Miners to remember going down the pit

Gary Conley from St Helens Council at the gates of Sutton Manor Colliery
Gary Conley from St Helens Council at the gates of Sutton Manor Colliery

Miners and their families shared their memories of the pits to launch a new arts project looking at St Helens’ best-known industry.

The 30 Years of... project invited ex-colliers and their relatives to a reunion at Chester Lane Library to meet the artists behind the idea and bring along objects from their former industry.

The former miners shared their memories of the pits which closed three decades ago and brought along memorabilia including lamps, pit tallies, helmets, boots and snap tins.

The participants in the project will work with arts organisation Re-dock and MCQN to transform the industrial objects into art exhibits which glow, vibrate, move or trigger sounds and videos.

The artists will also speak to the families of the former colliers about how mining has shaped St Helens and the effect closing the pits has had on the area. Residents will also learn film-making skills and explore the creative use of electronics.

St Helens Council cabinet member for regeneration, housing, planning and community safety Coun Richard McCauley said: “For a small community like St Helens, the closure of the pits had a devastating effect, not just for the local economy but for the town’s residents.

“Some former miners never enjoyed full employment again. As a consequence many suffered both mental health problems and relationship breakdowns. On the other hand, many former miners forged very successful careers in other industries.”

For more information, ring Gary Conley at St Helens Council on 01744 677449.