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The Miner or The Anderton Mining Monument, St Helens Linkway, St Helens

A Grade II Listed Building in Town Centre, St. Helens

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.4477 / 53°26'51"N

Longitude: -2.7326 / 2°43'57"W

OS Eastings: 351443

OS Northings: 394794

OS Grid: SJ514947

Mapcode National: GBR 9XCK.6T

Mapcode Global: WH875.0L2T

Entry Name: The Miner or The Anderton Mining Monument, St Helens Linkway, St Helens

Listing Date: 19 January 2016

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1431463

Location: St. Helens, WA9

County: St. Helens

Electoral Ward/Division: Town Centre

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: St Helens

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Merseyside

Church of England Parish: Parr Mount Holy Trinity

Church of England Diocese: Liverpool

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Summary

Sculpture. 1964 by Arthur Fleischmann, commissioned by Lord Robens, Chairman of the National Coal Board, bronze cast by John Galizia & Son Ltd, Battersea.

Description

Sculpture. 1964 by Arthur Fleischmann commissioned by Lord Robens, Chairman of the National Coal Board, bronze cast by John Galizia & Son Ltd, Battersea.

MATERIALS: bronze bust, steel cutting drum, fibreglass lump of coal and spiral screw base, both coloured bronze.

PLAN: free-standing sculpture of head, shoulders and arms of a miner set on a column formed of a steel cutting drum on a spiral screw, raised on a plinth and high, square pedestal of railway sleepers*.

DESCRIPTION: the statue is sculpted in a heroic and monumental manner, depicting a realistic bronze bust of a miner’s head, shoulders and raised arms holding a large lump of coal above head height. The miner wears a mining helmet with attached light, and his physical strength is shown by the muscles of his unclothed body. The bronze bust is set on a column divided into two equal parts by three circular discs. The upper part is formed by a steel cutting drum; the lower part is formed by a bronze-coloured spiral screw of fibreglass. The statue now stands on a high, square pedestal formed of railway sleepers standing on a railway sleeper plinth*, which is a later C20 addition.

*Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 ('the Act') it is declared that the modern railway sleeper pedestal and plinth are not of special architectural or historic interest.

History

‘The Miner,’ also known as the Anderton Mining Monument, was commissioned from the sculptor Arthur Fleischman by Lord Robens, Chairman of the National Coal Board, in 1964. The sculpture was intended for Anderton House then being built in Lowton, Lancashire, as the headquarters of the North Western Division of the National Coal Board. It marked the invention of the Anderton Shearer Loader, a cutter loader machine which revolutionised the industry in the 1950s. The shearer loader was first used in 1952 at the Rushy Park seam at Ravenhead Colliery in St Helens. It was then used at Cronton Colliery in St Helens and Golborne Colliery, Leigh, Lancashire and was soon being used throughout the world.

Fleischmann visited Agecraft Mine near Pendlebury, Salford to obtain ideas for the commission. The resulting sculpture depicts the bust of a miner set on a cutting drum. The miner was initially modelled upon the colliery manager. Anderton Shearer Loaders used water sprayed over and around the machines to dampen down coal dust and it is likely that watching this process suggested to Fleischmann the idea of a rotating fountain. He turned a cutting drum through 90 degrees to enable the diagonal blades to spin round a vertical axle which also formed part of the column on which the bust stood. The steel cutting drum was a genuine industrial component; the miner was bronze, cast by John Galizia & Son Ltd, 36 York Road, Battersea, London; the lump of coal was modelled in fibreglass, coloured bronze, as was the spiral screw which formed the base. The sculpture was installed at Lowton in July 1965, where it was formally unveiled by Lord Robens.

Ravenhead Colliery closed in 1968, having exhausted its workable reserves. In 1988 Anderton House was closed and The Miner was moved to the Coal Board’s Eastwood Hall, Nottingham, in 1989. It was eventually moved to St Helens in December 1998 and installed in its present position on a roundabout close to the former location of the Ravenhead Colliery. At this time it was placed on a new high pedestal of railway sleepers and no longer operated as a rotating fountain.

Arthur John Fleischmann (1896-1990) was born in Bratislava, formerly known as Pressburg, then in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and now the capital of Slovakia (officially the Slovak Republic). He qualified as a medical doctor in Prague in 1921, whilst also studying sculpture. He then rejected a career in medicine in favour of teaching and working as a sculptor. He travelled widely, living in South Africa, Bali (Indonesia), where he converted from Judaism to Catholicism, and Australia, before moving to London in 1948 where he settled for the rest of his life. Fleischmann worked in a wide variety of media, developing innovative techniques with Perspex.

Reasons for Listing

The Miner, also known as The Anderton Mining Monument, of 1964 by Arthur Fleischmann for the National Coal Board, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Aesthetic quality: unusually for British post-war sculpture The Miner has a Socialist Realist aesthetic which imbues the sculpture with a heroic and monumental quality appropriate to its theme of physical labour;

* Materials: the sculpture is an innovative montage combining an actual industrial component, the steel cutting drum of an Anderton Shearer Loader, turned on its side to form a column supporting a fine art bronze bust of a miner’s head, shoulders and raised arms, holding a large lump of bronze-coloured fibreglass coal above head height;

* Historic interest: Arthur Fleischmann conceived the sculpture as a celebration both of recent technological advances in coal mining with the development of the Anderton Shearer Loader, which revolutionised the industry worldwide, and the physical strength of the men who worked in the mines, a combination of man and technology upon which the country’s industrial economy relied;

* Contribution to the public realm: originally commissioned to enhance the public space outside the National Coal Board’s North Western Division headquarters in Lowton, Lancashire, the sculpture now stands in St Helens where it acts as an important reminder of the pioneering role of the local Ravenhead Colliery in developing the Anderton Shearer Loader and of a notable local industry which has now gone.

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