23rd March 2018
Symbolising 200 years of iron and coal extraction
A giant wheel, which once stood proud at the entrance to Silverdale Mine, has been rescued, restored and returned to public display at Silverdale Country Park.
Measuring 3.3 metres in diameter and weighing about 5 tonnes, it was an impressive sight to Silverdale miners arriving for their shift at the end of Kent’s Lane. After 20 years of neglect and deterioration through rust action, it is now on view again at the western end of Silverdale Country Park, next to Silverdale Athletic Club, at the Scott Hay entrance.
When Silverdale Mine closed at Christmas 1998, local miners dragged the wheel to a compound where it languished on its side unseen for 20 years, as the new Heritage Park housing estate was constructed around it.
The wheel’s origin is still something of a mystery. One resident remembers a plaque which read ‘’Dedicated to the miners of Silverdale’’ by the Bishop of Lichfield – but this has not survived.
In 2016 Silverdale Parish Council launched an initiative to rescue the wheel. With the help of £12,955 from Red Industries Landfill Communities Fund and £1,000 grants from Staffordshire County Council’s Local Community Fund and Tesco Bags of Help, the Parish Council was able to appoint Horsley Huber Architects to manage the restoration. This was subsequently delivered by Longton firm, Kettle & Talbot Ltd, supported by the Land Trust, Groundworks UK and Silverdale Athletics Football Club.
Sarah Palgrave-Neath, estates manager with the Land Trust charity which owns the ex-colliery country park, said: “It is fantastic to see this historic wheel back on site where it belongs. It is very evocative of the area’s past and I am sure visitors will be thrilled to see it. Many congratulations to Silverdale Parish Council for making this happen.”
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