Picture (Tom Lamb- Testing for Gas) from the book Shifts of Light - Mining Art in the Great Northern Coalfield (Robert McManners & Gillian Wales
"From the early nineteenth century coal mining was to dominate the North East of England for one hundred and fifty years. It provided employment, determined townscapes and population distribution, created hardships, dominated skylines but above all spawned communities. These tightly-knit mining fraternities provided the miner with all his basic needs. Historically the miner has always felt the need to express himself both politically and creatively. (...) This took many forms - a pride in the size of a leek, the speed of a whippet, the flight of a pigeon, the beauty of a chrysanthemum, the sound of a brass band, the recitation of a verse, the writing of a play or latterly the painting of a picture. The resulting body of art produced in the Great Northern Coalfield is as fascinating as it is diverse."
The Art Mining Gallery in Bishop Auckland explores working life in the coalmines through original artefacts and artwork from prominent mining artists. It is very well worth a visit.