The North East’s mining heritage is being celebrated in an evening of art, music and traditional tipples taking place next week.

On Thursday 17 May, Mining Art Gallery, Bishop Auckland, will open after hours, for a special event as part of the national Museums At Night initiative, offering a taste of life in the early 20th century.

Along with the gallery’s array of emotive artworks, exploring the dangerous conditions miners experienced underground, visitors to Auckland Lates – Night Shift will also be able to experience life in the region’s mining communities, with original, themed music and traditional temperance cocktails.

The Temperance Movement, which blamed alcohol for many problems in working class society, encouraged people to drink in moderation or abstain altogether.  It was particularly popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries, when it received backing from the Methodists and The Quakers, who both had a huge influence in the North East’s mining communities.

Temperance Bars, serving only alcohol free drinks, sprung up around the region, including in Bishop Auckland Market Place, close to where the Mining Art Gallery is now based.

In recognition of the impact this had on everyday life, The Auckland Project’s catering apprentices are creating non-alcoholic cocktails inspired by the Temperance Movement, to be served for free at Auckland Lates – Night Shift. 

Upstairs in Mining Art Gallery, surrounded by artworks showing the eventual shift from Temperance Bars to working men’s clubs, visitors to the event will also be able to hear a special soundtrack inspired by the paintings and sketches on show.

Penned by singer-songwriter, Gareth Davies-Jones, the music was originally inspired by a series of workshops in Bishop Auckland and perfectly captures how members of the local community have responded to the artwork since Mining Gallery opened in October 2017.

Throughout the evening there will also be special 10-minute talks about the gallery’s latest temporary exhibition, The Bevin Boy’s – War’s Forgotten Workforce, which pays tribute to the men conscripted to work in the mines during WWII.

Hannah Peaden, Head of Visitor Experience at The Auckland Project, said: “Auckland Lates – Night Shift offers a fantastic opportunity to see our collection of Mining Art in an entirely different light.

“Visitors to this special event can take in the unique atmosphere of the Mining Art Gallery at night, enhance their experience with music that captures the emotions of the artwork on show and enjoy a specially created temperance cocktail for a real taste of the past.”

Mining Art Gallery, Bishop Auckland Market Place, is currently open daily from 10am until 4pm and provides a permanent home for more than 400 artworks by acclaimed mining artists including Norman Cornish and Tom McGuinness.

Auckland Lates – Night Shift, which runs at the gallery from 4pm until 8pm on Thursday 17 May, forms part of the national Museums at Night initiative, designed by Culture24 to encourage museums, galleries, libraries and heritage sites across the UK to open outside their normal hours and increase public access.

Entry to the event is the same as usual Mining Art Gallery admission charges, £4 per adult and £3 concessions, and includes a complimentary temperance cocktail for every visitor.

For more information please visit.www.aucklandproject.org or search for Auckland Project on Facebook and Twitter.