and some of the mining buildings and landscapes. We have been working to rebuild an industrial landscape which they have never seen, but which occupied a large part of the landscape surrounding their home town.
A colliery winding house, recreated from archive photos.
Bringing together traditional archive research methods and the digital gaming platform Minecraft, the youth group is busy at work recreating a 3D version of Fernhill Colliery brick by brick in Minecraft. To find inspiration for their virtual colliery, the group has spent time combing through archives, visiting coal mining museums, speaking with former miners and Caroline Street inhabitants and doing hands-on archaeology where the houses on Caroline Street once stood.
The group will be learning how to read maps and historic photos, take photos, do photogrammetry, use GIS, dig archaeology and create films. They’re teaching us about Minecraft, Treherbert, living in Rhondda, and the best pizza and waffle toppings. At the same time, we’re all learning more about how the colliery worked and using heritage skills to explore what life was like at different points in history.