Memorial stone to quarry workers

Ackworth Heritage Group unveiling a plaque in memory of those killed while working in the Ackworth quarries.' Co-op, Barnsley Road, Ackworth'Pauline Lockitt (chair) Peter Ventom (sec) and Harry Miles (who worked at the quarry on this site)
Ackworth Heritage Group unveiling a plaque in memory of those killed while working in the Ackworth quarries.' Co-op, Barnsley Road, Ackworth'Pauline Lockitt (chair) Peter Ventom (sec) and Harry Miles (who worked at the quarry on this site)

A commemorative stone to remember those who lost their lives working on the quarries has been unveiled.

More than 60 people attended the unveiling outside the Co-operative supermarket, Barnsley Road, Ackworth, on Friday, April 24.

Ackworth Heritage Group unveiling a plaque in memory of those killed while working in the Ackworth quarries.' Co-op, Barnsley Road, Ackworth

Ackworth Heritage Group unveiling a plaque in memory of those killed while working in the Ackworth quarries.' Co-op, Barnsley Road, Ackworth

Ackworth Heritage Group held fundraising events and secured several grants to pay for the stone, which weighs around three tonnes.

The memorial includes two plaques inscribed with names of 15 men who died working in quarries between 1878 to 1935.

Historian Paul Ventom said: “Before the First World War there were around 500 people who worked on the quarries. They were important to peoples’ livelihoods. The workers were open to the elements so there was a lot of risk involved.

“It was said it was more dangerous working on the quarry faces than it was in the coal mines.”

Ackworth Heritage Group placed the stone outside the Co-operative supermarket because it was a former quarry site. The workers who died include crane driver Edward Shaw, 19, and quarryman Herbert Drake, aged 20.

The youngest person to be named on the plaque was 13-year-old Fred Giles, who worked as a sawyer.

People who attended the unveiling watched a special DVD on the quarries in the Parish Rooms, Bell Lane.

Mr Ventom also launched his book Ackworth Quarries - The Hidden Price of Stone - which recounts stories of what it was like to work on the quarries.

He said: “It is important to remember the men and I’m pleased to have already had lot of good feedback about the stone.”

Copies of Mr Ventom’s book are available at Ackworth Library.

Anyone interested in ordering a copy should call Mr Ventom on 01977 613865.