Ollie Astley

Year 1 MArch

Ardor Terrae

Heat of the Earth: Miner’s Thermae Maximus

Astley Green, Manchester

In the heart of a once-thriving pit village, a solemn sense of nostalgia lingered, like the ghostly remnants of a forgotten era. The coal industry, once the lifeblood of this tight-knit community, had crumbled under the weight of time and progress. The demise of the mines left behind a trail of anguish, as ex-miners and their families grappled with the stark reality of fuel poverty.

Inspired by the history that coursed through the veins of the village, an endeavour to harness the earth's hidden energy, a concept borrowed from the ancient Roman baths that once epitomised health, relaxation, and togetherness.

The solution, a geothermal heat network, tapping into the depths below. The pipes snake beneath the village's cobbled streets, allowing a reawakening to take place. Warmth flooded back into the homes, rekindling a sense of comfort and security long forgotten.

At the heart of this geothermal revival stood a bathhouse, erected on the very grounds that bore witness to generations of toil in the coal mines. It became a sanctuary, not just for physical rejuvenation, but for the revitalisation of spirits. Ex-coal miners, weathered and worn, found solace in the healing waters, as the burden of their past was washed away. Laughter and camaraderie echoed through the halls, reminiscent of the tight-knit community they once knew.

The geothermal bath became the catalyst for the village's rebirth, a symbol of resilience and unity. Each space harnessing the geothermal gradient of the mine below. Through this remarkable fusion of past and present, the pit village found its voice again. The energy that once fuelled the mines now nurtured the homes, hearts, and dreams of those who called it home. A new chapter had begun, where the warmth of community and the power of the earth intertwined, reminding all that even in the darkest moments, hope and transformation were possible.

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