Art@Pinders At The National Coalmining Museum

Photo of caphouse colliery

Dave Wilders, one of the Art@Pinders tutors, writes about our recent trip to the National Coalmining Museum, Overton.

They say ‘art is in the eye of the beholder’, and its true we all like and dislike pieces of art work and making an opinion be it right or wrong is what the artist is trying to achieve from the viewer. I like to visit art galleries and museums and I too make my own decision and I thought the group of artists at Art @ Pinders would benefit and enjoy the experience of rich coal mining history and a presentation of the art, coal miners themselves had produced.

I organised for the group to pay a visit the National Coalmining Museum at Caphouse Colliery on Monday 16th October, Two artists Johnny and Louise donned on the hard hat and battery lamp and ventured underground, while Trevor found inspiration to draw on the pit top. Others chose to listen to me babble on, for as an ex coal miner I shared my experiences of working underground and the machinery I used, which was on display in the museum.


The old winding gear

The old winding gear which took miners and equipment to the pit. No worries a smaller, electric lift does the job. Photo by Mandy Patrice.

in the canteen

After a hearty snap time in the pit canteen Curator of Art and Photography Imogen Holmes-Roe gave to the group a presentation ‘From coal to Canvas’. The art collection at the Museum illustrates the coal mining industry and mining communities. They are a combination of works by professional artists and artists who were themselves miners.  Much of the Museum’s holdings were produced by amateur or unschooled artists who wished to show something of their working and home life. The significance of this work may not lie in the artist’s technical ability alone, but also in its role as an invaluable social record of an industry and community that has all but disappeared.

I am a believer that being exposed and experiencing different forms of art is inspiring. Art comes in its many forms and different mediums, I hope the visit showed some of the ways the artist can express themselves and develop ideas.

If you haven’t been to the National Coalmining Museum at Caphouse Colliery near Wakefield which is totally wheelchair accessible you are missing a treat and a great day out.

Jonny Haigh went down the Mine with Louise Barker and their PA’s. He said, “It was an amazing experience. It really took me out of my comfort zone, but in a good way. It’s not the sort of thing you think you’ll do when you’re in a chair all day. The darkness and the closeness of the pit walls is something I’ll always remember.”

Mandy Patrice took the tour with Dave along with Carol Ramm, Kevan Baker, Cheryl Scarth, Karen KentonLes and Joyce Jones. She said, “It was fascinating to hear what Dave had to say about what it was like to be a miner. He explained what all the pieces of equipment were used for, the most frightening being the one Dave used to work in for up to 10 hours a day. It was a cramped space that became so hot Dave would strip off to keep cool.”

Mandy also commented following Imogen’s presentation, “I was shocked to learn that children and women were once made to work underground doing the same jobs as the men.”

Trevor Herdman chose to sketch one of the pieces of equipment. “It was an hydraulic press which held the ceiling up whilst the ram (bottom left in the photo) broke up the coal and deposited it via the back section. Dave said there were rows of these machines slowly moving forward.”

hydraulic ram

For more information about the Museum click here: https://www.ncm.org.uk

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