A stunning memorial to those who lost their lives down the last colliery pit in Leeds will be unveiled on Saturday. (Sept 8)
The monument to the brave men and boys who died toiling at Allerton Bywater Colliery, which closed in 1992, has been put in place near the old pithead.
After a long effort to raise funds for a fitting tribute, the memorial in the shape of a pit cage will go on display.
The pit cage, which was just 4ft 6ins deep, was used to lower men up and down the quarter-of-a-mile shaft into the pit.
Clive Cowell, the last NUM branch secretary at Allerton Bywater who has helped spearhead the drive for a memorial said: “We realised it dated from the time that young boys - virtually children - were sent underground.
“That was their part of the cage.”
On each of the four sides of the monument are scenes created by sculptor Harry Malkin, who was a former miner at Fryston Colliery.
The scenes depict mining life in the local pit village including men fixing roof bolts and men in the pit cage itself.
The memorial unveiling comes after a huge fund-raising drive to raise the £30,000 needed to make the project a reality.
Pin badges shaped like a miners’ lamp were created in red and gold, bearing the words “Allerton Bywater Colliery Miners’ Memorial.”
Sold at £5, orders for the badges quickly came flooding in.
Mr Cowell said: “They had to send the mail round in sacks. And my house was busier than the corner shop with people coming and going. I had to get my daughter in to help. We could reply to about 50 a day.”
The unveiling day on Saturday September 8 starts at 1pm with a march from the village’s Brigshaw High School to the former pit-head, where there will be a platform and speakers.
As well as Allerton Bywater NUM and WAPC banners, the banner of the closed down Allerton Bywater Workshops branch of the NUM, and the banner of Kellingley colliery - one of only two pits still operating in Yorkshire will be on show.
The names of the 87 men and boys killed will also be read out as part of the ceremony.