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mickypotts

Miners Killed In Bedlington Pits

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cracking ideas keep them coming and maybe Malcolm can help us out.

What you think Malcolm

I think first of all we need to be clear of what the intention is. Is it a brass plaque or something else to commemorate local mining fatalities?

If we are talking about a plaque, I have recently priced some up for the Gallagher Park project and they aren't that expensive! Brass or anodised aluminium type finish? Would have to be fairly succinct with the script mind! If I remember correctly up to 8 lines or we are talking a bespoke engraving.

Next where to put it.

Just as a matter fo info.......we are about to see some upgrades to Gallagher Park with a large gateway feature. (Certainly a connection there to mining.) Plus with a bit of luck we should soon see the bandstand and that area at Attlee Park upgraded. (Venue for the old Miner's picnics.) Not sure I can connect a building in the town with mining so the likes of a plaque would be fitting?

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Okay everybody, I know you are going to think this isn't viable but it isn't a joke and I think it could work, so here goes.

Let's have a monument, like the one they've just erected down at the Furnace Bank - the metal sphere.

Now I know you are all groaning about the price - well it COULD cost us nothing.

Let some representative to this project go public - ie Press, TV and other media. Tell them what we would like and tell them we need big companies to get behind us and use their work force - stipulate 'apprentice' workforce to do the work as part of their NVQ training. It will be a monument to their skills and devotion as well as to the miners who died. Approach companies who deal in steel, iron, whatever. (Alcan-Rio Tinto??) who are closing down or who have a mass of metal that they no longer need; hell, even approach scrap yards if you have to. Then approach universities and colleges who have art students. Tell them we need trainee sculptors or metal workers who are willing to take on this project. Then approach schools and ask the kids to design this monument - which will be picked by representatives of the old mining community.

GO PUBLIC WITH THIS.

Tell people what our wishes are and ask and beg for help. It is for a good cause - miners gave their lives for this community. The publicity these 'volunteer' organizations will get will enhance their prestige in the community, especially if the public see they are freely donating time and effort and goods. If they are willing to GIVE us the materiel and the work force then we can achieve this.

I know this sounds crazy - but it CAN work. Cheers.

Edited by keith lockey

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Don't see why it couldn't work Keith but it would need someone to drive it.

You volunteering and not to be too cold blooded but your personal story would get it media attention I would think.

I like the pic Vic put up WYSWYG, nothing ambiguous there.

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It is a good idea Keith and worth doing.

I was thinking last night about the memorial. I think when you look at the whole picture Bedlington is the place for a single memorial in memory of those who lost their lives working for coal.

We had the Northumberland Miners Picnic held here on numerous occastions and they came from every colliery for that. So yes, Bedlington should be the place for this memorial.

You dont need one in every village, just one splendid memorial erected in Bedlington itself would be all that is needed.

You could also include memorial garden too for people to sit and maybe have a few thoughts of loved ones.

Yes Keith, your idea too is good.

I think we have actually got it right and it should be moved on to another level.

Why not form a memorial committee and then it can progress.

Comments welcome

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After considering the Lone Ranger's post ("is it not sick posting about miners being killed in the collierys the time i worked under ground there was 4 killed .it is not a nice thing to talk aboutâ€) my view has been reinforced that all oral history must be discussed and recorded. If those who have a direct link with historical episodes aren't able to share their experiences with a wider audience then the 'accepted' history will remain incomplete. Whilst I wouldn't dream of making any direct comparisons with the Holocaust, our understanding of it is much more complete because of the direct testimony of those who suffered. If we aren't able to fully discuss the results of mining accidents and their impact on families then the history of the industry becomes sanitised – it also erases the part played by those miners who died. My view is we should do all we can to keep their memory alive. There's nothing left of the pits, no reminders to the young of what was here apart from Disneyesque theme-parks with their saccarined explanations.

