The Severn Valley Country Park is a revitalised landscape following reclamation from a miniming landscape of Alveley Colliery. In a previous post, I explored the commemoration of people at the Country Park. Yet the former industry, and the revitalisation itself into a haven of biodiversity, are both commemorated too via memorials, material cultures and art at the Country Park.
Previously for Alyn Waters, Hafod and Ty Mawr country parks in Wrexham county borough, and Loggerheads in Denbighshire I’ve discussed how ruins, art and memorials can be part of the revitalisation of the landscape following industrial activity, and mediate its remembrance.
Commemorating Industry at the Severn Valley Country Park
Mining material culture is a direct means of memorialising industrial activities. By the visitor centre, at the Severn Valley Country Park, there is a mine car and an hydraulic chock.
I’ve encountered trucks used in commemorative industrial contexts elsewhere, as previously discussed for Loggerheads. and also Minera. The mine car was used to take the mined coal to loading onto wagons for conveyance to the pit bottom, as well as to convey them onwards up the shaft for emptying. The hydraulic chock, populated now with a bee hive when I visited, was used to support the roof at the coal face. Both are donations by the Joy Mining Company to the Shropshire Mines Trust to in turn have loaned them to the Country Park.
Another part of the Country Park that I didn’t visit, has a memorial incorporating a pit head wheel – a common theme in mining commemoration. I’ve discussed the use of this form elsewhere, including the Gresford Mining Disaster Memorial.
In this instance, fragments of industrial material culture, even if not specifically from the site (as in the case of the hydraulic chock), connect past and present in a tangible and enduring fashion.
Commemorating Nature and Industry at the Severn Valley Country Park
Complementing the commemoration of industry is the commemoration of the succession of industry through reclamation. As might be expected, a part of any country park is to foster and celebrate engagement with the natural environment. A fascinating series of wooden sculptures in the park combine birds and bugs with allusions to the industrial past of the landscape.
So as at Ty Mawr and Alyn Waters, country parks not only provide a space for commemorating the dead, but also commemorating industry and nature in forging connections between past and present.