Alveley Mining Heritage Tribute Event at the Severn Centre Highley

Report on the final tribute event to mark fifty years since the closure of NCB Alveley Colliery, formerly The Highley Mining Co. Ltd, closed 31st January 1969

This final event was generously supported by Halo Leisure, contributors, and so many visitors from near and far on Sunday 1st December. Thanks to all the staff at Severn Centre and to Mark and Kath who opened up Minor's Cafe especially for this occasion and Reverend Mike Harris who made time again to attend, despite his busy schedule, and take photographs and record events on the day.

Alveley Mining Heritage Group displayed all photographs, artefacts and memorabilia loaned or donated to the group over the last four years of this project. Ray Matthews was at hand to talk to visitors about the Cage Detaching Hook (CDH) Sculpture he made and conceived by members of the group, now situated at Severn Valley Country Park.

Visitors admired George Poyner's working model of an incline plane and The Granville Miners set up a display of their proposed memorial which they hope will be in place in Telford Town Park in 2020. Granville Colliery at Doddington was the last deep mine to close in Shropshire and many mine workers moved to Granville after the closure of Alveley. Granville eventually closed ten years later in 1979.


Reverend David Poyner opened proceedings with a prayer and George Poyner, former carpenter at Alveley, read out the names of the men who lost their lives there:

Loving God who lives amongst us, we remember before you all those who worked at Alveley Colliery and the other mines of this area. Most especially we recall those who suffered injury at the pit and whose lives were changed, those who suffered from coal dust and other diseases arising from their work and those killed in accidents. We pray for those who continue to mourn their relatives and friends and we name them aloud:
Bert Bliss
Charles Brewer
George Turner
Victor Bow
Samuel Halliday
Colin Prime
Walter Raab
Richard Watkins

We commend all these to your eternal mercy and protection. 

We give thanks for all friendships made at the pit and the comradeship that draws us, miners and their sons and daughters, grandchildren and great grandchildren together.  Make us worthy of their lives, that we might bring light and hope to this community. For the sake of your son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Pigeon Release

There was then a liberation of racing pigeons from Alveley and District flying Club. Thanks are extended to President Ray Scriven and members, to Trevor Jones for transporting them over to Highley and to Lisa Humphries for handling the birds on the day. We are told that it would take a couple of minutes for the pigeons to arrive back home, a route across the valley reminiscent of all the mine workers who would have crossed the river to Alveley, many of whom may have kept pigeons themselves back in the day.

Alveley Mining Heritage group presented framed prints of Highley Colliery, Alveley Colliery and the “New Bridge, River Severn, Highley” in recognition of Highley Working Men's Club generously hosting our anniversary event on 31st January this year. Thanks to Mrs Doreen Askey who received the prints on behalf of the Club from Mary Tull, Ray Matthews and Trevor Jones.


Many of you will be aware that the lyrics to a local mining song had been found amongst items belonging to former mine worker Frank Jones (Conk) and donated to Alveley Mining Heritage Group by Tony (Frank's son) and Carol Jones. Unfortunately this was not sung at this final anniversary event but Chair of Highley Parish Council, Councillor George Court came to the rescue and recited it beautifully. It is fitting that Highley Colliery Band, under the leadership of Musical Director Roy Osborne will be working on an arrangement for this song to be part of their repertoire as a fitting tribute to the proud mining heritage of the area. The band played to their usual high standard again and entertained visitors throughout the afternoon and ending with the David Alexander version of “Working Man” and Ray Matthews led the singing in the room magnificently.


The fifth volume of "Memories of Alveley Colliery" was launched, priced as previous volumes at £6.00. They are available by contacting Mary Tull, Treasurer, on the number below. The book gives accounts of this year's events, Highley Mining Company's development of the new Alveley Colliery, research articles by David Poyner, and personal accounts of former mine workers, office staff and interviews by Brendon Drew. It is well illustrated with photographs, memorabilia and diagrams. We are grateful to badger print who have generously supported reference copies being donated to local reference libraries, the primary schools in Alveley and Highley, and the National Coal Mining Museum. Proceeds are invested in extending the period of public display of donated and loaned mining artefacts collated over the last four years. These have been housed at The Severn Centre in Highley since the display space was lost following the redevelopment of the Visitor Centre at Severn Valley Country Park in 2019.

Over the coming months the group will ascertain support and interest in retaining these objects on permanent public view in the community. They are of significant importance to the local industrial heritage, relating to coal mining at Billingsley, Kinlet, Highley and Alveley. Please contact any of the Management committee members below.

Thanks are extended to everyone who has supported and contributed our Coal Mining Heritage project 2016-19. Our goal was to add to earlier heritage projects in the community and to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the closure of Alveley Colliery, by capturing memories of those who were there, adding to the preservation of physical artefacts and leaving some permanent record for generations to come. Thank you.

With best wishes for 2020

Andrea Edwards: 01746 862064
Chairwoman and Secretary

Mary Tull: 01746 764459 (Treasurer/Book Sales)

Ray Matthews: 01952 727625 (Membership and CDH Sculpture Project Leader)