Crowds see huge new memorial mining sculpture unveiled in Doncaster

A huge new sculpture commemorating Doncaster’s mining heritage has been unveiled.

By Darren Burke
Monday, 6th December 2021, 8:53 am
The new mining sculpture in Armthorpe.
The new mining sculpture in Armthorpe.

Crowds braved wet and windy weather to gather in Armthorpe yesterday for the official unveiling of the sculpture which shows miners hard at work and pays tribute to those who lost their lives at the village’s Markham Main Colliery during its history.

Created by sculptor Ian Randall from copies of tally discs – the tokens used by miners for head lamps for going underground – the sculpture was revealed by former miner Dennis Nowell as well as Mayor of Doncaster Ros Jones and Doncaster Central MP Dame Rosie WInterton.

Spokesman Chris Brodhurst-Brown said: “It was a great day for our community - several hundred people braved the rain to see the statue unveiled in the Miner’s Memorial Garden.”

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Visitors inspect the new statue closely.

Doncaster Council ward councillors for Armthorpe. Tim Needham, Sue Knowles and Aimee Dickson were also in attendance, while Markham Main Colliery Band provided music.

Added Chris: “The people loved the statues straight away -you could feel them taking them to their hearts. As soon as they could, they pored over them looking for the checks representing their loved once, living and departed.

“The statues were universally admired and I think it’s fair to say that no other village will have anything like it.”

Opened in 1916, Markham Main Colliery was one of Doncaster’s biggest and most productive pits, employing nearly 3,000 workers during its heyday.

The new sculpture is in the Miner's Memorial Garden.

A focal point of the 1984-85 Miners’ Strike, it finally closed in 1996 despite a lengthy fight to keep it open.

87 miners lost their lives at the pit during its 80 year history.

Former miner Dennis Nowell addresses the crowd.
Sculptor Ian Randall with miner Dennis Nowell.
Visitors braved wet and windy weather for the unveiling.
The sculpture has been created using tally check discs.