People are encouraged to share their stories about coal mining as part of an exciting new art exhibition celebrating South Tyneside’s rich mining history.
Talented local artist, Aidan Doyle, has created an exhibition of photographs depicting the last days of coal mining in South Tyneside to evoke memories and stories of the mining community.
The exhibition ‘It Seems Like Another World’ is now open for residents and visitors to South Tyneside to view in the ‘Outdoor Classroom’ at Haven Point and includes rare underground images of Westoe Colliery before its closure in 1994.
Every Thursday, until Thursday 7th April, Aidan Doyle will be at the exhibition from 12noon until 2pm to share his own mining stories and to record residents and visitors own anecdotes about people who worked at the pits, their families, and the mining community to help document the words and dialect traditionally used by miners.
Councillor Alan Kerr, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council with responsibility for culture and leisure, said: “This wonderful project is a visual celebration of the Borough’s rich mining history.
“The exhibition including images of Westoe Colliery, will take pride of place in Haven Point over the next few weeks offering residents and visitors the opportunity to learn more about South Tyneside’s mining history and reminisce about times gone by.
“The exhibition will also give people the chance to discuss and find out more about the words and dialect traditionally used by miners before they disappear into obscurity.”
On Thursday 14th April, the exhibition will move to the Central Library in South Shields where an event will be held from 2pm until 4pm to mark the 22nd Anniversary of the demolition of the Crown Shaft Tower at Westoe Colliery.
Residents will be encouraged to come forward with their own images of the demolition of the tower and to share stories of Westoe Colliery, which will be recorded as part of the exhibition.
Aidan said: “Until the early 1900s coal mining was central to South Shields and the wider North East region. The iconic Crown Tower, built over the main coal drawing shaft of Westoe Colliery, was once a constant reminder of the importance of mining to South Tyneside on the South Shields skyline. Since the tower’s demolition, the pulley wheels of St Hilda’s Colliery, which stand near the Market Place, are the last lasting reminder of what was once a vital industry within the Borough.
“I was lucky enough at the time of the closure of Westoe Colliery to capture the pit on film from above and underground to record the last days of coal mining. The exhibition of these photographs is a poignant reminder of what one observer of the demolition of the Crown Shaft Tower at Westoe Colliery remarked “seems like another world” which inspired the name of the display.
“I hope that residents and visitors to South Tyneside will get involved with the exhibition at Haven Point and that the images will provoke memories and stories about the people who worked at the pits and their families and the coal pit language – as well as encourage people to find out more about the Borough’s mining history.”