A small village in Northumberland has paid tribute to its mining heritage by installing a unique piece of street art as a permanent reminder of the village’s origin in the industrial revolution.
The village of Linton Colliery owes its existence to the (then) Ashington Coal Company, which first sunk a shaft at Linton in 1894. Coal production began in 1911, changing the face of the once rural village. Originally three, later five Rows of miners’ houses were built. Eventually, small shops, a school and a village hall became part of the community.
At the height of its production, Linton Colliery employed 2,710 men producing around 45,000 tonnes of coal per week.
With changing times and like many other mines in the area, the pit at Linton closed in 1968.
Now the village can remember its proud mining past with a bespoke piece of sculpture that will be a permanent memorial to Linton’s heritage. It remembers the part Linton played in supporting the nation through two world wars and the ensuing economic recovery.
Heather Wallace, chair of the Linton Colliery Community Group explained: “Many people living in Linton are former miners or their descendants, but many new families have moved into the village unaware of our rich heritage. The Community Group wanted a permanent reminder of Linton’s mining past and so we commissioned this distinctive memorial from a local company, which has family links with Linton.
“As well as celebrating the history of the pit, we are also honouring the thousands of men and women who worked above and below ground at Linton Colliery. Over the years, some 53 lives were lost in a variety of accidents down the mine and we felt it was important to acknowledge their sacrifice.”
The 6ft high cast iron sculpture, depicting a miner pushing a tub of coal along rails, was unveiled by local County Councillor Liz Dunn on Thursday, 7 April in a short ceremony attended by local people, many of whom brought their memories of mining life in Linton. Cllr Dunn said: “Linton Colliery is one of the few pit villages around here not to have its own mining memorial – and today all that has changed. The Community Group has done a great job in assembling the funding and commissioning the sculpture. This is a wonderful moment for Linton and its residents, finally putting a dramatic reminder of Linton’s heritage right where everyone entering the village can see it.”
Linton Colliery Community Group has held a number of local fundraising events and a contribution to the cost has also come from Northumberland County Council via Cllr Dunn. A major part of the cost has been borne by Blyth Bespoke Fabrication, who have designed, built and installed the memorial.
Mrs Wallace added: “It’s over 50 years since the mine closed but it has lived on in many people’s memories. Today, I’m delighted to say we have a lasting monument that will take Linton’s proud mining heritage into the future.”