Walking Together

‘Walking Together’ – mining memorial artwork by artist Stephen Broadbent.

The memorial acts as a permanent reminder of the site’s strong mining heritage and the trail of walking figures connects Duckmanton with the heart of the new Markham Vale industrial area.

The artwork boldly cuts through the dramatic industrial landscape; a ‘desire line’ has been created for visitors to re-imagine and remember the lives of all miners, and in particular those who lost their lives for their work.

This walking trail of figures symbolises a miner’s journey to the pit and back home again. The 53 figures walking home after a shift underground have a darker finish on the steel, compared to the 53 brighter figures walking to the pit to start a shift. Each of these figures has fixed on his chest a circular bronze miner’s tag. On the underside is stamped the name of a miner killed, his age and job title. On the front of the tag is stamped the year of the disaster, encouraging the visitor to touch the very personal and tactile tags, and turn them over to discover the name, age and occupation.

The Markham Vale Heritage Group has undertaken extensive research on each of the miners and engaged with relatives and friends of the commemorated miners.

Historically, there were many routes to Markham Colliery from many different communities, but the route of the ‘Walking Together’ artwork, and which we hope symbolises all of these routes, connects Duckmanton through the motorway underpass, to the Markham Vale Environment Centre.

The route was developed by Stephen Broadbent under guidance from a group of former miners and pupils from nearby schools. Along this route, clusters of figures will help establish new landscaped areas, with associated planting and seating, creating an enhanced ‘sense of place’ for workers, for the local community and for visitors. This memorial also allows for personal reflection, and greater interpretation of the site’s history.

“Markham’s three significant mining disasters must be remembered, but it quickly becomes clear that we must not forget the many other tragic mining deaths and significant injuries, and indeed the remarkable sacrifice all miners made to help build this nation’s prosperity. We believe the memorial also needs to convey a sense of celebration; of an important job well done; of a unique time and place; and a community’s spirit and resilience.”

Stephen Broadbent, Artist.

The memorial was fundraised for and delivered over a period of ten years and was completed in October 2022.