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Markham miners memorial unveiling (29 May 2019)

Eight new life-size steel figures have been unveiled as part of a memorial to miners who lost their lives at Markham Colliery marking the halfway point in the project.

There are now 53 figures as part of the award-winning ‘Walking Together’ memorial – led by us – which will eventually feature 106 figures stretching between the village of Duckmanton in Chesterfield and the former pithead.

Each figure is part of a walking trail which symbolises a miner’s journey to the pit and back home again and represents the 106 men who lost their lives in three accidents at the site.

On 21 January 1937 an underground explosion claimed the lives of nine men and in 1938, 79 miners lost their lives and 40 were seriously injured in a second explosion.

Eighteen miners died and 11 others suffered serious injury in the third disaster at the colliery when the mechanical brake on a lift carrying them to the coalface failed on 30 July, 1973.

The former colliery site has now been reclaimed by us and Henry Boot Developments and is home to the Markham Vale regeneration scheme which is working to create 4,100 jobs for local people.

Our Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Regeneration Councillor Tony King said:

“It was a special and emotional day remembering the brave men that lost their lives in the three disasters at Markham Colliery.

“We are delighted that we have now commemorated 53 out of the 106 men with a life-size figure and have reached the halfway point in this important project.

“If you’d like to take part and support the project by sponsoring a figure please get in touch – we’d love to hear from you.”

 

Each figure carries a tag with the name of one of the miners, along with their age and job role.

These most recent additions have been dedicated to:

Allen, James, 25, Contractor

Bradford, John Henry, 46, Ripper

Davidson, George, 51, Contractor

Gee-Pemberton, Colin, 30, Belt Hand

Jacklin, Lawrence, 28, Contractor

Keller, Leonard, 26, Belt Turner

Lodge, Stanley, 40, Belt Erector

Taylor, Harry, 33, Belt Erector

Relatives of the miners commemorated at the unveiling also attended the event to pay tribute.

The latest figures have been sponsored by:

  • Sutton-cum-Duckmanton Parish Council
  • Rex Procter and Partners and RPP Management Ltd
  • DLA Piper UK LLP
  • Burkitt and Foulkes families
  • Ian Whibberley
  • NT Killingley Ltd
  • Derbyshire County Council and through public donations

The Walking Together memorial has been designed by Cheshire-based artist Stephen Broadbent.

The memorial won the award for best volunteer project and the Markham Vale Heritage Group was also highly commended recognising the involvement of young people in heritage with its Story Mine project at this year’s Derbyshire Heritage Awards.

Residents can share their memories of Markham Colliery on the Markham Story Mine website.

Anyone interested in sponsoring a figure can contact Head of Markham Vale, Peter Storey by emailing peter.storey@derbyshire.gov.uk or tel: 01629 535417 for more information.

Selection of photos from the event (credit Derbyshire County Council)