Birch Coppice Miners Memorial is officially unveiled
18 April 2012
A new memorial bearing the names of more than 1,000 people who worked at the Birch Coppice, Wood End and Birchmoor Collieries was officially unveiled today.
Former miners and local dignitaries attended the opening of the memorial which is located at the entrance to Birch Coppice Business Park, the site of the former Birch Coppice mine which closed in 1987 after 100 years.
The memorial is the idea of North Warwickshire Borough Councillors, Pete Morson and John Winter, who themselves worked at the collieries. Last year they appealed for names of former workers and relatives of deceased miners and received an overwhelming response, with people from as far away as Spain and Australia getting in touch.
The names have now been engraved into a brick wall surrounding a 10ft high monument that has been crowned with a replica of the famous Davy lamp. Bench seating has been built around the monument and the Davy Lamp becomes illuminated at night.
The unveiling ceremony was led by Cllr Pete Morson and Kevin Ashfield, Development Director of IM Properties, which owns Birch Coppice Business Park and has funded the memorial with a £50,000 donation.
Cllr Morson said: “We are delighted to unveil the Birch Coppice Miners Memorial, it is a fitting tribute to all the people who worked at the Birch Coppice, Wood End and Birchmoor Collieries.
“We have been amazed at the number of people who have got in touch with names as well as stories and old photos from the pits.”
Kevin Ashfield added: “Coal mining was once the bedrock of the local economy in North Warwickshire and Birch Coppice helped sustain the wellbeing of the local community for over a hundred years, so IM Properties is very pleased to mark the site with a link to the past.
“This area has reinvented itself as a prime centre of logistics, distribution and generated over 3,000 jobs, ensuring the Birch Coppice name lives on and continues to be a factor in the economic welfare of the region.”
Anglo Holt Construction operations manager Alf Pople said: “We were delighted to be able to work alongside IM Properties to build this wonderful memorial. We have been involved with the company since activity began on the site of the Birch Coppice Business Park more than 11 years ago and it is testament to our excellent working relationship that we are still involved today. I’m sure that the memorial will be appreciated and enjoyed by former miners and their families for many years to come.”
Following the ceremony, the memorial will be open to the public every day of the year, and visitors are encouraged to call into the Birch Coppice Marketing Suite and fill in the official signing-in book.