The final 13 life-size steel figures have been unveiled as part of the Walking Together Mining Memorial, taking the total number of statues to commemorate those tragically killed at Markham Colliery to 106 – one for each man who died in the disasters.
Originally commissioned in 2012, the figures form a trail which stretches between the village of Duckmanton, near Chesterfield, to Markham Vale, close to where the former pithead of Markham Colliery once stood.
Markham Vale is the council’s flagship regeneration site reclaimed and developed in partnership with HBD (formerly known as Henry Boot Developments) to create new jobs and attract investment into the area.
The trail symbolises a miner’s journey to the pit and back home again and each figure carries a tag with the name of one of the miners, along with their age and job role.
Cheshire-based Artist Stephen Broadbent designed the memorial supported by Markham Vale Heritage Group which researched the lives of the miners who were commemorated.
Our Cabinet Member for Clean Growth and Regeneration, Councillor Tony King, said:
“I feel honoured to have been part of this fantastic project and it’s great to see it finally completed.
“It’s incredibly important that we don’t forget the site’s mining history, the challenging jobs the pit workers had and the sacrifices they made.
“This permanent memorial is a place where the miner’s community spirit can be remembered and where families, friends and future generations can come together to pay tribute.
“I would like to thank everyone involved in the project including the local community, the families and friends of the miners who tragically lost their lives and the sponsors who have helped make this project possible.
“I would also like to thank the artist Stephen Broadbent, fabricator at CB Arts, the team at Beam and the Markham Vale Heritage Group for all their fantastic work.”
The first disaster commemorated by the memorial was an underground explosion on 21 January 1937 which claimed the lives of 9 men. This was followed by a second explosion a year later in 1938 when 79 miners lost their lives and 40 were seriously injured.
The final disaster occurred 35 years later when the mechanical brake on a lift carrying miners to the coalface failed, killing 18 miners and seriously injuring 11 others on 30 July 1973.
The final 13 figures have been dedicated to:
- David Bann, 54, contractor
- Alfred Garland, 52, timber drawer
- Robert Gregson, 36, contractor
- John William Hadley, 31, contractor
- Joseph Hibbard, 51, timber drawer
- Joseph Lilley, 30, road repairer
- Felix Linathan, 48, contractor
- Mark Richards, 31, ripper
- Samuel Edward Salt, 41, deputy
- Clarence Silcock, 42, ripper
- Fred Taylor, 53, contractor
- Redvers Baden Whitehead, 37, shot-firer
- Matthew Williams, 36, contractor
A grant of £17,830 has been awarded by Valencia Communities Fund through the Landfill Communities Fund to support and install 8 out of the 13 remaining figures.
Great Bear Distribution Limited sponsored 3 figures, while a further grant of £38,950 was awarded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, which distributes funding raised by National Lottery players. The further grant will cover the cost of one figure and fund several activities, including engagement workshops with the local community, a commemorative publication, heritage walking tours of the site and more.
For more information about the memorial visit The Markham Story Mine website. The Story Mine project is supported by The Heritage Lottery Fund and ourselves to unearth and share stories from Markham Colliery.
Anyone interested in joining the volunteers at Markham Vale Heritage Group can email firstname.lastname@example.org