Retired miners hope to rescue neglected pit wheel monument

The pit wheel at Wheldon Road in Airedale, Castleford, has fallen into disrepair.
The pit wheel at Wheldon Road in Airedale, Castleford, has fallen into disrepair.

A group of retired miners are looking to rescue a pit wheel monument that has been neglected and fallen into disrepair.

The wheel, on Wheldon Road, has been affected by “constant” flytipping, greenery has overgrown, and a mound of soil has been placed in front of it.

Coun Alex Kear.

Coun Alex Kear.

The miners want to see the wheel moved 200 yards down the road to miners’ memorial at the former Wheldale Colliery and say they will look after the upkeep.

Airedale and Ferry Fryston councillor Alex Kear, who won his seat in May local election, said plans are in place to move the wheel and he has been working with the group to get the project completed.

He said: “The soil has been put there to avoid travellers moving in but you can’t see the wheel as result, it’s not pride of place where it should be.

“The memorial site further down the road is the right place for it. Miners have died and that is something that should be commemorated.

“We have a lot to thank these people for so to not show respect doesn’t sit well.

“It’s right to pay tribute to an industry that was the heartbeat of the community and the biggest empire in the area.”

He said plans had been in place for several years to move the wheel but it remained in its current location.

Mr Kear added: “When the pits closed it took the heart out of the community.

Families were all on the same track with something in common and the closures fragmented the community. It affected Castleford and everyone in it.

“That’s why this is more than just a wheel – it’s part of our cultural heritage. It’s what made us and the area wouldn’t have existed without the pits.”

Wakefield Council has been approached for comment.

A dedication ceremony was held earlier this month for the for a recently-restored pit wheel in Stanley.

The wheel, to mark the former Newmarket Silkstone Colliery, was placed in the corner of the yard at St Peter’s Church, next to Aberford Road. The pit, which shut in 1983, is on the site of where NewCold storage now stands.

Stanley councillor Matthew Morley said restoring a wheel in the village had been a dream since he was first elected.