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Former mine owner to declare landmark open

Date Published : 18 May 2006

Brownhills miner

A landmark 30 foot high statue of a miner installed by Walsall Council is set to be declared open today.

The Brownhills Miner has been placed at the junction of High Street and Pelsall Road in Brownhills.

The five tonne worker in 19th century workers costume which stands arms outstretched has been created with the help of Brownhills people as part of a Walsall Council campaign to improve key routes into the borough.

Thousands of motorists a day are being greeted by the stainless steel statue as they enter the borough of Walsall from neighbouring Staffordshire.

Brownhills resident Alan Jones will declare the statue open at noon as part of a civic opening. Mr Jones and his father George operatedthe last pit on Brownhills Common whichwhen itstopped mining for goodin the 1950s brought to a close 300 years of mining tradition in the town.

Music at the opening event will be provided by the Brownhills Community School.

Councillor Alan Paul, Walsall Council’s Brownhills Local Neighbourhood Partnership chairman, said: “The Brownhills Miner has turned people’s heads and attracted a lot of very favourable comments.

“We’ve had a lot of people coming to Brownhills just to look at our statue which is great. The North East may have the Angel of the North but we’ve got the Brownhills Miner.

“I’m delighted that Mr Jones has agreed to open the statue as he represents a strong link to the history of mining in the town.

“It’s a key aim of Walsall Council to build pride in the borough and this statue certainly celebrates our past but is also very forward looking.”

Funding for the £70,000 project has been made by the Walsall Borough Strategic Partnership and Walsall Council.

Doug Birch, who is a member of the Brownhills local committee as well as Walsall Council’s Local Neighbourhood Partnership said that reaction had been positive.

He said: “A lot of people are very pleased about this statue which is great to hear. I worked in the coal industry for 43 years on the Cannock Chase coal fields and this means a lot to me.

“There is three welcomes with this statue. It welcomes people to Brownhills, to the borough of Walsall as well as to the Black Country.”

The piece was made by artist John McKenna with Walsall Council’s creative development team working closely with the community over the design and location.

Material made in the Black Country was included in the finished item with Walsall Wood firm Goldcup Plant Hire helping install the piece.