Prior to the discovery of coal and the opening of the colliery in 1819, Burradon had been a farming hamlet. The advent of the industrial revolution and the demand for increasing quantities of coal to satisfy industry’s insatiable appetite, Burradon Colliery continued with its unrelenting expansion with the sinking of a second shaft in 1837.
The colliery with its promise of work attracted miners to mine the coal and new customs and traditions developed with the bonds of family and friendship forged in the heat of the mine and in the community. The miners life was based on the ethics of hard work and honesty. The harsh reality of working underground in the mine with its hazardous conditions created a deep and unique sense of camaraderie which served the village for generations.
Following the closure of the Colliery in November 1975, the very essence of the village was permanently altered, regrettably, there was no memorial erected to remind future generations of the village’s unique industrial and social heritage.
The Burradon & Camperdown Forum(“The Forum”) decided to remedy this injustice and issued an appeal for any information relating to the location of the winding wheels from Burradon Colliery, which hopefully would be incorporated into a memorial in the heart of the village. To the relief of the Forum members, Mrs Rena Allan responded to the appeal and advised that her late husband, Ken(blacksmith at Burradon Colliery) had recovered one of the winding wheels during the demolition of the colliery.
The wheel was situated at the premises of the Holywell Mining Company Limited and Mr Little, company director graciously agreed to return the wheel to the village.Jim Cowan, North Tyneside Council’s Waggonway’s Officer, constructed a plinth and supervised the installation of the wheel to complete the memorial.
The Rt Hon Stephen Byers MP officially unveiled the memorial during a dedication ceremony held on 10 June 2000, attended by former miners and local residents.