Ex-miner MP Dennis Skinner unveils memorial to killed pitmen

REST IN PEACE -- MP Dennis Skinner at the opening ceremony for the new mining memorial in Clowne, commemorating men who lost their lives.
REST IN PEACE -- MP Dennis Skinner at the opening ceremony for the new mining memorial in Clowne, commemorating men who lost their lives.

Veteran Labour MP Dennis Skinner has unveiled a new mining memorial in Clowne to commemorate the men who lost their lives at the village’s former Southgate Colliery.

Mr Skinner, a miner himself for more than 20 years, is the son of a pitman who was sacked after the General Strike of 1926. Three years later, Southgate pit closed because of a severe flood after claiming the lives of 39 men through various accidents since opening in 1877.

The memorial consists of a renovated mining tub, originally used to transport coal, a board containing information and photos of the mine and a plinth honouring the killed workers. The plinth was built with bricks from the original screening room at the pit, which were discovered by the project’s sponsor, Penny Hydraulics Ltd, of the Station Road Industrial Estate, which now occupies the old Southgate Colliery site.

The company’s boss, Robin Penny, said: “Many of our employees, including myself, are ex-colliers, so we are delighted to support the memorial, which will ensure the importance of Clowne’s mining heritage is not forgotten.”

Mr Skinner was joined at the ceremony by members of the community and other supporters of the project, including local firms Capital Refractories and Derim Steels.