Ceremony as mine memorial unveiled in South Yorkshire

The unveiling of a memorial, the old pit wheel, at the former Silverwood colliery site in Thrybergh. Believed to be the oldest surviving former-miner who worked at the pit, Cyril Hodson, 93

The unveiling of a memorial, the old pit wheel, at the former Silverwood colliery site in Thrybergh. Believed to be the oldest surviving former-miner who worked at the pit, Cyril Hodson, 93

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A rich seam of memories came flooding back for former pitmen when a monument was unveiled at the site of South Yorkshire’s former Silverwood Colliery.

Among the guests was the oldest surviving miner who worked at the pit, Cyril Hodson, aged 93.

The ceremony began with brass band music before the memorial was unveiled by Rotherham Mayor Coun Dave Pickering.

Thrybergh, Dalton and Ravenfield Parish Councils clubbed together to create the memorial to miners who worked at the pit and those who lost their lives there.

One of the worst incidents in the mine’s 94-year history happened in 1966 when two trains - one packed with workers and another carrying equipment to the coal face - collided underground.

Ten men were killed and a further 29 injured.

The memorial, which cost £10,000 to create and incorporates the colliery’s original pit wheel, was unveiled to coincide with International Workers’ Day.

A spokesman for the parish councils said: “The first shaft at Silverwood was sunk in 1900, with coal production commencing five years later.

“The pit was visited by King George V in 1912 and in 1975 Queen Elizabeth II visited the 220-metre deep coalface and was presented with a freshly cut piece of coal.

“Silverwood Colliery closed in 1994, bringing to an end over 90 years of coal production.”

After the colliery closed, its seams were worked from Maltby Colliery, which also shut earlier this year.

There is now just a single working pit in South Yorkshire, at Hatfield, near Doncaster.

For more than a decade after Silverwood closed, reclamation was carried out on the spoil heap.

After the work finished in 2006, the tip was grassed over and the Forestry Commission planted tree saplings. The former slurry lake was turned into a freshwater nature reserve.