Tuesday, 4 October 2011

News - Memorial unveiled to miners who died at Bilsthorpe pit

A memorial to miners who died at a Nottinghamshire colliery during the last century is being officially unveiled later.

The eight-foot sandstone Davy lamp was created in recognition of those who died at Bilsthorpe pit between 1927 and 1997.

Carved into the sculpture are the names of 76 men and one woman.

The £14,000 project has been paid for by the county council's Local Improvement Scheme.

Bilsthorpe Heritage Society Chairman Trevor Goodman, who worked at the colliery, said: "When the mine closed and was knocked down, there was nothing left to say we've ever had a mine in Bilsthorpe.

"There's never been a monument to remember all the men who were killed, and unfortunately we did lose one woman."

'A lot of research'
The possibility of a memorial was first raised more than three years ago after a headstone was dedicated to 14 men who died in 1927 when a pumping system collapsed down a shaft.

"It's been a long process to gather all of the information because that was hard to come by so there was a lot of research having to be done to find out all of the names," said Mr Goodman.

"Then it was a question of funding and we were very lucky that Nottinghamshire County Council have a group called the Local Improvement Scheme, and they took us on, been with us throughout and financed it."

The Davy safety lamp on which the sculpture is modelled was devised in 1815 by Sir Humphry Davy after a group of Newcastle miners told him of the dangers they faced from methane gas.

The lamp's flame burned with a blue tinge when flammable gases were present and extinguished if oxygen in the air dropped to dangerous levels.

The Bilsthorpe memorial was due to be unveiled by Patricia Jennings, whose uncle died in the first disaster, and Paul Smith, a miner who survived a later disaster.

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