Memorial to Pontefract miners is approved for housing estate

A permanent memorial to Pontefract’s miners will be built at the entrance of a new estate after planning permission was granted.

Friday, 6th December 2019, 10:58 am

The five-metre-high steel structure of a mine shaft cage complete with silhouetted miners will be put in place at the housing development off Park Road - the site of the former Prince of Wales Colliery.

The plans were given the backing of Wakefield Council’s planning department, who said: “The council acknowledges the benefits of the scheme, which seeks to provide overall environmental and landscaping improvements in this area, as well as seeking to commemorate the coal mining history at former colliery.

“This is fully supported by the council and is an appropriate form of development in principle, in this location.”

The idea to create the sculpture has been ongoing for several years after a consultation with residents when the housing plans were first submitted in 2013 for hundreds of homes.

The applicant, Harworth Group, agreed and commissioned Ackworth artist Harry Malkin.

A retired miner himself, Harry joined an art group during the strikes of 1984/85 and went on to make other memorials, including the sculpture at Allerton Bywater.

He said the structure at Pontefract will be made of corten steel and stone and will take months to complete. It will also light up at night.

Artist Harry Malkin.

He previously told the Express: “It’s nice for us to be able to reflect on mining, what we used to do, because it seemed that everybody around here used to be a miner.

“And it shows that were weren’t neanderthals just scraping about in the earth.”

The Prince of Wales Colliery shut in August of 2002 with the loss of 500 jobs and bringing 140 years of mining at the site to an end. It was producing around 1.5 million tonnes of coal up to its closure, and at its peak, employed 2,200 people.”