Coalmining Representation in the Heritage Sector of the East Midlands

Coalmining Representation in the Heritage Sector of the East Midlands

The Pitman Painters – Nottingham Theatre Royal

Recently the stage production of the Pitman Painters visited the Nottingham Theatre Royal. The stage production was adapted from a book by William Feaver and was produced by Lee Hall of Billy Elliott fame. The story is about a group of miners who started a WEA Art Class in Ashington in 1934. The story unfolds of the group, initially unversed in the world of Renaissance Art, eventually deciding to paint the world as it affected them. It was a sort of working class men’s self expression.

The Group flourised and eventually word of their exploits spread. Helen Sutherland, a shipping line heiress, who lived at Rock near Ashington, showed considerable interest in their work, especially the work of Oliver Kilbourn. The stage adaption covered the period from the start of the group in 1934 through to Vesting Day in 1947 (the nationalisation of the coal industry). Especially poignant at the end was the portrayal of a replica of the Ellington NUM Branch Banner. In 2005 the closure of Ellington (Big E) brought to an end deep mining in the north-east coalfield. No longer was the term “its like taking coal to Newcastle” relevant.

The collection of paintings done by the Ashington miners is on show the Woodhorn Colliery Museum near Ashington. For more information contact www.ashingtongroup.co.uk

 

Comments

  •  

    David July 15th, 2011 at 11:11 am

    Other images of the Pitman Painters can be seen on the Facebook page – The Adventures of the MuBu Miner.

 

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About this Sponsor

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 was 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.

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