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Photos of Wigan
Photos of Wigan

Photo-a-Day Archive
Photo-a-Day Archive

Photo-a-Day  (Monday, 17th August, 2020)


Monument to the mining families of Wigan and district.

Photo: Dennis Seddon  (Sony DSC-WX200)
Views: 2,426

Comment by: w on 17th August 2020 at 02:28

Wuz tha graft be worth it?
with hands lass carved in coaI?
Thas spit as black as night time
blood sweat deep down shaft hole,
They've closed blood where you left it,
the pits they've stacked away,
the shafts are full of empty lamps,
of those who've gone away.
Thatcher came and took it ,
the witch has gone now too,
so stand proud men and women,
whats built began from you...

Comment by: Walt(Nth Yorkshire) on 17th August 2020 at 07:51

Dennis, beautifully clear photo showing a fitting tribute to the many mining families around Wigan. My late brother was a miner so was my dad and his dad before him, they all had the blue scars worn by all miners. my maternal granddad lost a leg in a pit accident, it was always a dangerous way to make a living. I have only ever been down the Mining Museum in Yorkshire, that was enough. Thanks Dennis, nice reminder of home !.

Comment by: Mick on 17th August 2020 at 08:28

Wouldn't you think somebody who cared about the hard work pit men and women did would get them two weeds out from the corners of the wall.

Comment by: fred on 17th August 2020 at 09:17

get a life moaning mick and put some good comments on about other peoples photo's instead of finding fault your never happy unless its one of your photo's .good one dennis

Comment by: Dennis Seddon on 17th August 2020 at 09:41

With his lamp swinging on his belt and his tay con and jackbit tin in his hand, this Wigan miner is ready for a hard shift dean t'pit.
The lad is a smaller version of the man and dressed accordingly.
The woman wears the trousers that so fascinated the Victorian Photographers. Over the trousers, she is wearing a "Brat" and she has a shawl around her head and shoulders in an attempt to keep the coal dust out of her hair. Surprisingly, many women preferred to work on the Pit Brow cleaning coal rather than working in the Mill where they considered the conditions far worse than the Pit!
It was a hard life either way.

Comment by: David Barker on 17th August 2020 at 09:45

Excellent photograph Dennis, my Dad worked at Alexandra pit and Dairy Pit, New Springs. He was in charge of fire safety equipment etc.

Comment by: Helen of Troy on 17th August 2020 at 10:34

Go on then Mick....

Comment by: Poet on 17th August 2020 at 10:56

I like these figures very much . Both a beautiful testimonial to the stoicism of those times but also a corrective to the current trend of blaming all the indiginous people of our country for every evil of the past . These folk , like most , exploited nobody .
A powerful verse too w , though I can't blame Mrs Thatcher for the industry's demise . Fossil fuel had simply had its day . Nowhere in the advanced west did it continue for long .
Does anyone really lament the passing of the days depicted by these statues ?

Comment by: Mick on 17th August 2020 at 11:42

Fred, they made such a fuss about building this statue you would think they would keep it and the surroundings in tip top condition.

Comment by: WN1 Standisher on 17th August 2020 at 11:47

Have trowel will travel :)

Comment by: Linma on 17th August 2020 at 12:02

My Grandad was a miner but I never knew him he died two years before I was born.

Comment by: Veronica on 17th August 2020 at 12:04

It's a marvellous sculpture and a wonderful tribute.. I still think there's something modern about the faces. I would imagine a more 'drawn, tired and care worn ' look could have been modelled for them. Just my opinion.

Comment by: TommyT on 17th August 2020 at 12:39

Good PIC Dennis.
The cynical side of is thinking how long before they are vandalised by mindless cretins.

Comment by: Enid on 17th August 2020 at 12:41


Comment by: irene roberts on 17th August 2020 at 13:13

The statue is magnificent and seems even better when you are standing in front of it. Well done and Thankyou to WHAMM, the wonderful group of people who organised this and raised the money for it and to all those who contributed in any way. Nearly everyone in Wigan would have had a family member who worked down the pit or on the pit-brow, or knew a neighbour or friend who did, and this is for us all and for those yet to be born whose great-grandparents dug for coal. They will not be forgotten.

Comment by: Gary on 17th August 2020 at 13:25

My Dad was at John pit, then Dairy pit (shallow and wet-rubber boots) then to North Staffs in 1955, returning three years later. North Staffs collieries very deep, white dust.
The memorial is similar to two in central Newcastle Upon Tyne - Dennis Seddon's description is excellent; the words "jackbit" and "brat" brought back memories.
In the NE it was "bait" and "pinnie."
The NE miners used the George Stephenson safety lamp, everyone else using the Davy version - hence the NE men referred to as "Geordies."

