Last Saturday, 11th June, the family attended the Mansfield Palace Community Play based on the film Brassed Off. I think it is fair to say that most people have seen the film which portrays the plight of the pits’ Brass Band during the coal crisis of 1994. I suspect many East Midlands miners can relate to the events of the coal crisis; three profit making collieries, namely Annesley-Bentinck, Olllerton and Manton were announced for closure in one day during February 1994. At the time, out of the ten collieries which formed the Midlands Area of British Coal, three of five collieries in profit were closed. The market for British deep mined coal had collapsed following the “dash for gas”. Some of the events in Brassed Off therefore can be closely related to by many former local miners.
The presentation at the Palace was generally well done, it was not a copy of the film but a stage production. However, I still have reservation about the amount of time the f word was used and in what context. The scene of Mr Chuckles with the kids in the church, just prior to him trying to hang himself off the headstocks, would warrent the f word. It was a scene of high emotion. However, the final scene, when Danny addresses the crowd at the Albert Hall, would not warrent the f word. Many a tale can be told of miners who swore down the pit but not on the surface, likewise tales of some miners who never swore at all are not unknown. This would relate especially to men like Danny, who would be influencial figures in the local community. Perhaps swearing would be correct in some areas of mining culture, I am simply relating to my experiences in the former Ashfield region of the Nottinghamshire coalfield. What do you think?
What is your favourite part of the film? Without doubt mine is Stephen Tompkinson, as the clown, in the church with the kids when he looses the plot. Overall the humour in the film well depicted the dry humour of mining communities – Did you join the band last night love? Yes , how do you know! Oh, just something my husband never mentioned. The stage production also dipicted the mining humour very well.
Overall, a brilliantly performed stage production of a classic film. The local based Newstead Brass Band took part in the production.
The Eastwood and Kimberley Advertiser recently reported the closure of Kimberley Miners Welfare after 86 years. Like the many pub closures now taking place are we currently witnessing the end of a traditional way of life following the rapid decline of the coal industry since the late 1950′s? Miners Welfares or “Stuets” (short for Institute) were initially founded as meeting places for the sports clubs associated with the deep mining coal industry. From 1952 the Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation (CISWO) overtook the running of the Miners Welfares.
In recent times former Miners Welfare haunts of the MuBu miner have closed at Annesley and Newstead. Radio Nottingham recently reported the demolition of the former Ollerton and Bevercotes Miners Welfare based in Ollerton Village. Former miners welfares remain locally at Greasley (nr Eastwood), Jacksdale, Summit (East Kirkby), Heanor, Underwood and Bentinck. The former Teversal Miners Welfare is called Teversal Grange.
What other Miners Welfare Clubs remain in the East Midlands? Have you any special memories of times spent at the Welfares?
Seventy people recently attended a very entertaining evening presented by David Coleman, The Eastwood Pitman. The show took place at Ironville Church Hall on the Derbyshire / Nottinghamshire border. David is a Historical Coalmining Entertainer and his one man show covers tales, short stories and poems from mining’s past. He dresses up in period miners gear c 1950′s. The MuBu Miner assisted David by providing the equipment to show some mining archive footage as part of the show.
In total £365 was raised at the event for the Ironville Christ Church CCIA decorating fund. An expression of appreciation was given by the Vicar of Ironville, the Rev Frank Mercurio. Refreshments were served which reflected miners “snap” i.e. Bread and Jam / Dripping plus bottles of water.
The MuBu Coalmining Project took place from April 2010 to the end of March 2012. The remit was two-fold - firstly to see how the once vast coalmining industry in the East Midlands was represented in the Heritage sector and secondly to bring aspects of social media to that representation. The Coal mining project was funded by Renaissance East Midlands (REM) and the Centre for Advanced Studies (CAS) at the University of Nottingham. The Bursary holder is Dr. David Amos who completed a PHD on the 1984-85 Miners Strike in the Nottinghamshire Coalfield. David is an ex miner, having worked in the deep mining coal industry at Annesley Colliery for 24 years.