Project Spotlight: Eureka Park, Swadlincote, Derbyshire (June 2021)

by Andrew Fox Press Latest News


THE PROJECT: a full coal mining site investigation including rotary drilling, trial pitting, gas monitoring, contamination testing, all appropriate remediations and full reinstatement of site for public use.


Eureka Park is a delightful green space which is named after the coal seam that runs beneath it. Back in the 1920s, the site served as a general recreation ground. It was redeveloped in 2014 with a Heritage Lottery Grant, but South Derbyshire District Council (SDDC) was keen to improve it still further. In particular, the Council wanted to recapture the park’s ‘invisible heritage’ which they felt has been lost over time. Part of this work involved creating a memorial garden for the ‘Bevin Boys’  the 48,000-strong workforce who were conscripted during the Second World War by Minister for Labour, Ernest Bevin, to step into the role of the many miners who had volunteered for military service. Mined resources were essential during wartime for building ships, vehicles, armaments and ammunition, and Bevin realised that by using conscripted men to fill the vacancies in the mines, production could be maintained at a viable cost.



The plans for the memorial garden included several pergolas which were built to resemble mine shafts and tunnels, as well as sculptures, refurbished mining artefacts and a mosaic. However, as in any coalfield area, a thorough investigation of the site was essential. SDDC needed to be sure that the mine beneath the new garden would cause no safety concerns for visitors or for themselves.

RGS was tasked with carrying out these vital site surveys. Geoenvironmental Engineer, Charlie Campion, located the treated mine shafts and inspected the mine caps to confirm that the old shafts had all been properly remediated. Trial pitting and chemical testing were carried out to check for any site contamination. Geotechnical Engineer, Charlotte Mason also oversaw rotary drilling to a depth of 19.5m to investigate the strata for mineworkings, and installed a regime of standpipes for gas monitoring. One rotary borehole which gave high readings for hazardous gas had to be sealed to make it safe.

As Eureka Park has public access on all sides, it was essential that we managed the safety and security of the works, as well as fully reinstating the site for public use. Safety is always at the heart of all that we do and both during and after our carefully managed operations, our team made sure that the entire site remained safe and tidy. Our client now has the benefit of a comprehensive report which includes our recommendations for the safe development of this exciting site. The project is currently in its early stages, but the Bevin Boys’ Memorial Garden will be well worth a visit once it’s completed.

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