Getting to the art of new community

Twins Declan and Madison Kerr 3 who stay on the new development
at the public art sculpture for the village square at Millerhill.
Twins Declan and Madison Kerr 3 who stay on the new development at the public art sculpture for the village square at Millerhill.

A new public artwork was unveiled recently at the village square in Millerhill at Shawfair depicting the coal mining heritage of the area.

The Millerhill Carbon Tower, a 3.2 metre-high sculpture, commissioned by Mactaggart & Mickel Homes was officially unveiled by Provost Adam Montgomery at Shawfair, the largest urban expansion programme ever undertaken in the Midlothian area.

P Johnson & Company won the commission following a competition overseen by Midlothian Council. Bruce Mickel, former chairman of Mactaggart & Mickel Group, selected the winning entry.

The sculpture tells the story of coal mining in the area, from carboniferous plants, through hand-delivered buckets of coal and using pit ponies, to using machinery underground. The sculpture is crowned by depictions of coal-mining families and is watched over by two canaries perched on the top.

Pete Hill from P Johnson & Company said: “It was an honour to work on such a pivotal piece of artwork.

“We hope we’ve conveyed the inspiring history and story of the area, as well as left enough to the imagination for future generations to put their own stamp on the new village. It is going to be a truly wonderful new community.”

Midlothian Provost Adam Montgomery said: “I welcome this important new public artwork and what it represents for the area. Congratulations to the artists who have really captured the spirit of the brief and brought the heritage and promise of the new community to life.”

Nick Waugh, director of Shawfair said: “People and community are very much at the heart of our vision for Shawfair, and this sculpture is a fitting tribute to that intention.

“We are sure it will appreciated by many generations to come.”

Mactaggart & Mickel Homes has invested £50,000 in the work of art, viewing benches and landscaping, as part of their contribution to support the creation of a new Shawfair community.

Ed Monaghan, managing director, said: “It will serve as a timeless reminder of not only its proud past but also its exciting future as new families and future generations make their homes here.”