Comment by: Mick on 17th August 2020 at 13:46

Following a number of serious explosions on Monday mornings in North East coal mines due to pockets of flammable gas known as Newcastle Brown Ale Farts , Humphry Davy was asked by the Rector of Bishopwearmouth (near Newcastle) to find a means of lighting coal mines safely. In an intense period of work from mid-October to December 1815, Davy made various prototype lamps. The final design was very simple: a basic lamp with a wire gauze chimney enclosing the flame. The holes let light pass through, but the metal of the gauze absorbs the heat. The lamp is safe to use because the flame can't heat enough flammable gas to cause an explosion, although the flame itself will change colour.

The lamp was successfully tested in Hebburn colliery in January 1816 and quickly went into production. The introduction of the lamp had an immediate effect, decreasing the number of fatalities per million tons of coal produced enormously and also increased the amount of coal produced as it allowed miners to mine deeper seams of coal. In this way it made a fundamental contribution to the continuing industrialisation of Britain and to many other mining countries, during the nineteeth century.

At precisely the same time however George Stephenson, a mining engineer at Killingworth Colliery, was also working on the problem. He independently invented a remarkably similar lamp and soon the two inventors were locked in a bitter dispute over priority. Davy needed to differentiate his lamp from Stephenson’s and therefore claimed that his invention was the product of scientific research, despite there being very little science in it - indeed the only science in the lamp is the discovery (made independently by Davy, Stephenson and Smithson Tennant) that explosions would not pass through narrow tubes. Davy won this battle of words going on to become President of the Royal Society, while Stephenson went on to invent the first steam powered locomotive for the railroad.

Comment by: Cyril on 17th August 2020 at 14:21

Nice to see the monument displayed at last. I would say they are leaves blown into the corners and not weeds.

Comment by: Mick on 17th August 2020 at 15:18

No Cyril they are weeds, you can see them at the end of this video I made on the 2nd August


Comment by: Philip Gormley. on 17th August 2020 at 15:48

Dennis, What age would you give for the 'lad'?

Comment by: Walt(Nth Yorkshire) on 17th August 2020 at 17:32

Philip, the mining museum shows children as young as eight years old working alongside their parents down the pit. These children would work perhaps pushing the trucks or maybe opening and closing the doors that were used for ventilation often in total darkness for 12 hours a day six days a week. Fatalities were common, serious injuries were just part of the job. Thank goodness for the law change in the latter end of the 1800s.

Comment by: James Hanson on 17th August 2020 at 17:32

Mick, Newcastle Brown was created in 1927. The flame safety lamps had been around for a century before that.
"pockets of flammable gas known as Newcastle Brown Ale farts" indeed.

Comment by: Philip Gormley. on 17th August 2020 at 18:45

Thanks Walt. I'm still searching for the word that, in my opinion, best describes slave-masters. The monument seems to be well made.

Comment by: irene roberts on 17th August 2020 at 19:32

My Dad worked down The Maypole Pit in Abram at twelve years old in 1920, just mine months older than my grandson is today. Tomorrow is the 110th anniversary of the Maypole Pit Disaster in 1908 and we in Abram are lighting a lamp in our windows at ten past five tomorrow night, the time the explosion happened. We are all "linked" with a miner who live nearest to our house so that all 75 victims are remembered individually as well as en masse. My "linked" miner is a young man of 32 who lived round the corner from my house and probably had a young family to support. God Bless them all.

Comment by: Dennis Seddon on 17th August 2020 at 21:01

I think this monument is a pleasing tribute to all the men, women and children who worked in the mines of Wigan and district over many years.
Many thanks to WHAMM and all the other people whose hard work made it possible.

Comment by: James Hanson on 17th August 2020 at 21:40

In 1920, Irene, the school leaving age was 14 and no boys under that age were allowed underground.

Comment by: irene roberts on 18th August 2020 at 08:11

That's what my Dad told me and I have no reason to doubt him. I'm not disputing the fact of school-leaving age but I imagine some lies were told if a family needed money. or perhaps he worked above ground and I had assumed his work was down in the pit itself, but he worked at The Maypole at twelve.

Comment by: George (Hindley) on 18th August 2020 at 23:53

Mick, you're mistaken saying "Stephenson went on to invent the first steam powered locomotive for the railroad". That honour goes to John Blenkinsop.

Comment by: PeterP on 19th August 2020 at 20:07

Mick next time you go past the statue take some weed killer with you

Comment by: Bruce Almighty on 19th August 2020 at 22:19

- and drink it.

Comment by: Lynne on 30th August 2020 at 19:34

If all human life on Earth is wiped out and aliens visit Wigan, they'll be led to believe that the people portrayed by those statues are black people.

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