Shining a light on pit heritage

Feature on Markham Vale light show
Feature on Markham Vale light show

TREASURED scenes of a mining past will be beamed on to landmark buildings in a spectacular event this weekend.

Memories of the former Markham Colliery are to be brought back to life when 6,000 giant images illuminate Staveley Town Hall and Bolsover Castle.

Voice recordings of local people also narrate the tale of the former pit, now a major regeneration site, in their own nostalgic words.

“We’ve got wonderful stories from people who told us how they felt going down the pit shaft,” said Peter Walker, project co-ordinator for artist collective externalGalleries.

“Some wanted to remember their jobs, others were talking about how the area had changed, for many it was the first time they’d spoken about these subjects.”

Derbyshire County Council led the innovative project, co-ordinated by externalGalleries, to record the site’s old use as a colliery entwined with the lives of many.

More than 1,000 people – including several generations of families – took part by donating photographs and more.

Photographs that feature in the shows, called The Gathering, were collected at community events in Bolsover, Duckmanton, Staveley, Arkwright and visits to local schools.

Peter added: “The aim was for us to go in as a blank canvas for the community to paint a picture of this mining past.

“The events, if it’s dry, are perfect for bringing a fold up chair or blanket to watch this collection of stunning images and the voices of local people narrate the story of Markham Colliery through their own eyes and memories.

“We hope all generations will come along and enjoy.”

For more on this story, and extra pictures, see this week’s Derbyshire Times.

•To take a trip down memory lane attend the free light shows at: Staveley Town Hall, tomorrow, Friday October 21, and Bolsover Castle on Saturday October 22.

Gates open from 5.30pm, with the show from 6.30-8pm. For more details visit Share your memories of Markham Vale by emailing

By Ellen Beardmoreúk