Wigan Heritage and Mining Monument was formed when some members of the Wigan Local History and Heritage Group decided that the time was long overdue to honour the lives of the countless thousands of people who were involved in the mining industry over six centuries. Thousands lost their lives or were injured or disabled in helping to mine an estimated 750 million tons of coal, which added immeasurably to the wealth of the nation. Whilst there is no complete record of mine workings, it is known that there have been a total of over 1000 pits, large and small. One of the worst mining disasters in the world occurred in 1910 at the Pretoria pit near Westhoughton, when 344 men lost their lives. Our aim is to have a sculpture of a miner, a ‘pit brow lass’ and a young boy. The pit brow lasses of Wigan became famed through a series of postcards depicting their unique style of dress and their particular jobs. Young boys were also employed in dangerous jobs, until women and children were banned from all work at the pits. The work, though dangerous and exhausting, helped to create a close-knit community, and provided untold other jobs in associated industries. Today there is no trace of this once vitally important industry. We feel it is necessary to have a memorial in a prominent town centre location so that future generations can look at it and remember the bedrock on which the town flourished, and the countless people who toiled in arduous conditions for little reward.
WHAMM Registered charity number 1171275