From coal mining to soul mining on a heritage walk around St Helens


Chris Moss

Discover the traces of Merseyside’s industrial past with a new walking app, partly made by former miners determined the past should not be forgotten

Ex terra lucem. Light from the ground. St Helens has the finest motto in England. It evokes the town’s long mining history, its world-leading glass industry – which used, as well as coal-fired furnaces, the fireclays beneath the coal measures – and, now that so many of our working-class heroes have passed on, the illumination to be gleaned from communing with wise ancestors.

That, anyway, is how I like to think of a new mining themed walk on an app, Landscape Legacies of Coal Mining, developed by historian Dr Catherine Mills of the University of Stirling. The three-mile route (with an optional two-mile extension) through Bold Forest Park – the 1,780 hectare (4,400-acre) area that surrounds the famous Dream statue by Jaume Plensa – adds a new seam of interest. Former miner Jim Housley, 60, wrote the texts for the St Helens walk, which peeks behind the tree cover and carefully planned parkland to reveal the park’s previous life as Sutton Manor colliery.

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