The workers of the Whitworth Colliery lived and worked perpetually in the darkness of the mines. They had never been above ground partly because all access had been blocked by concrete shaft caps many years ago when the place was landscaped for the building of ‘Diggerland’ Yorkshire.
Miners blindly burrowing like moles in their tunnelling machines boring laboriously through the rock. Construction workers of the air balancing hods of bricks and girders on their shoulders, laying foundations and burying piledrivers below. Generators and cement mixers dotted at strategic locations where they would precariously land dangling rebar and steel cable in their arms, their full weight on a single carabiner.
Places such as these I like to refer to as ‘memoryscapes’ for their ability to layer history, sandwiching precise times, dates and events with others later. These developments that have been constructed or built on older architectural sites I like to view as those where you can see a multitude of imagery one upon another. Through my sculpture and as an approach to the environment I am in as well as towards public art I am attempting to portray this through my work. The site at Patching’s Art Centre where the ‘Breaking Ground’ sculpture trail is located was itself once the neighbour of a colliery next door, the coal carriages in the car park left as a gift now forming the base of my piece.