The team at Edward Howell Galvanizers Ltd has helped create a lasting memorial in honour of a local colliery which closed over 50 years ago.
A commemorative sculpture was created as part of a programme of events held to mark the 50th anniversary of the closure of the old Alveley colliery in Shropshire and the end of coal mining in the Severn Valley. The memorial is now installed in Alveley Severn Valley Country Park along the route of its dedicated history trail and in the exact spot the old spoil pit used to be located.
The idea for the monument came from 84-year-old Ray Matthews who joined the pit straight from school in 1952, working his way up through the ranks to Assistant Mechanical Engineer – a position he held until he left in 1968 – the year before the colliery formally closed. Ray is a member of Alveley Mining and Heritage Group which organised the memorial’s official unveiling ceremony in October last year.
Ray himself fabricated the sculpture, which sits within a circle of bricks representing the top of the mine shaft itself. The core feature of the piece of artwork is an Ormerod cage detaching hook which was a safety device which prevented the mining cages being overwound when being brought back up to the pithead. The detaching hook was kindly donated to the Heritage Group by the team at the Big Pit National Coal Museum in Torfaen, Wales.
A plaque on the sculpture reads: ‘Dedicated to the men, women, and boys who worked at Alveley and Highley collieries. This detaching hook is of the type used at both collieries and positioned here to mark fifty years since the closure of Alveley mine in 1969. MMXIX.’
Ray Matthews said: “Over 1,100 people worked in the mine at its peak, and this memorial is a fitting tribute to not only the colliery itself, but to all those who worked in it during its 30 years of operation.
“I’ve known Jim Lindsay and the team at Edward Howell for more than 20 years, and I knew they’d do a great job with galvanizing the memorial. Due to its size, it was initially thought that it may be too wide for the plant’s galvanizing bath – but the team took the challenge head on and made it happen!”
Jim Lindsay, Sales Manager at Edward Howell Galvanizers, commented: “It’s a real honour to have been involved in this project and to have supported Ray and the Alveley Mining and Heritage Group to create such a wonderful tribute to all those who worked in the mine. Galvanizing the memorial will mean that it’s protected for many, many years and will ensure residents and visitors to the area are able to view it in all its glory for a long time to come.”
Wedge Group Galvanizing Ltd is the largest hot-dip galvanizing organisation in the UK with a history dating back over 150 years. With 14 plants strategically placed across the country, the firm offers a truly national galvanizing service. For further information please contact Wedge Group Galvanizing on 01902 630311 or visit www.wedge-galv.co.uk.