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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 May 2006, 09:08 GMT 10:08 UK
Call for mines to be put on maps
pit head and miners
MPs believe pits are part of the country's heritage
A campaign has been launched by MPs calling for disused pits to be marked on Ordnance Survey maps.

The group of nine has signed a motion calling for former pits to be recognised in the same way as other archaeological and historical sites.

The campaign led by MP for Blaydon Dave Anderson is being backed by former miner Barry Chambers, who worked at Blackhall Colliery, in Durham.

He said life down the pits was harsh but they brought prosperity.

He said: "It was gruelling work - some said it wasn't work, it was toil. At Blackhall pit miners would be choking with dust and drowning in the water - it was a very wet pit and that is what eventually closed it.

"There is no chance of pits in Durham being re-opened and maybe it is because of this that they are not marked.

"Old battlefields are on maps even when there isn't much to see at the site and I believe mines should be marked or the memories will be lost forever - we need something tangible."

Coastal walkway

Former miner, Mr Anderson, said mines were every bit as important to the country's history as battlefields and cathedrals.

He said: "I worked down Horden Colliery for 20 years and I believe the contribution that the miners made to this country over hundreds of years should be marked in every possible way."

Mr Chambers added: "The mines employed a lot of people, and provided prosperity - at one time they were the backbone of the country.

"From Hartlepool to Seaham along the East Durham coast there are plaques along the coastal walkway to commemorate the mines and I think tourists would be delighted to read these even if the pits are gone."

Other MPs to sign the Commons' motion include David Clelland for Tyne Bridge, Stephen Hepburn for Jarrow and Sharon Hodgson for Gateshead.


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