The Story of the Blue Mound at Lydbrook
From Blue Mound to Green Playground
During the working life of a coal mine a copious amount of waste is produced and the Lydbrook Deep Navigation Pit was no exception. In its operational years from 1838 to 1933 the mine produced a staggering 30,000 tons of the stuff. This redundant slag had no value and was dumped close to the entrance of the mine creating a man-made hill between the Church of Holy Jesus (built in 1851) and the main road. This hill became known as the Blue Mound. It was an eyesore and a danger to health and safety in the village.
Every day, in the school set on the opposite bank across the main road, Sydney Miles, the headmaster would sit at his desk and stare out of his window at this pile of of waste with growing irritation. At the same time he could hear the reasuring sound of the children laughing and playing in the school yard only partially mitigating his indignation. Then, one sunny day, he had a flash of inspiration: why not remove the Blue Mound and create a green playground for the miners' children to use for generations?
Sydney Miles was a man of influence in Lydbrook. He had been instrumental in the building of the Lydbrook Memorial Hall in 1926. He immediately called a meeting to consider moving the Blue Mound by voluntary labour. The motion was carried and work began on the site in July 1934 and the foundation stone was laid by the Duke of Kent in November 1934.
To remove this menacing heap, the men of Lydbrook, mainly miners, constructed a mini railway in a spiral pattern up to the top, and 'bogey' carts were used on it to bring the material down. The work was carried out entirely by pick and shovel and pit carts. Once the mound had been flattened, they grassed it over and put in a football pitch (a home for Lydbrook AFC) and a recreation ground for the children of Lydbrook.
To read more, visit the Forest of Dean Miscellany web-site: http://www.deanforestmiscellany.info/myContents/FODM_BlueMound.shtml