Steel sculptures create lasting tribute to miners

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ONE hundred larger-than-life steel figures are to be created on the site of a former colliery to honour mining heritage.

The £188,000 scheme, called ‘Walking Together’, is to be created at the former Markham Main colliery site near Bolsover, which is being regenerated as a flagship business park.

The project, to be created by artist Stephen Broadbent, is to honour 97 miners who lost their lives in two Markham mining disasters, in 1938 and 1973.

The procession of figures will symbolise the walk to and from the pit-head by miners.

Each two-metre-high figure will carry mine tags commemorating the thousands of local people who earned their living working in the mines.

And the tags will trigger a different piece of information - interviews with local historians, accounts of mining disasters, and maps of tunnels running beneath the feet of visitors - delivered by video, audio and the written word.

They will be accessible on apps and weblinks accessed through mobile phones and handheld devices.

Mining ended at Markham Colliery in 1993 after 111 years of coal production.

Derbyshire County Council is investing £77m in the site, now known as Markham Vale, with the long-term aim of creating around 5,000 jobs.

Coun Kevin Parkinson, Derbyshire County Council cabinet member for regeneration, said: “We’re committed to making sure Markham Vale provides employment for generations to come and this artwork will celebrate its proud past.

“Almost every family in the surrounding area will have someone who earned their living from the pits and the artist will be working closely with the community to involve them.

He added: “We want to create a tribute which brings together mining experiences and is enjoyable and educational for visitors and schoolchildren.”