A fitting memorial to town’s heritage

MP Ian Lavery with 100-year-old William Mason at the pit wheel in Ashington. Picture by Keith Saint and Jason Henderson, of Ashington Camera Club
MP Ian Lavery with 100-year-old William Mason at the pit wheel in Ashington. Picture by Keith Saint and Jason Henderson, of Ashington Camera Club

A fully restored pit wheel has been given pride of place at the entrance to Ashington.

The wheel has been erected on Rotary Parkway, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Ashington following the sinking of the Bothal mine shaft in 1867.

It was unveiled by MP Ian Lavery, who was joined by William Mason who, at the age of 100, is believed to be the oldest living miner in the Ashington area.

Mr Lavery said: “The wheel will remind this and future generations of the significance of coal mining to the area.

“Ashington was known as the largest pit village in the world and the location, close to the Miners’ Chapel and the Colliery Heritage Trail, will act as a fitting memorial to over 300 men who lost their lives at Ashington Colliery.”

The Ashington Town Council project features shrub and tree planting, and it will be lit in the evening. A board provides information on the history of coal mining in the town.

It was funded by the town council with support from the town’s county councillors Brian Gallacher, Lynne Grimshaw, Jim Lang, Ken Parry, Mark Purvis and Tom Wilson.

Coun Stephen Fenwick, leader of Ashington Town Council, added: “The entrance feature will offer residents and visitors alike an excellent opportunity to reflect on the significance of coal mining both culturally and economically to the development of the town. It’s fitting that the wheel should be unveiled in 2017 as we work to build a brighter future for the town from a proud past.”

The principal contractor for the project was Brambledown Landscape Services Ltd and Frank Curry, managing director, said: “Brambledown were delighted to have been involved in this project and it is obvious that it means so much to the people of Ashington.”

The town council is grateful to the Northumberland National Union of Mineworkers and Northumberland County Council for their support, as well as Brambledown Landscape Services, Barry Mead Heritage Consultancy, Azure Charitable Enterprises and AK Lighting & Signs in developing the project.