On Wednesday 18th April 2012 the play Dust was performed at the Mansfield Palace Theatre in Mansfield. Dust is the story of miners and coal mining communities. It is a story of dreams and reality in Britain partly shaped by the the social and political upheaval of events surrounding the 1984-85 Miners’ Strike. It is also the story of two Arthur’s – Arthur Scargill, NUM President 1982-2002, and Arthur Cook – A J Cook – leader of the Miners Federation of Great Britain in the 1926 Miners lockout. Scargill’s inspiration and involvement in mining trade unionism was based on his admiration for A J Cook.
Dust is a fictional account of a ghost from the past that comes to haunt Scargill the morning after the death of Margaret Thatcher. It was not without controversy and the plot questioned aspects of Scargill’s role in the 1984-85 strike among other things. To that end when the play opened in Barnsley on 17th March it was disrupted by hecklers in the audience. The play was written and directed by Ade Morris.
This recent exhibition looked at issues connected with the landscape, environmental and cultural changes in the former Nottinghamshire coalfield following the demise of the once vast deep coalmining industry. Some of the socio-economic implications from the run down of the industry are still being felt today. The landscape has altered almost beyond recognition during the last decade with many former colliery sites now being transformed into country parks, industrial and commercial sites with light industry. Some of the former mining communities have become deserted ghost-towns and have been plagued by a benefits dependency culture, crime and drugs problems.
A display of David Severn’s photographs showing aspects of the changing mining landscape went on show at Mansfield Museum between 3rd March and 14th April 2012. Coal mining entertainer, David Coleman, presented two of his mining shows on 2nd and 3rd April.
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.