Markham miners remembered with memorial unveiling 80 years after first tragedy
Eight new life-size steel figures have been unveiled as part of a memorial to miners who lost their lives at Markham Colliery marking 80 years since the first disaster at the site.
The figures were unveiled as part of the ‘Walking Together’ memorial, which we led on, and 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.
Derbyshire County Council have reclaimed the former colliery site with Henry Boot Developments and it’s now home to the Markham Vale regeneration scheme which is working to create 4,100 jobs for local people.
Councillor Tony King, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Regeneration at Derbyshire County Council, said:-
“Markham Colliery was at the heart of Derbyshire and a place where great friendships were made and generations of families worked.
“The miners were a very close group who had a strong bond and supported each other through the good and bad times.
“This 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.
Councillor King added:-
“The site is now home to 42 businesses and more than 1,000 new jobs have been created so far but it’s important that we don’t forget the site’s mining history, the challenging jobs the pit workers had and the sacrifices they made.”
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 Ralph Marsden, 41, Stallman, Joseph Furniss, 28, Stallman, Edward Baggaley, 34, Stallman, Edmund Smith, 29, Stallman, Frederick Roddy, 25, Cutterman, Thomas Jones, 49, Contractor, Enoch Jones, 21, Contractor and Joseph Geary, 55, Dataller.
Relatives of the miners commemorated at the unveiling also attended the event to pay tribute.
There are now 27 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 a number of businesses including Noonah Experiential and GH Motors − both based at Markham Vale.
Henry Boot Developments − the private sector property partner at Markham Vale − and their consultants have also sponsored three of the figures.
A grant of £7,500 has been awarded to the ‘Walking Together’ memorial from the Duke of Devonshire’s Charitable Trust for the next phase of the project which is set to be unveiled later in the year.
The Walking Together memorial has been designed by Cheshire-based Artist Stephen Broadbent.