An excited group of 13 East Durham residents met at the Horden Heritage Centre and Vintage Tea Rooms on the 6th March for a quick breakfast before heading off to the new Mining Art Gallery in Bishop Auckland. The gallery is a permanent home for the renowned Gemini Collection of Mining Art, which includes more than 420 works by prominent local artists such as Tom McGuinness and Norman Cornish.
The powerful artwork on display showed the conditions in the mines, as well as miners social and home life at the time. We were given a fantastic tour by gallery member of staff Gordon who was very knowledgeable about the stories behind each artwork and helped shed light on why some miners felt it necessary to paint the world they saw around them. The artwork stirred a lot of memories in the group, many of whom had mining heritage or direct experience of the scenes depicted. The poignant images prompted the group to share these memories and tell stories passed down from family members. We were made to feel very welcome at the gallery by all of the staff and the whole experience was really enjoyable. The group came away buzzing with ideas about how and where something like this could work in East Durham in order to showcase our own mining inspired art.
We then hopped on the bus back to the Horden Heritage Centre and Vintage Tea Rooms where we were treated to a delicious lunch and look around the mining memorabilia they have collected there.
To finish the day author Ethel Stirman read a chapter from her book ‘Not a Minute on the Day: A Story of Life in the Durham Coalfields’. The Horden Heritage centre was the perfect venue to set the scene for her story.
East Durham Trust
T: 0191 5693511