South Elmsall was a mediaeval village with a twin, North Elmsall some three miles away and until the coming of the railways was little more than a crossroads. The major turning point in South Elmsall's history, was the sinking of Frickley Colliery coal mine in the early 20th Century. From this time the village grew to a significant size. The Colliery was one of the largest in the whole country and a key source of union radicalism. During the UK Miners' Strike (1984-1985), there were numerous disturbances in the area. On one occasion, four hundred police were deployed to escort two miners to work even though, with the coalfield at a standstill there was no productive work to do. The colliery closed on 26th November 1993, following closures of nearby pits like Ferrymoor-Riddings (1985), Kinsley (1986), South Kirkby (1988) and Grimethorpe (1992). The area around Hemsworth was long one of the most depressed areas of the whole European Union, although fortunes have improved recently. The site of the former Frickley Colliery has now been cleared and is currently being redeveloped as a country park.