I like the idea of some sort of memorial but would suggest its location to be somewhere more 'public' than Gallagher Park. It needs to be seen daily by the most people so my suggestion is at the top end of Front Street; this location has the added bonus of ensuring the memorial is safe (safer) from metal theives and other yobs intent on damaging it. Other here have suggested involving a wide group of contributors for the project. It really does need to start with a Steering Group consisting of a mix of interested locals, including Bedlington politicians (Town Council perhaps). I think KeithL has suggested a number of good embryonic ideas but I maintain that it should be creatively led by student/staff from the Art Faculty at the Toon University or by a Northumberland based sculptor to ensure a considered design (not something school kids could deliver IMO) – the scheme could be launched as a competition ... a sure way to generate media attention. I would however, resist the idea of just putting a plaque on a tub - I'm not sure that would be an appropriate memorial to those who died or were injured.

Engineering firms would get involved if the scheme was properly managed and creatively led simply because of the good publicity it would generate for them. Having the thing professionally engineered would ensure that it didn't look tatty, something that might happen if it was made from 'found' materials (scrap).

Edited by Symptoms

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Well said Symptoms,

I only wonder how political correctness could cloak any well thought out designs if any councils or the like are involved, I just thought that if the Miners still around with us and their kin were centered around the ultimate design concept it would give tribute to them as well as those unsung thoasands who are not.

The Market cross is a revered part of our town and so should this memorial be.

ps. dont understand LR,s point wanting to bury and forget history for those who lived it.....

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I would definitely suggest the Market Place, for me it is the heart of Bedlington, it has room for it without causing a hazard or disruption.

FWIW our small park also has our Cenotaph, a Inukshuk and Town Insignia "Rocky the Ramâ€

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Sorry I have not replied sooner, it's been a hectic day and it doesn't look as if it is going to get any better.

Anyway, thank you for all your remarks, there have been some brilliant responses. Bear in mind what I proposed was just a suggestion. Symptoms is absolutely correct about many points - it was embryonic. It's the way I do things - look at what is needed and keep it basic. If such a project is to go any further we would have to work out who and what is necessary for it to succeed. As Malcolm said, the picture of the statue that Vic put up is something I would go with. I think that is poignant and representative of the requirements for a miner's monument. Which brings us to what we would need to accomplish this. For the statue itself we would need a designer and engineer, depending on the size. Health and safety is always an issue, what materials should be used. (That would come down to the sculptor/designer.) I also believe university-led artists should be in the forefront of the project but I would reiterate the use of apprentice students and 'engineers' to emphasize involvement of youth in a scheme that is remembering a past time. My first thought was involving a lot of people; in hindsight that may be difficult and not constructive. If we put such a project up for tender we would become bogged down in selection. So, yes, Symptoms has a way of solving this, approach A university; one who is willing to take on the project at all levels. Newcastle or Northumbria University would have all the requirements - students in design, art and engineering. They could also involve a history department, maybe. So I think that would be the best way to approach this - one university with all the staff at hand.

I'd appreciate your thoughts on this.

PS - Mickypotts. You started this thread, how would you like to lead it?

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Just wondering, what do you think would represent the coal mines and lost souls? depending on the size and location I see the winding gear, (did it have a pit-yacker name?) tubs (betty's) and pit pony, pick,n shovels. Draeger gear.

Our memorial is a miner setting a prop (so I'm told!) his cap lamp is illuminated. On April 28th there is a very well attended service for "Workers memorial Day†which is internationally recognised.

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Sym wrote:

"It really does need to start with a Steering Group consisting of a mix of interested locals, including Bedlington politicians (Town Council perhaps)."

Once a Town Councillor signs up to support a scheme like this they have register that interest and withdraw from any discussions regarding, for the sake of argument, matters which might relate to the likes of small grant funding to kick start it!

