Giant miner sculpture to rise over Brownhills
Date Published : 11 May 2006
A landmark 30 foot high sculpture of a miner standing tall is set to be installed by Walsall Council.
Motorists will be greeted by the giant coal worker with a lamp in one hand and a pick in the other when they arrive in the borough.
The sculpture will be placed at the roundabout where the A4124 Pelsall Road and High Street A452 intersect in Brownhills..
The five tonne worker in 19th century workers clothing stands arms outstretched and has been created with the help of Brownhills people as part of a campaign to improve key routes into the borough.
The sculpture commemorates the miners who worked in the town across the three centuries before the last Brownhills pit closed.
Workmen will take two days to install the piece with a team of nine closing part of the road and using cranes to lower the two halves of the Brownhills Miner statue into place where it will then be welded together.
Funding for the £70,000 scheme has been made by the Walsall Borough Strategic Partnership and Walsall Council.
Councillor Alan Paul, Brownhills Local Neighbourhood Partnership chairman, said that residents had had a major say in the scheme.
He said: “This has taken more than five years to get off the ground and we are absolutely delighted with the end results. The people of the town are very much behind it.
“It’s a key aim to build pride and by celebrating the rich heritage we have we are doing just that.
“The Brownhills local committee have been closely involved and have had a major say in chosing the design.”
Cllr Paul said that he has a close affinity with the mining industry as he worked at Wyrley Number Three pit in Staffordshire for two years after he left school at 16 with Doug working for 43 years in the Cannock Chase coal field.
Doug Birch, who is a member of the Brownhills local committee and LNP, said, said that he thought that celebrating the community’s mining past would be popular.
He said: “Coal mining was very important in Brownhills. It’s a part of the fabric of the town and it’s people. This piece of art acknowledges that. It celebrates the past but is also forward looking.”
The sculpture has been made by artist John McKenna who has worked with Walsall Council on a series of schemes in the borough.
Artists made the piece in two main sections to allow it to be transported from north of the border.
The piece was made by first building a skeleton and then cladding it with British-made stainless steel including material made in the Black Country.
Welding work to complete the job will be carried out on the spot by the sculptor and two assistants.
A team of six from Goldcup Plant Hire of Walsall Wood will close one of the two lanes around the island from 9am to 3.30pm on both Wednesday and Thursday to allow the piece to be installed.