Monday 11th January 2016

New project tells the stories of St Helens’ miners when the pit closed

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When the pit closed… by photographer and writer Alan Smith is a Prototype Project from Round Two, which will exhibit at The World of Glass on Saturday 16th January. Alan has produced a series of black & white photographic portraits taken with a vintage camera, each with a story charting the lives of the ex-pitmen. The exhibition will also include a musical score, composed by Andrew Smith and Craig Sergeant, commissioned to reflect the stories and portraits.

Brian Salkeld, former Sutton Manor colliery miner

“The idea for the exhibition came about last year when I met one of the men at a miner’s event in Sutton. Their average age when they became unemployed was 33 at a time when jobs in industry were shrinking. Most of them had mortgages and young families to feed and each of them had lived through the miners’ strike and the pressures it had brought. The attributes the pit had instilled in the ex-miners undoubtedly helped them to get through,” explained Alan Smith.

He has spent the past year engaging with the ex-miners and says, “The town’s industrial heritage is important and to hear first-hand what it meant for those men to be part of the pit community, 25 years after the mine closed, brings it back to life. This has been a great opportunity for me to develop my practice further.”

Next year marks 25 years since Sutton Manor closed, with nearby Cronton closing in 1984, Bold in 1985 and Parkside in 1991.


Get your free tickets for opening launch of When the pit closed… on Saturday 16th January from 1-3pm.

When the pit closed… will be exhibited in the Godfrey Pilkington Gallery at The World of Glass from Saturday 16th January until Friday 18th March 2016.

Read what the press had to say:
What happened to St Helens’ miners


If you have an idea that would like to discuss with us and/or you are thinking about submitting a Prototype Projects application click here.

Prototype Projects: Round 1 and 2

A list of projects supported and developed under the Prototype Projects strand in 2014

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