Requests a statue honoring Sir Humphry Davy, inventor of the Davy miners’ lamp, in Hebburn


Cllr John McCabe, Hebburn South representative on South Tyneside Council, is campaigning for Sir Humphry Davy to be remembered for his work in the area helping to keep miners safe.

He said he would like to see a “substantial memorial”, such as something similar to the statue of Tommy at Seaham.

Sir Humphry came to Hebburn around 1812 and researched how to provide safer means of lighting the coal mines, and his work led him to invent the miners’ safety lamp.

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Mining lamps.

He successfully tested his safety lamp at Hebburn Colliery in 1816, which quickly entered production and had an immediate impact in helping to support coal mining.

It consisted of a gauze chimney above a brass lamp, and prior to its invention, miners used candles or other open flames, which posed a serious risk of causing explosions due to the presence of “grisou”.

Cllr McCabe, supported by Hebburn North representative Cllr Adam Ellison, said they had already started allocating funds to the project which would give the area a boost.

Cllr McCabe said: ‘I’ve had this in my mind since I was a young boy, I’ve lived in Hebburn all my life and I think people forget why Hebburn exists, the Industrial Revolution has made Hebburn what she is now.

The statue could take shape next to the new Hebburn Minewater energy program building, it has been suggested.

“I think we need to revitalize the city center, we need to revitalize tourism. People living in Hebburn, many of whom are new to Hebburn, will be completely unaware of these links. »

Cllr McCabe, a retired mining engineer and member of the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers, said he would like to see the statue incorporated into the site of the new Hebburn Minewater project.

He added: “I personally would like to see a miner standing with a safety light in one hand and in the other holding a child by the hand, because this miners safety light has saved many lives.

“A part of me will never leave the coal mines, but the fact that we are using water from the Hebburn mine to heat buildings and save on carbon emissions is also a great step forward. »

John McCabe.

Cllr McCabe said next steps include exploring new funding avenues for the project and reaching out to schools and community organizations to hear their views.

It comes after he announced his plans for the project, which he hopes to see happen in “18 to 20 months”, at a meeting of the Hebburn Community Area Forum.

The giant Davy lamp outside the Stadium of Light, part of the artwork commemorating the Wearmouth Colliery.
Sir Humphry Davy, Bt, by Henry Howard (1803). National Portrait Gallery, London. NPG 4591. Reproduced under the terms of CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.

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