A stone’s throw from the Dickie Bird statue, also crafted by local sculptor Graham Ibbeson, is the tribute to the 1866 Oaks colliery disaster. The incident claimed the lives of 361 miners when firedamp caused huge explosions in the shafts.
The sculpture depicts a woman carrying a child after hearing news of the explosions. Coal flows from her back, a reference to the fossil fuel being the backbone of the industry. Around the edges of the sculpture, a miner works and a relief displays the circle of life for a mining generation. On the plinth, it simply reads “Oaks Colliery Disaster 1866.”
The sculpture was unveiled in 2017 and was paid for largely through public donations and fundraising. Ibbotson crafted the sculpture free of charge because his family had a rich mining history. In fact, one of his own ancestors died in the disaster.
Know Before You Go
There are plenty of car parks and on-street parking is close to the statue, which is situated just beyond the outer walls of the church, just across from the Dickie Bird statue.