Fiddler’s Folly

Free food - that'll pack 'em in. Sensible insurance...

Sent to the blog yesterday by the excellent [Godfrey Oakparkrunner], I here present the flyer for the sculpture unveiling binge set to take place in the Wood in a couple of weeks. My views on this hideous waste of regeneration funding haven’t changed in the slightest since I wrote about it back in May 2009. For a sum of cash that could have been used for something constructive – £45,000 I believe – we’ll get a new climbing frame for the yoots and a target for tatters in the High Street. This hideously contrived, cliched gesture will not create a single job, nor will it improve the lot of pensioners or the deprived in the area. Instead, we get yet another trite mining memorial, just like the many other mining memorials scattered round the towns of the area, proposed, propagated and brought to the community by those that championed the demise of the coal industry in the UK, and who would surely have crossed the road to avoid contact with those they claim to be commemorating. All this while their council takes a hatchet to social services, charities and those working with the kind of deprivation they claim to be remembering with this fatuous gesture.

The miners were proud, hard, strong, and above all brave people who built the wealth of this area through loss of their lives, poor education and ill health.We owe the ones that remain – many suffering breathing conditions, terminal illness and other industrial disease – more than empty gestures. We owe them loving care and the best support we can give them, not the superficial respect and crocodile tears we’re self-indulgently engaging in here.

Rate this post...


  • Facade66

    I put some photos of the construction on Panoramio, and there is a video at

    Personally I like it, I would have liked it more if I were one of the metal silhouettes in Walsall Wood though.
    (Yes my Grandfather died from a respiratory condition caused by driving the coal cutter at Mid Cannock, up Rumer Hill Road, under the factory units now I think)

  • Andrew

    Did you now know that there is an election coming up? You can’t even say that there are short memories because some councillors were not even born when Thatcher did her worst.

    Shame that history may be taught but is not learned.

  • There’s a few pics here as well- I had a wander up today.

    On the original plans, it did look like a pile of scrap angle iron. Let’s hope the scrap metal dealers don’t think the same and whip up there with a gas axe or stihl saw eh?

    In the metal, I like it a bit more. I still have grave doubts about vandalism, and the cost, and in fact what it’s practically going to do in way of regeneration though. The other, smaller pieces seem a better bet to me, as they’re nearer the village centre.

  • arkrite

    This craze for monuments is just self aggrandizement by those responsible in putting them there. No doubt at all that money can be better spent . My rural town council have a thing with sheep, though since the last outbreak of foot and mouth the local farmers seem to have gone off them. We have fibre glass sheep and and a wooden sheep ( it has a big grin and smiles at motorists on the byepass). They have provided an artist with a commission but have done nothing since.All of us should really take more interest and action in what our councilors are doing.

  • It’s not as easy as saying the money could have been better spent elsewhere. If this can be seen as an attempt to encourage people to have pride in the area’s heritage, and in the area itself, then in the long term it might help to counter the problems of vandalism and anti-social behaviour. And yes, of course, employment and social care and the self respect those things bring are the priorities, but perhaps the reasoning behind this sculpture was less cynical than you might think. Of course, whether or not it will make a blind bit of difference to attitudes it’s hard to say, but it’s certain that isolated gestures will achieve nothing and a co-ordinated approach to the improvement and upkeep of the area is what’s key.

  • Martin

    This monument to a lost industry provides jobs in the same way the ring road does.
    A few insiders plot and plan the thing, a contractor or two engaged and off we go.
    Once it all done and the dust settles there are no more jobs than when it all started.
    I suppose it looks nicer and we can all get misty-eyed about how the emipre was fired by coal from here, but that was then and this is now.
    None of the wealth created remains in our hands and Adrian Andrew (who clearly has no understanding of Thatcherite market economics – see his dim comments about Brownhills market traders elsewhere in the press and blogosphere) presides of this without hint of understanding the irony of his situation. Bless.

  1. Spot the difference « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog  February 16, 2010

    […] on the subject in several posts to this blog, in particular to what I see as the wastage on the sculpture binge in Walsall Wood. It’s not that I believe this industry is unworthy of remembrance – quite the reverse, […]

  2. Not fixin’ a hole « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog  March 5, 2010

    […] of another pothole assault my spine. I reflected on a council that’s generous enough to spend tens of thousands on sculpture, but can’t fix the roads. Can I be the only observer who finds it ironic that a company […]

  3. Incurable sickness « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog  September 2, 2010

    […] ineffective and not fit for purpose. When the chips are down, our councillors would rather erect pointless monuments to our elder generation than ensure their care in a humane and respectful […]

  4. The men below « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog  October 1, 2010

    […] civic leaders and nostalgic historians erect pointless and irrelevant statuary to lost generations of the workers who fuelled both the industrial and social revolutions, […]

  5. Working in a coal mine… « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog  February 26, 2011

    […] very wary of glamorising or sanitising the history of mining; I’m aware that it’s a sensitive issue locally, and I have nothing but respect for […]

  6. Black diamonds « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog  May 21, 2011

    […] will continue to bang on about this, and will make no apology for […]

  7. PigBlog » Blog Archive » The Regeneration Game  June 19, 2011

    […] is something BrownhillsBob has mentioned on more than one occasion , and several separate conversations with friends and my dear better half […]

  8. The Regeneration Game (via Pigblog) « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog  June 19, 2011

    […] has been appraising the state of the statues and artworks assembled in Walsall Wood 18 months ago. I’ve never been supportive of them, and still think much better things could have been done with £40,000, but my views are well […]

  9. The Harrison dynasty: Beginnings in Coal, 1849 « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog  September 24, 2012

    […] do, that it’s important to strip away the veneer of romance and rose-tint that often colours descriptions of the collieries, their workers and dependent communities. It is therefore essential, then, that we record and analyse the history warts and […]

  10. Underground investigations « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog  September 30, 2012

    […] men died dreadful deaths. Reflect on that fact. Don’t ever let anyone romanticise or paint the mining years as rosy; they weren’t. Like many awful experiences, they were formative, character building and […]

  11. Burntwood Mining Memorial – unveiling tomorrow! | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog  June 7, 2013

    […] must admit, I have similar misgivings about this as I do other mining memorials, including our own; there’s something of the Soviet approach in building memorials to an […]

  12. The gold hoard to arrive in Brownhills at last… | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog  September 18, 2013

    […] Stringer’s idea, particularly in light of the views of the landowner. However, my ambivalence to pointless statuary is also well recorded, and if I’m honest, rather than erecting some monument in Lichfield or at Chasewater, why not […]


Leave a Reply