Mining history showcased in new exhibition
A new exhibition showcasing the mining history of the region is on display to mark 25 years since the closure of the last County Durham pits.
Miners: Pitmen, Pride and Prayer is a new temporary exhibition within Open Treasure, Durham Cathedral’s exhibition experience.
It will run until Saturday, September 15, featuring artefacts, documents and photographs to tell the stories of the area’s mining past.
This year marks 25 years since the last County Durham collieries closed, with the closure of Easington and Vane Tempest pits in 1993.
Durham is often called the Miners’ Cathedral and has played an important part in the history and spirit of the local mining communities, which still thrives today with the annual Miners’ Festival Service on Miners’ Gala day each July.
Many Bishops of Durham throughout the 20th Century have shown support for the plight of the miners in the North East, and continue to bless the colliery banners at the Miners’ Festival Service.
The exhibition highlights the efforts of Bishops such as Handley Moule, who wrote a miners’ hymn, and David Jenkins, who spoke out during the Miners’ Strike of the 1980s, commending the strength of the community and calling for a humane resolution.
It also includes colliery banners, original tools, equipment and the innovative lamps that track significant moments in the technological history and development of the industry.
The last piece of coal to be mined from the Bearpark Colliery, which closed in 1984, after 112 years of operation is also on show.
Durham Cathedral’s Education Team has been working with communities within the Trimdons and local artist Wendy Stoker from MADE in England on an inter-generational project.
Marie-Thérèse Mayne, exhibitions officer at Durham Cathedral, and curator of the exhibition, said: “We are delighted to present Miners: Pitmen, Pride and Prayer as the latest in our series of Open Treasure temporary exhibitions.
“It comes at a key moment in the history of mining, and there are many fascinating artefacts and documents for visitors to enjoy and discover.
“The exhibition perpetuates the lasting legacy of hard work, sacrifice, and dedication of many, and allows a new generation of visitors to learn about an integral part of the region’s history.”
Tickets for the whole Open Treasure exhibition experience cost £2.50 - £7.50. The exhibition isopen Monday to Saturday, 10am–5pm and Sundays, 12.30pm–5pm.