The purchase of the miners’ site in Winthorpe by a local family has been welcomed.
It was revealed by the Skegness Standard yesterday that the iconic building has been bought by the Smith family, who own other businesses in Winthorpe - and it didn’t take people on social media long to work out they are the same family who own the Dunes and The View Cafe Bar.
The closure of the miners’ retreat was a sad loss to both Skegness and the mining communities who paid for it. We hope at least the building will be saved and that it has a future in the community.Coun Phil Gaskill, Skegness Labour Party
The former Derbyshire Miners’ Convalescent Home had been used as a holiday retreat by Derbyshire miners recovering from illness for 90 years,
An official statement regarding the sale reads: “The Derbyshire Miners Convalescent Home in Winthorpe has been sold to new owners, the Smith family.
“The building, which has enjoyed a seafront location since 1928 and retains all of its original features, is soon to be re-opened whilst undergoing an extensive refurbishment programme.
“Further information about the building and its future opening date will be made available in due course.”
It seemed like the end of an era in October last year when a last-ditch attempt by protestors to appeal to the charity who ran it - the Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation (CISWO) – failed and the doors of the convalescent home closed for the last time.
According to CISWO, the building was ‘no longer fit for purpose’. However, protestor Geoff Poulter - who worked as a miner in Derbyshire for 32 years and served as an NUM branch official for 25 years - said he didn’t believe the building could not be saved,
“People like me suffered in the mines and paid out money for years so the convalescent home was somewhere to turn to in times of need,” he said at the time.
“I know people who have stayed there this year who tell me it’s not as bad as CISWO make out.
“I don’t believe it is anything the people of Skegness wouldn’t have got behind to help put right.
“I campaigned for Skegness Hospital for years as founder of Skegness Hospital Watch and I know what local people are capable of.”
On hearing the news of the sale, he said yesterday (Tuesday) that he was delighted the building is to be retained.
“This is much better than we feared,” he said.
“We expected the building would be torn down to make way for more caravans.
“It is an iconic building and, looking at the Smith family’s plans, this is what we would have hoped to do with it had we been able to keep it.
“I know the Smith family - my dad used to work for them many years ago - and I wish them every success.”
Coun Phil Gaskill, of Skegness Labour Party, who campaigned with the retired miners, said: “The closure of the miners’ retreat was a sad loss to both Skegness and the mining communities who paid for it.
“We hope at least the building will be saved and that it has a future in the community.”
Readers on Facebook were also delighted by the news. Jacky Smith said: “Good news for this beautiful building.” Diane Clarke was one of many wishing the Smith family luck, saying: “Good on them, I wish them every success in their new venture.”
Carol Bingham said: “Let’s hope they don’t make the coast guards move yet again
More announcements about the project will be made soon.