Markham miners remembered with memorial unveiling (26 September 2018)
Eleven new life-size steel figures have been unveiled as part of a memorial to miners who lost their lives at Markham Colliery.
The figures were unveiled as part of the ‘Walking Together’ memorial – led by Derbyshire County Council – 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 the county council and Henry Boot Developments and is home to the Markham Vale regeneration scheme which is working to create 4,100 jobs for local people.
Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Regeneration Councillor Tony King said: “It has been a special day remembering the brave men that lost their lives in the three disasters at Markham Colliery.
“It was really nice to meet and spend time the relatives and hear more about each miner.
“I remember the site well. Not only as a place of work but where were great friendships formed.
“We now have 45 figures as part of the memorial and more sponsors are needed so if you’d like to take part and support the project 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:
- Atkin, Leonard, 53, Contractor
- Bluer, Walter, 41, Ripper
- Bray, John Arnold, 34, Ripper
- Brown, John Thomas, 26 Timber Drawer
- Haywood, Wilfred, 36, Ripper.
- Lavender, Harry, 39, Ripper
- Lievesley, John William, 46, Deputy
- May, Arthur, 59, Contractor
- Pether, George Edward, 30, Ripper
- Rowland, James Stanley, 34, Contractor
- Yates, Thomas George, 38, Timber Drawer
Relatives of the miners commemorated at the unveiling also attended the event to pay tribute.
Walking Together: Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Regeneration, Councillor Tony King (centre) holds a photograph of Markham miner Wilfred Haywood with Wilfred’s granddaughter Janet Wilkins and his second cousin Alan Perry.
There are now 45 figures at the site – the first two were unveiled in 2013 to mark the 40th anniversary of the 1973 disaster.
The latest figures have been sponsored by:
- Duckmanton Primary School
- G F Tomlinson Group Ltd
- Maureen (nee Bray) and John Fidler
- The descendants of Thomas George Yates
- The Freemasons Derbyshire Fund through Foundation Derbyshire
- The Markham Mining Memorial Working Group
- The Milnes Family
- The Pether Family.
Sponsors: (left to right) Adam Keightley, Lindsey Steeple, Andrew Priestley, Greg Nicholson, Richard Crossan and Mike Hall beside two of the latest figures to be unveiled at Markham Vale.
Henry Boot Developments – the county council’s private sector property partner – and their consultants Jefferson Sheard Architects, Warrington Martin, Anderson Green Ltd and BWB Consulting Ltd have also sponsored figures.
The Walking Together memorial has been designed by Cheshire-based Artist Stephen Broadbent.
Anyone interested in sponsoring a figure can contact Head of Markham Vale, Peter Storey by emailing Peter.Storey@derbyshire.gov.uk or by calling 01629 535417 for more information.