This series of photographs explores the reinvented uses of ex colliery sites in and around the former coal mining stronghold of Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. The project also seeks to examine the current milieu of the area, particularly in relation to its post-industrial recovery. I myself grew up in the town and like so many from Mansfield, come from a mining family - my Father working at the pits all his life and my Grandfather a Deputy at nearby Sutton Colliery during his time. Taking shape through the impression of my memories, cultural background and experienced perception of Mansfield, this has been and remains to be a very personal project that speaks of my own roots and sense of belonging. I have walked at dawn, collar high and camera clenched, along contours of buried coal seams. At Pleasley I wandered amongst sapling silver birch and foraged fungi on the wood stock yard. Then, followed beaten paths winding through Brinsley and Brierley and climbed mounds once sculpted of black spoil. Moved by the stories of ex miners and inspired by the work of young people in Newstead, how bitter sweet it is to tread the exhausted ground, revived.
This body of work is part of a wider project involving 8 artists of varying different practices inquiring into Mansfield’s current socioeconomic climate given the prolonged period of volatility sparked by the withdrawal of its primary industry in the early 1990’s.
My late Granddad’s Deputy stick (used for picking and measuring), lantern and desk sign along with a photograph of him soon before his death.
Playing Bingo, alone - Boothy's Working Mens Club, Mansfield
"Jack Daniels", a former pit worker, preparing to go on stage as Elvis - Boothy's Working Mens Club, Mansfield
Old pit housing boarded up ready for demolition - Pleasley Village
Homeless man's tent - Newstead and Annesley Country Park, former Newstead Colliery
Derelict headstocks - former Clipstone Colliery
Ex miner and miners rescue serviceman turned performance poet and storyteller
Local teenagers in the community mini bus - Newstead Village
A mother out on a walk with her two sons - Brierley Country Park, former Sutton Colliery
Boy's names carved into rocks - former Mansfield Woodhouse Colliery
Briony waiting for friends - former Mansfield Woodhouse Colliery
Walking trail posts - Brierley Country Park, former Sutton Colliery
Opulent light on the trail - Brinsley Nature Reserve, former Brinsley Colliery
Reveller at Headstock music festival - Newstead and Annesley Country Park, former Newstead Colliery
Flamboyant performers at Headstock Festival - Newstead and Annesley Country Park, former Newstead Colliery
Hunting for rabbit - Newstead and Annesley Country Park, former Newstead Colliery
Fungi forage on the old wood stock yard - Pleasley Pit Nature Reserve, former Pleasley Colliery
A member of the Pleasley Pit Nature Study Group
Fungi collected from the forage - Pleasley Pit Nature Reserve, former Pleasley Colliery
Dogs and their owners playing in the snow - Pleasley Pit Nature Reserve, former Pleasley Colliery