Remembrance and Celebration: Markham Colliery 1882 – 1993
‘Walking Together’ – a mining memorial artwork by artist Stephen Broadbent.
Broadbent Studio has been commissioned by Derbyshire County Council to create a memorial public art feature for the Markham Vale Industrial and Business Park. The park is being developed on the site of the former Markham Colliery and the local authority, developers and community representatives are working together to recognise and commemorate this significant history.
A design concept for the memorial is now in place, developed by experienced public realm artist Stephen Broadbent, with guidance from a community working group. The ‘Walking Together’ artwork will see over a hundred steel figures symbolising a miner’s journey to the pit – and back home again. This trail of walking figures will connect Duckmanton with the heart of the new Markham Vale industrial area.
The artwork will boldly cut through this dramatic industrial landscape; a ‘desire line’ will be created for visitors to re-imagine and remember the lives of all miners, and in particular those who lost their lives for their work. The ‘Walking Together’ figures represent the 106 miners who were killed in the three major disasters, which occurred at Markham in 1937, 1938 and 1973.
Historically, there were many routes to Markham Colliery from many different communities, but the route which has been planned for the ‘Walking Together’ artwork, and which we hope will symbolise all of these routes, connects the village of Duckmanton through the motorway underpass, to the Markham Vale Environment Centre. The route was developed by artist Stephen under guidance from a group of former miners and pupils from nearby schools. Along this route, four larger clusters of figures will help establish new landscaped areas, with associated planting and seating, creating an enhanced ‘sense of place’ for workers, for the local community and for visitors. These special areas will also allow for personal reflection, and greater interpretation of the site’s history. At other areas along the trail, the figures will serve as way-finders and markers.
“Markham’s three significant mining disasters must be remembered, but it quickly becomes clear that we must not forget the many other tragic mining deaths and significant injuries, and indeed the remarkable sacrifice all miners made to help build this nation’s prosperity. We believe the memorial also needs to convey a sense of celebration; of an important job well done; of a unique time and place; and a community’s spirit and resilience.” Stephen Broadbent, Artist.
To date funding has been secured to install 34 figures at Markham with names chosen by the community working group or selected by business or community sponsors and we have more installations planned. We have 106 figures to deliver in total.