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Sultan the Pit Pony is a massive 200 metre raised-earth sculpture in Caerphilly, in South Wales. The sculpture is affectionately named “Sultan” after a well-loved pit pony that worked in the local mines hauling tubs of coal. The sculpture itself is built out of coal shale from those mines, as a reminder of an industrial past that changed Britain, and the world, forever. Coal was the fuel of the Industrial Revolution that put Britain at the forefront for over 100 years in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Coal provided the necessary power source for steam engines which became one of Britain’s most significant contributions to human history.

Ponies, horses and mules were commonly used in underground coal mines in North America and Europe, from the mid-18th until the mid-20th century. Previously, children and women were employed to lug or drag coal out of the mines. As the mines became deeper and distances became greater, they were replaced with “pit ponies”.

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Sultan The Pit Pony was designed by Mick Petts using roughly 60,000 tonnes of coal shale. Photo credit: The Geological Society of London

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© Amusing Planet, 2014.


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