Allerton Bywater colliery was the last pit in the Leeds district to close.
That was in 1992. All remnants of the life of a coal mine that was the economic bedrock of a typical Yorkshire mining community have been erased. Where the pit wheels dominated the skyline there is now a modern housing estate.
In the year it closed the pit had more than 1,000 miners and made an operating surplus for the country of £9.9 million.
Its closure, like that of almost 200 in Britain's coalfields, symbolised the economic insanity and political vindictiveness of a Tory government hell-bent on wrecking one of Britain's key industries, its workforce, its communities - and most importantly its union, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).
This was the punishment inflicted upon workers who had dared to stand up against the Tories in the 1984-5 miners' strike against pit closures.
Though the colliery is gone, the community remains. This week it will honour the memory of men and boys killed in accidents at the colliery with the unveiling of a memorial as close to the pithead as subsequent building allows.
The memorial is an obelisk created in the shape of the pit cage which lowered men up and down the quarter-mile-deep mine shaft.
The cage was a strange affair, a remnant of the pit's early days in the 1800s. It was a double-decker, but the bottom deck was small, only 4' 6" deep - less than one-and-a-half metres.
Clive Cowell, the last NUM branch secretary at Allerton Bywater and one of the driving forces behind the campaign to create a memorial, said: "We realised it dated from the time that young boys - virtually children - were sent underground. That was their part of the cage."
When the lower age limit for mining was raised, men instead had to stoop in the cage's shallow lower deck.
On the four sides of the obelisk are pit scenes created by sculptor Harry Malkin, himself a former miner from Fryston colliery which was just a few miles away. The sculptures, which were fired in a local brickworks, depict scenes from mining life in the village.
One is of men fixing roof bolts, a system of securing the millions of tonnes of rock over the miners' heads.
Another is a Doscoe - a modern coal-ripping machine. The third is men in the pit cage, crouching on the lower level. And on the fourth side are the people of the mining community marching behind their union banner.
Cowell researched the history of deaths at the pit. Studying the records, his work uncovered a strange fatality at another Yorkshire colliery.
The list of deaths gave the name of a boy, then his age - "less than 12 months."
"What was a baby doing underground, even in Victorian times?" he said.
"Then we realised. Women worked as miners in the 1800s. A woman miner had had a baby, but going back to work she took the baby down the pit with her. It was killed there."
The memorial will also honour the unknown thousands of Allerton Bywater miners who died as a result of industrial diseases contracted through working underground, such as the lung condition pneumoconiosis.
For 18 years from 1979 to 1997 successive Tory governments resisted attempts by NUM Members of Parliament and the NUM to have it recognised as an industrial disease whose victims merited compensation from the industry.
Tory government reports were even prepared by civil servants calculating how much money was being saved each year through blocking recognition, based on the numbers of miners who would be unable to make a claim because they had died.
Why has it taken 20 years since the pit closure to get around to creating a memorial?
Cowell said: "Soon after the pit shut, one of the miners said there should be one. But within a year of the pit closing he took his own life."
The idea was put aside. It was taken up by Cowell and others associated with the pit a couple of years ago. They launched a fund-raising drive - £30,000 was needed for the ambitious project.
They had small pin badges created in the effigy of a miners' lamp, in red and gold, bearing the words "Allerton Bywater Colliery Miners' Memorial." Sales were gradual, but when the £5 badges received local and national press publicity orders poured in in their hundreds.
"They had to send the mail round in sacks," said Cowell. "And my house was busier than the corner shop with people coming and going. I had to get my daughter in to help. We could reply to about 50 a day."
Since the closure Allerton Bywater's NUM branch banner has had pride of place behind glass in the foyer of Leeds Civic Hall.
It will be brought out for the day and will head the march. An earlier branch banner, kept on display at Northern College in Barnsley, will also return to the village for the march and the unveiling. So will the new banner of the Women Against Pit Closures Movement (WAPC) accompanied by campaigners Anne Scargill and Betty Cook. It made its first public outing at the Durham Miners' Gala in July this year.
The unveiling day on Saturday September 8 starts at 1pm with a march from the village's Brigshaw High School to the former pit-head, where there will be a platform and speakers. In addition to the Allerton Bywater NUM and WAPC banners, taking part will be the banner of the closed down Allerton Bywater Workshops branch of the NUM, and the banner of Kellingley colliery - one of only two pits still operating in Yorkshire.
The names of the 87 men and boys killed will be read out as part of the ceremony.
For more information visit the former colliery's website at www.abcminersmemorial.co.uk
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