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Markham Colliery - Menu

Names of those who died 1938 Names of those who died 1973

19 November 2012 - A new artwork called 'Walking Together' is to be built in a £188,000 scheme. It will provide a walking tour of Markham's mining heritage in the form of 100 steel figures on a route through the site, symbolising the walk to and from the pit head by miners. We want former miners and their families to share their memories to help shape an exciting new artwork on the site of our flagship regeneration scheme.

Some Memories

Joseph Henshaw
I remember the day the cage went down - it was during the school holidays and there was a hell of a commotion at the station as opposed to the normal ringing of various bells etc. so it was obvious something serious had happened. Years later I was on a training course in Wales.
Another delegate was an ex-mining engineer who had been involved in the investigation following Markham. According to him the winder's manual braking handle had sheared, and the drum's emergency stop was incorrectly wired preventing this working either.
These devices would not have stopped the cage plummeting to the pit bottom (the result of the failure of the other safety devices) but would have reduced the consequential damage that led to so much other stuff falling
a) down the shaft and
b) being rocketed up the shaft wrecking the winder and winding house.
The winder operator just had to wait, unable to do a thing. Understandably, I don't believe he was able to work again. Another account (amongst other horror stories) tells of the bottom deck of the fallen cage being only 18" high when recovered.

David Anson - Sun 12/10/2003
I was in the Derby County and Borough Constabulary as a lad and was on traffic patrol (radar speed check unit) on the day of the Markham accident and we were sent to the area to cover for those local officers who were needed at the scene and to deal with relatives etc. The atmosphere of communal grief around Markham was palpable. As I say, we were only peripheral to events, but it is something that has stayed with me ever since - seeing how everyone pulled together. I doubt you would ever get such a feeling in any other type of community.

Ross Sharp - Sat 23/11/2002
Just a snippet of information for you about the 1973 Markham disaster. My father lost a cousin in the cage, Charlie Palmer. I can confirm that the windingman never spoke again. We were a Codnor/Ripley/Golden Valley mining family, (on both sides); my father, Edwin 'Ted' Sharp, working at Brittain and other pits. He started as a boy, working ponies, and then clipping tubs on, eventually becoming a steelchecker. He left the pits after developing chronic conjunctivitis. My elder brother, Michael, was employed at the No. 5 Area Laboratories, Eastwood, on air analysis. Two other uncles, Herbert 'Bill' Frost and Peter Nicklin, were union stalwarts.

My uncle Walter Sharp, was the very last person to work on the Ormonde Colliery site. After recovery of machinery, and capping of the shafts, he was employed as a nightwatchman, complete with Alsatian, a very friendly bitch called Bess**, who might have licked intruders to death!

Sadly, all my uncles and Dad are long gone, and I now live in the U.S.A.

Just to let you know the mentioned Charlie Palmer in the article by Ross Sharp wasnt killed in the cage in the 1973 Markham disaster but was killed in the Feb of 1974 in a collapse at Makham.he was my father.if it is possible to contact Ross Sharp please do so as I have a photo of his father as a child with my grandad.
Gavin Palmer

Bess the Alsatian was Charlie Palmer’s dog, we had her daughter Megan and Bess’s brother was Monty.

Maureen Taylor

(Read My Mother's Memories of Golden Valley - (An Extract) By Doris Una Ball (Nee Palmer))

Pam Eley (nee Sharp)
06 January 2006
Response to Ross Sharp

Dear Sir
In response to the e-mail from Ross Sharp. I am his cousin and my father was Walter Sharp (mentioned in the e-mail). Some of the information posted is inaccurate. My father was one of the last men employed on the site but there were three of them who worked in shifts over a 24-hour period, he was not a night-watchman. His companion was not an Alsatian bitch called Bess but an Alsatian dog called Jason who was also a beloved family pet. He was entered in dog shows under the name 'Jason of Ormonde'. My father worked at Ormonde for 39 years and also served as Union Secretary. We still live in Codnor but my father passed away in 1995.

Hope this is useful, your website is very interesting,

Pam Eley (nee Sharp)