Move being lined up for monument to former mine

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A NEGLECTED monument to a former mine is set to take centre stage in a proposed educational project.

Plans are being drawn up to have the coal tub monument at Newbiggin commemorating the dozens of lives lost at Lynemouth Colliery restored and moved to a more prominent location.

Alan Thompson, county councillor for Newbiggin Central and East, told last week’s meeting of the town council that a grant is being sought from the Heritage Lottery Fund for the relocation of the monument from Oakwood Avenue to Woodhorn Road.

Once moved and restored, the memorial, to be mounted on a granite plinth, would form the centrepiece of a project giving youngsters in Newbiggin the chance to learn more about their community’s history, the meeting heard.

It is hoped that a more central location would make the monument, currently covered in graffiti, less of a target for vandals and encourage residents to take more pride in their town’s past, added Coun Thompson.

The bill for the project, drawn up by Newbiggin Colliery Residents’ Association, would be expected to come to about £3,800.

The proposed new location is close to the former colliery manager’s house in Woodhorn Road on the old rail line along which coal was carried in tubs from the pit head to the screens.

The pit, open from 1911 until 1967, employed 1,400 men in its heyday.

Durham Mining Museum has records of 45 miners being killed there over the years, but it believes that list to be incomplete.

The monument’s current location, on a side road, is relatively remote, leading to it being rarely seen by townsfolk or visitors and a frequent target for vandals.

Town council chairman Rebecca McCready said: “It’s in an absolutely disgraceful state of repair.”

The residents’ association believes the coal tub is worthy of a more prominent location as it is part of the history of the Newbiggin coal-mining community and ought to be seen more often, the meeting heard.

Planning consent is not required for the switch of sites, the council has confirmed.