Look at the the planned £130,000 memorial to Doncaster's miners

This is how a £130,000 memorial to Doncaster's proud mining industry will look - if the cash can be raised.

Monday, 9th July 2018, 5:23 pm
Updated Monday, 16th July 2018, 4:02 pm
Miners walk to their last production shift at Rossington colliery. L-R John Dowling, Bob Stanard and Andy Harrison. (D0291CB)

The work, which is a mock-up of a piece of art which will be 18ft long by 8ft high, was put on display this week at a shop unit at the Frenchgate Centre, to mark the start of a crowd funding appeal to pay for the structure.

On one side of the piece of stone, a six foot figure of a miner will be depicted in bronze. One the other side, a number of busts of real miners who worked in the local collieries will placed inside small alcoves.

Miners walk to their last production shift at Rossington colliery. L-R John Dowling, Bob Stanard and Andy Harrison. (D0291CB)

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The display also includes depictions of a number of the busts which have already been created and which will be included in the final sculpture.

The sculpted heads will also include those of a former coal industry nurse and a miners' grandson.

Jo McQuade, a miners daughter herself, was this week explaining the memorial to visitors to the display.

Jo, culture business manager for Doncaster Council, is of mining stock, with her dad having worked at Askern Colliery.

Jo McQuade, miners daughter and local government officer, with a model of the proposed Doncaster mining memorial

She said: "We really want to capture our mining heritage and are working with international artist Laurence Edwards to do that. Laurence has been out to community groups and speaking to lots of individuals within our community in Doncaster to capture their stories, and then on the back of that he's gone out and had 18 one to one interviews with people. In that time, a two hour slot, he's made a bust of their head.

"Each of the people that you can see, we also have videos of their stories and they represent a rich seam of coal and the stories of our miners and their families. There are miners and their children in there as well and Joan Hart, a pit nurse, telling her story."

Fund raising started this week, and more than £30,000 has already been pledged, mostly from a personal pledge from her own money from elected mayor Ros Jones, who is also a miners daughter.

The Free Press is backing the plan through our Miners Memorial Campaign.

Jo McQuade, miners daughter and local government officer, with a model of the proposed Doncaster mining memorial

The planned sculpture is intended to be placed in the Waterdale area, although the final site in that area will go out to consultation nearer the time of its construction.

Fundraising will be run over four months, and is due to come to an end on October 26.

Residents who visited the exhibition on Monday were pleased with the work.

Maureen Harrison, aged 75, of Adwick le Street, had a grandfather who worked at Bentley Colliery, and another relative who died in a mining disaster at the colliery. She also had uncles who worked at Brodsworth Colliery.

She said: "I'm from a mining family and I think the monument looks good. The miners worked hard for a living. When I look at the mock-up monument I feel quite proud. I think my granddad would be really proud."

Kate Hughes, aged 47, from Stainforth, is not from a mining family, but said she knew a young boy whose face was being including in the memorial, as a grandson of a miner.

She said: "I think it's brilliant - I love it. The boy on it calls me auntie, his granddad was a miner and his mum did soup kitches during the strike. I'm really looking forward to seeing the monument in place."

Kate's daughter Kelsey Hughes, aged 22, also like it. She said: "I don't know much about Doncaster's mining history, but I think it looks good. It might inspire me to find out more."

Alan Ogden, aged 84, said his father, Jack, had worked at Bentley and Yorkshire Main collieries.

He said: "He was a horseman at Bentley. He had a hoof print on his arm from when one of them had kicked him. Then in 1942 he was injured when the coal face fell on top of him at Markham Main. Apparently it took six to eight people to lift it off him.

"Then in 1945 he was hit by a big steel ring, which broke his femur. It was dangerous work.

"I think the monument looks good, but I wish my dad had lived to see it. He died in 1979 but he would have been have been really proud."

Jack's granddaughter, Lynne Penketh added: "Granddad Ogden always said he didn't want any of his boys going down the pit - he was adamant. But is is about time that we had something to show respect to our mining heritage, and I certainly hope they raise the money."

Betty Rynn's husband, Robert, worked at Markham Main Colliery. She said: "I like it, and I think Robert would be proud."

The exhibition, called A Rich Seam, will be open from 9th July to 4th August, 10am – 4pm (closed Sundays) in Unit 78, Ground Floor, Frenchgate Shopping Centre, Doncaster.

The exhibition also marks the launch of a Spacehive crowd funding campaign to raise the £130,000

Log onto https://www.spacehive.com/mining_doncaster to pledge a donation.