It was at the end of the 1970's that the South Beach area last got some serious work done to it. At that time the area that had at one time been the site of Wellington pit was landscaped, a car park was added and a long winding path created up to the Candlestick monument. This decorative chimney, with a design said to be based on one of the Lowther's candlesticks, was originally a chimney for boilers at for the coal mine.
The appearance of heavy plant and associated facilities on the South Beach car park announced it was time for some new landscaping. This is all part of the Whitehaven Coastal Project, developing the coastal path between Whitehaven and Haig Pit. It is sponsored by the National Trust, English Partnerships and The Land Restoration Trust.
A new set of steps leads directly up from the South Beach car park and the circuitous path has been resurfaced and new walls put in place.
New signage has been created in the form of steel lettering and symbols.
The 'battlements', that were once part of Sidney Smirke's original castellated design for the Wellington pit have again been renewed with fresh red sandstone.
A new path has been created up towards Haig Pit mining museum to give access to cyclists and walkers.
The signs are graphical, again created in stainless steel on local red sandstone plinths.
Around the candlestick monument new paving has been laid and the paving stones have graphical insertions...
...and inscriptions reflect the words of the miners giving an atmosphere of the history of the locale. Further inscriptions have been placed along the new wall that follows the path up the hill.
Another feature is the Wellington terrace. New steps have been put in behind the John Paul Jones sculpture leading up behind the Wellington car park, where the Wellington pub once stood. These curving steps, that were blocked off for years, have been opened up and re-faced. Both stairways lead to a terrace above the car park with seating and an observation scope which has good views over the harbour and out to sea.
In October 2010 a new mosaic was revealed in a circular area below the Candlestick monument featuring scenes of sailing and mining.
Ceramic tiles of various sizes, shapes and colours, vividly portray the scenes of labour and through the picture runs a thread of poetry describing the scene.
The moasaic is very reminiscent of the soviet ones, celebrating the labours of the proletariat.
The words read as: Smell the salt air. John Paul Jones standing there. There's coal on the beach. Whitehaven's fingers reach. Underground. The world around.
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