Today's Object of the Week is is a testament to North East villagers' efforts to improve their surroundings.

Brotton is an East Cleveland village, which once had four ironstone mines within its boundaries.

In 2012, a group of residents started the Brotton Improvement Group with a main objective of improving the environment for villagers.

The group's latest commission was to have a memorial reflecting the history of ironstone mining in the village.

Trevor Welburn, chairman of the Brotton Improvement Group, said members accept that Brotton was always developed as a mining village and could not, therefore, be ever classed as a "pretty" village.

"However, we take pride in our heritage and love our village so decided to add features to the village," he added.

After introducing a memorial bench and having the village war memorial refurbished in time for the recognition of the 100th anniversary of the cessation of the First World War, the group were looking for a new project.

Mr Welburn said: "I suggested that we attempt to obtain the large piece of East Cleveland ironstone that stood outside of Steel House - where I worked.

"We could place this in the village along with two information boards - one giving a brief history of the village and one giving a history of the Brotton mines.

"We felt that this could be a memorial to all those miners who toiled in the dark and brought about Brotton as a village."

But the piece of ironstone had already been allocated to somewhere else so the group had to come up with another idea.

Mr Welburn said: "I made contact with various local artists, who submitted suggestions and costs for pieces reflecting our mining history."

The group decided to go with a suggestion from chainsaw artist Steve Iredale, because members liked his piece.

The Northern Echo: The Brotton Wheel has pride of place at the bottom of the village, whose fortunes were transformed by the discovery of ironstoneThe Brotton Wheel has pride of place at the bottom of the village, whose fortunes were transformed by the discovery of ironstone (Image: BROTTON IMPROVEMENT GROUP)

The group also admired a series of carved badgers he had produced which are placed around the village - the name Brotton is thought to derive from the Old English Brock Tun, meaning Badger Hill).

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Steve commissioned James Godbold, a blacksmith from Egton, to do the ironwork for the new memorial. James was already known to the group as he had refurbished the memorial and created the village bench.

The resulting sculpture, the Brotton Wheel, now has pride of place at the bottom of the village and was unveiled at an 'opening ceremony' last month.

This was followed by two village historians, Simon Chapman and Tony Nicholson, giving short presentations on the history of the Brotton mines and the history of the village.