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Guardian Sculpture, Six Bells Colliery, Abertillery

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Map ReferenceSO20SW
Grid ReferenceSO2181202763
Unitary (Local) AuthorityBlaenau Gwent
Old CountyMonmouthshire
Period21st Century
1. Information from Blaenau-Gwent County Borough Council website (accessed 15 Dec 2015).

Completed in 2010, the Guardian statue was commissioned to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1960 mining disaster in Six Bells that claimed the lives of 45 men. The amazing 20 metre sculpture towers over the site of the former colliery where the tragedy occurred and is a fitting tribute to the men whose names are cut into panels wrapped around the memorial.

Designed and created by artist Sebastien Boyesen, who is based in West Wales, the sculpture is constructed from over 20,000 strips of Cor-Ten steel welded together to create a stunning monument that stands proudly on a sandstone plinth. The detail that has been created using this remarkable technique allows for the incredible facial features, muscle definition and hair to be clearly visible; and even the trousers appear soft and flowing even though fabricated from steel.

Viewed from a distance the figure of the miner has a transparent, almost ghostly quality, allowing it to blend into the heavily wooded landscape setting. Only when viewed up close, does the figure appear solid and the true presence of Guardian can be fully appreciated.

Guardian was dedicated as part of a Commemoration Service on the 28th June 2010 led by the Archbishop of Canterbury Reverend Rowan Williams, and later in November 2011, HRH Prince Charles visited Guardian and Ty Ebbw Fach.'


2. Photographed for the RCAHMW Upland Gwent publication by Iain Wright in 2015.

T. Driver, RCAHMW, Dec 2015