Mining tribute planned at site of new housing estate

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A five-metre-high memorial to Pontefract’s miners could be built to the entrance of a new housing estate.

Ackworth artist Harry Malkin has been commissioned to create the structure, which will be of a mine shaft cage containing several silhouetted miners.

Harry Malkin, the Castleford miner turned artist.

Harry Malkin, the Castleford miner turned artist.

It will also light up on an evening.

If given planning approval, it will be built at the entrance of the new housing development off Park Road in Pontefract at the former Prince of Wales Colliery.

The idea stemmed from a consultation with the local residents about the plans for the hundreds of housing, to which the applicant, Harworth Group, agreed.

Harry Malkin, a former miner himself who joined an art group during the strikes of 1984/85, has already made a number of such memorials, including the sculpture at Allerton Bywater.

The idea has been on the drawing board for the past four years but the 68-year-old hopes it will now become a reality.

He said: “It’s been a long process, these things usually are, but hopefully things will be starting to move on shortly.

“The sculpture at Allerton Bywater was based on a cage and Harworth liked the idea.

“It will be made of corten steel and stone, the stone work has to be done before the metal work so it can fit together. We are talking months of work.

“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.

Planning permission was granted for 917 homes on the site in 2013.