Markham miners remembered with memorial unveiling
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:

Arthur May, 59, Contractor

George Edward Pether, 30, Ripper

Harry Lavender, 39, Ripper

James Stanley Rowland, 34, Contractor

John Arnold Bray, 34, Ripper

John Thomas Brown, 26 Timber Drawer

John William Lievesley, 46, Deputy

Leonard Atkin, 53, Contractor

Thomas George Yates, 38, Timber Drawer

Walter Bluer, 41, Ripper

Wilfred Haywood, 36, Ripper.

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

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

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.