National Recording Project


Detail from: Memorial to 158 Squadron by Peter W. Naylor, 2009



Type Shaft

     Information from Artworks Wales: 'The column, made from hundreds of small, individually shaped pieces of thin sandstone, stacked and graded by colour will be the focal point of the scheme of artworks in Dunraven Street. It was designed by the artist in response to the surrounding architecture and is conceived as a piece of contemporary sculpture which makes reference to geology and coal mining. The sculptor was inspired by the poem 'The Pithead Wheel' by Mogg Williams who was once a coal miner in the Valleys. The circular hole through the top of the column is an indirect reference to the pit head wheel and the line running down seen as the mine shaft. The band of black Welsh slate towards the bottom of the column is 80cm thick - the thickness of the 'two foot nine' seam in which 31 men were killed at the Cambrian Mine in 1965, the last major coal mine explosion in Wales. At the rear of the column the elongated cross was created by lining up joints between the individual stones.' The column is set on a large circular stone plinth.
     The sculpture is part of the Tonypandy Pedestrianisation Scheme which was officially opened in March 1999. The scheme also includes street furniture by the same artist.


Lines from poetry in English and Welsh by Gillian Clarke and Menna Elfyn incised on slate band. Inscription in Welsh and English incised on stone tablet stating height of column and that every millimetre represents a million years in the evolution of the earth. Inscription on sandstone band stating that the band of Welsh slate is the same thickness as the 'two foot nine' seam of coal in which men once worked below Tonypandy

Contributor details

Contributor Role
Bowcott, Howard Sculptor

Element details

Part of work Material Dimensions
Column Welsh sandstone and slate on concrete core 460cm height

PMSA recording information

Reference Region
General condition Good
Surface condition
  • No damage
  • None
Structural condition
  • Other
  • None
Road High Street
Precise location In front of the Bethel Chapel
A-Z ref None
OS ref SO985928
Date of design 1997-99
Year of unveiling 1999
Unveiling details 1999
Commissioned by Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council
Duty of care Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council
Listing status Not listed
At risk? No known risk

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