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Last Updated: Friday, 17 February 2006, 06:30 GMT
Symbol of mining is pulled down
Ellington winding tower
Ellington winding gear tower will be sold for scrap
One of the last symbols of the North East's former coal mining heritage disappears forever on Friday.

Demolition will take place of a 90ft steel tower at the former Ellington Colliery in Northumberland.

The colliery, which was the region's last remaining deep mine, closed a year ago after the pit flooded.

On Friday, one of Ellington's headgear towers, which held the winding gear which lowered men into the pit, will be demolished and sold for scrap.

Owner UK Coal said it was forced to end production at Ellington for safety reasons and 300 miners lost their jobs.

Resumed production

The colliery was sunk between 1910 and 1913.

At the outbreak of World War I, the workforce was 800, but this soared to 1,200 in 1921 and to an all-time high of 2,179 at the time of the 1984 strike.

It was closed by previous operator British Coal in 1994, then taken over by UK Coal, which was then RJB Mining, and resumed production in January 1995.

Number one and three shafts have been filled. Number two shaft is being left open for monitoring purposes, to check on water and gases.

The National Union of Mineworkers maintains reserves within the mine could be retrieved.

But UK Coal has said safety concerns mean the site could never be reopened.




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