Miners' memorial officially unveiled in Burnley

A poignant memorial wall containing the names of the 327 men and boys who lost their lives working in Burnley's coal mines has been officially unveiled.

Mayor of Burnley, Coun. Mark Townsend, and Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham unveil the memorial
Mayor of Burnley, Coun. Mark Townsend, and Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham unveil the memorial

The wall, which was erected in Place De Vitry Sur Seine in front of the Central Library some months ago, was officially unveiled at the weekend by Mayor of Burnley Coun. Mark Townsend and Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham.

A committee of former miners came up with the idea for the two metre-high and three metre-long sandstone wall honours the 'bravery and toil' of the miners who worked and often died in the 16 pits which dotted the Burnley Coalfield decades ago.

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A time capsule was also installed installed inside the monument and an information board erected.

Honouring miners whose time down the pits dates back as far as the 1830s, the memorial also harks back to the crucial role mining played in Burnley's emergence as one of the world's largest producers of cotton cloth during the Industrial Revolution.

Burnley MP Mr Higginbotham said: "It was a privilege to be present at the unveiling of the Miners' Memorial wall outside the library over the weekend. And I want to congratulate the Burnley Miners' Memorial Wall Committee and everybody involved for organising this fitting tribute.

"Burnley, Padiham and Hapton have a proud history of coal mining and it’s important that we not only remember the contribution it made to the development of our borough but also those who lost their lives working in our local pits. This memorial will mean that those who tragically lost their lives will always be remembered."

Coal mining was a perilous job, with miners as old as 80 and as young as seven recorded as having died in truly gruesome ways down the pits in circumstances including explosions, roofs collapsing, being crushed by barrels, falling down shafts, being suffocated, getting entangled in machinery, and being scalded to death.

The Hapton Valley Pit Disaster was the area's worst mining tragedy when in March, 1962, an explosion led to the deaths of 16 men and boys.