'˜We want our wheel back!' - campaign launched to return Sunderland mining landmark from Washington
A councillor has joined forces with residents to launch a campaign to bring a pit wheel home.
Coun Phil Tye has started a drive to bring the original pulley wheel from Silksworth Colliery back to the village.
Residents and heritage groups have been trying to find the original pulley wheels for many years so that a lasting memory of the pit can be erected in Silksworth.
Coun Tye, who is also the chair of Silksworth Residents Association, recently discovered that one of the pit wheels is based outside of the shopping precinct in the Albany area of Washington, and he is calling for it to be brought back to Silksworth.
He said: “I was totally shocked to find our pit wheel in Washington.
“It has long been thought that the wheels from the pit had been scrapped and we never thought for one minute we would find them so close to us.
“We urge the people of Albany to allow us to have our pulley wheel back.
“Many pit villages have a lasting memory including our neighbouring pit villages, and it is time for Silksworth to have the pulley wheel returned in preparation for the 50th anniversary of the closure.”
Coun Tye – whose father worked at Silksworth Colliery – has long supported the bid to commemorate the pit and pay respect to the 125 men and boys killed during its time.
Other groups including Silksworth Heritage Group and Silksworth Banner Group, along with local councillors, have been trying to identify the location of the pulley wheels for a number of years.
The pulley wheel which was used from 1968 until its closure in 1971 has a plaque which identifies it as being from Silksworth, Sunderland.
A campaign has now been started on social media and a petition has been launched in a bid to ensure that the wheel is returned.
Peter Shields, the secretary of Silksworth Banner Group, said: “It is fantastic that Phil Tye has been able to locate one of the pulley wheels after over 40 years of the wheels being missing.
“We are going to be actively part of the campaign to ensure the wheel is rightfully returned to Silksworth and we urge Sunderland City Council to assist us with this.”
People can get involved with the campaign by contacting Silksworth Youth and Community Centre, on Tunstall Village Road, Silksworth, where a copy of the petition can be signed. or by calling 0191 523 8000.