Search launched for memorabilia to celebrate South Tyneside’s mining heritage

Westoe Colliery, 1993
Westoe Colliery, 1993

Curators at South Shields Museum would like contributions from the public for an exhibition exploring the mining heritage of South Tyneside.

The exhibition will run from May 5 - September 29, marking 50 years since the closure of Whitburn Colliery and 25 years since the closure of South Tyneside’s last pit, Westoe Colliery.

Anyone who has any memorabilia connected with the mining industry in South Tyneside and would be willing to loan it to the museum for display in the exhibition, is urged to get in touch.

Curators are also seeking people willing to share any memories to create recordings of people’s reminiscences of mining in the borough.

Adam Bell, the museum’s assistant keeper of history said: “The exhibition we’re creating will celebrate the mining heritage of South Tyneside and how it has shaped and defined communities in this area, and still resonates through those communities today.

“If anyone has anything – any objects or memorabilia from their own experiences or any family heirlooms that they would be willing to share with us that we could loan for display then I’d really like to hear from them.”

Adam Bell can be contacted at or by calling the museum on Tel: 0191 211 5599.

The exhibition will explore the history behind the various pits that operated in the borough over the years including Harton, Boldon, St. Hilda, Westoe, Whitburn, Templetown, Hebburn, and Jarrow, as well as the stories of the miners and their families.

Also artworks by legendary local artist Bob Olley, who once worked at Whitburn Colliery, will feature prominently in the exhibition.

The exhibition will also look at the uses and value of coal, the technical challenges faced, the dangers and accidents, and its legacy today – for example the great network of underground tunnels beneath the ground and under the sea.