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Just wondering, what do you think would represent the coal mines and lost souls? depending on the size and location I see the winding gear, (did it have a pit-yacker name?) tubs (betty's) and pit pony, pick,n shovels. Draeger gear.

Our memorial is a miner setting a prop (so I'm told!) his cap lamp is illuminated. On April 28th there is a very well attended service for "Workers memorial Day” which is internationally recognised.

I think the miner's lamp is very symbolic, Vic. Not only is it a visual representation of life in the mines but it could also be seen as a metaphoric ideal - a light in the darkness - It would be great if we could have a life-size statue of a miner carrying a lamp and leading a pit pony - right outside Tesco's where the Christmas tree normally stands. The 'Nail' a couple of yards beside it.

Is it possible to create a life-size statue out of actual coal nuggets?

Edited by keith lockey

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Keith,

I really don't want to rain on your parade but I think you need to learnt to walk before any sprinting. Get the basics covered first. Nowt wrong with ambition, just temper it with a bit of reality.

I tried to get a large miners lamp for the top of the heap in Gallagher Park and I wanted it solar powered so it lit up at night! Thats how I know there isn't anywhere for funding and I even asked our MP, given his previous job.

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Keith,

I really don't want to rain on your parade but I think you need to learnt to walk before any sprinting. Get the basics covered first. Nowt wrong with ambition, just temper it with a bit of reality.

I tried to get a large miners lamp for the top of the heap in Gallagher Park and I wanted it solar powered so it lit up at night! Thats how I know there isn't anywhere for funding and I even asked our MP, given his previous job.

Runaway train, Malcolm, but point taken. But I also said at the outset that we could maybe do this without funding. Approach a university and ask them to come onboard using trainnee artists and designers and engineers as part of a - I hate this phrase - 'work experience' project. The publicity generated by such an undertaking would be reward enough. It would be a challenge to the staff and pupils; a challenge for a worthy cause.

But i agree with you about a steering group or a representative. Someone in some authoritve capacity has to start the ball rolling. A Miner's Memorial Committee or something.

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But I also said at the outset that we could maybe do this without funding. Approach a university and ask them to come onboard using trainnee artists and designers and engineers as part of a - I hate this phrase - 'work experience' project. The publicity generated by such an undertaking would be reward enough. It would be a challenge to the staff and pupils; a challenge for a worthy cause.

But i agree with you about a steering group or a representative. Someone in some authoritve capacity has to start the ball rolling. A Miner's Memorial Committee or something.

I have made enquiries to set the ball rolling in that direction Keith.

Actually something like this is probably better run by interested volunteers rather than a jobs-worth. It would get far more attention!

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What about asking for help from the local councilor. I have heard that they get a sum of money (like for funding) and they put it into the community in what ever way they want. I now know of a councilor who has done that localy very very close to Bedlington.

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Any political representatives MUST only have links with Bedlington. Councilors from District or County level may highjack the scheme with the memorial ending-up in Ashington.

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Any political representatives MUST only have links with Bedlington. Councilors from District or County level may highjack the scheme with the memorial ending-up in Ashington.

I agree with Symptoms on that.

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To kick this scheme off I will donate the domain name: www.thebedlingtonminingmemorial.org

I have just registered this ... in a way to safeguard the scheme from being nicked (see my earlier post) and it also puts down a marker that the idea for a memorial started on our Forum.

If and when a Steering Group is established I'll transfer ownership of the domain name as a donation (FREE); it'll then be up to that group to arrange the design of website and organise hosting. I could promise here to create a 'holding' website but I don't really have enough time.

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Leading the campaign would not be feasible for me since I live in the US but I am glad to help in any way possible, and yes Symtoms has it dead right, keep it for Bedlington by Locals and for locals,

The miner with his helmet lit and maybe a lit miners lamp in the market place with maybe a tub and a pony would be a dramatic image at night time, imagine at Christmas with snow on the ground...........

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As for making it out of coal................... how long before the Yobs put a light to it!!!!!

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