History brought to life

The Avenue has a long and interesting industrial history, dating back to the 1870’s. A local Ordnance Survey map of the time shows a public footpath clearly marked as ‘The Avenue’ and shortly after this, the site began its life as an industrial landmark.

Initially, The Avenue was home to a coalmine, known as The Avenue Colliery, and this was later expanded to include a lime and iron works. By 1938, the colliery, lime and iron works were all disused and the vast majority of the site was used as agricultural land.

However, in 1952, the coking works that we’re cleaning up today, was built and began producing smokeless fuel (by carbonising coal) in 1956. The coking works was very sustainable in its day. It processed waste from the coke making process on this and other local sites to make chemicals needed for industries across the whole of the UK. These included substances such as Benzole, Tar and Sulphuric Acid amongst other things. In addition, the works also produced some of the gas used by people living in nearby Chesterfield, up until 1992 when the works closed.

As you can imagine, all this industrial use has left a lot of waste meaning the site needs a great deal of cleaning! The task began back in April 1999 and we’re still hard at it – but the results are definitely beginning to show.

The plant