Exhibition will delve deep into South Tyneside’s rich mining history

An image of Westoe Colliery which features in the art exhibition.

An image of Westoe Colliery which features in the art exhibition.

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A new exhibition will delve deep into South Tyneside’s rich mining history.

People are being invited to share their stories about coal mining as part of the project.

Artist Aidan Doyle, top left, and Coun Alan Kerr pictured with ex-miners Jacky Payton, Jimmy Robson, Ronnie Peterson, Jeff Bridgewood and Tom Wood.

Artist Aidan Doyle, top left, and Coun Alan Kerr pictured with ex-miners Jacky Payton, Jimmy Robson, Ronnie Peterson, Jeff Bridgewood and Tom Wood.

Local artist Aidan Doyle has created an exhibition of photographs depicting the last days of coal mining in the borough 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, in Pier Parade, South Shields, and includes rare underground images of Westoe Colliery before its closure in 1994.

Every Thursday, until April 7, Aidan will be at the exhibition, from noon 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.

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.

“Until the early 1900s coal mining was central to South Shields and the wider North East region.”

Aidan Doyle

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.”

Coun 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, April 14, the exhibition will move to the Central Library, in Prince Georg Square, 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.