Zeche HR was a mine in Germany with an amazing bathhouse full of baskets, and features a huge hammerhead winding tower. There's also an elephant!
The mine was opened in 1901 when the first shaft was sunk, and a second shaft added in 1923 in order to meet the ever increasing demand for coal in this region of Germany. Like many mines and steelworks of the time, the site was built and operated by the De Wendel family. The Germans took ownership of the mine during the world wars, the French owners being opponents in both. Much expansion including the enlargement of the power house took place during the Second World War under the direction of the Third Reich, a time when coal was in high demand. Ownership was returned to the De Wendels after both wars, and was eventually sold to RAG, Germany’s largest mining company.
Further construction took place around the site during the 1950s, including the addition of the hammerhead winding tower, the most recognisable feature of the mine.
At its peak, the mine was producing 9,000 tons of coal per day and was merged with the underground workings of several other collieries. However requirements for coal were dropping, the ageing mine was becoming inefficient, and uneconomical. This combined with environmental factors was responsible for the closure of the colliery in 2010.
The Hammerhead Winding Tower
The steel-framed and brick-clad winding tower was constructed in 1955, replacing the original headframe above the no. 1 shaft, which was previously used only for man-access. The tower allowed the shaft to be used for production as well, increasing the mines output.
The admin building was were workers would get paid their wages and visitors such as business people could be met. The entrance features a large hall, as was common in German mining facilities.
The Bathhouse – Baskets and Showers
The bathhouse was where the miners would get changed before and after their shift, could have a shower, and store their belongings while they were down the mine. The baskets allowed a secure way of doing this, as their clothes and personal affects could be placed into them, and then hoisted up the ceiling, out of reach, then the chain hoist secured with a lock.
The lamp room was where miners lamps were stored and recharged between shifts. The lamps have been removed, but the charging racks remain.
The mine had an unusually large power station, which in its time would have been capable of producing much more electricity than the mine required. The excess electricity was fed into the public grid. Most of the generating equipment has since been removed.