Colliery memorial unveiled 26 years after former Doncaster pit closed

Askern Mayor Francis Jackson pictured with Chris Penn, Keepmoat Operations Director and former miners at the unveiling of the Askern Colliery Memorial.  Picture: Marie Caley NDFP Miners Memorial MC 3
Askern Mayor Francis Jackson pictured with Chris Penn, Keepmoat Operations Director and former miners at the unveiling of the Askern Colliery Memorial. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP Miners Memorial MC 3

It may be 26 years since it closed - but Askern's former colliery winding wheel is today again at the centre of the village.

The wheel has been unveiled in pride of place next to High Street, as a memorial to the colliery and the miners who worked there for around 80 years.

Former miners joined the Mayor of Askern, Askern Town Councillors, and local businesses and organisations who have helped create the memorial, which is now located in the grounds of Askern Lake, near High Street's junction with Station Road.

Mayor Francis Jackson was delighted to see the memorial unveiled, years after the plan for a monument at the site was first proposed.

He said: "We issued an open invitation to former miners at the colliery to come down for the unveiling."

Poems were read at the ceremony, with those at the launch then going on mark the event with coffees at Alexander House, Askern Town Council's base on the other side of High Street.

The colliery was closed in 1991, 80 years after its shafts were first sunk. Sections of its winding wheel were subsequently sited at both Askern Town Council's base at Alexander House on High Street and at Askern Miners Welfare, at Manor Way.

It was decided that the wheel at Askern Miners Welfare should be re-sited, on a new plinth. It was also repainted and tidied up, before the grand unveiling.

Mr Jackson, said: "Unless you go into the miners welfare, you would not know the section of the wheel was there.

"It has always been one of our passions in Askern that we have a proud mining heritage, but there has not been much telling people passing through about that history, which made such an important contribution to Britain's industrial past."

The work has been backed by businesses,including Anesco, the firm which sited solar panels on the site of the former mine, and Keepmoat.

The community pledged money after a fundraising campaign, and Askern Town Council provided funds.

The town already had a memorial to the colliery in front of Alexander House carrying the names of men who died in service at the former pit, along with two former colliery coal tubs.