A new photographic exhibition digs deep into the lives of the area’s mining community, offering unique new insights into their personal stories.
Pit Profiles: Re-profiled has opened at the National Coal Mining Museum in Overton.
The exhibition features a series of portraits from the 1940s and 50s by painter H A Freeth, alongside their modern day photographic recreations of miners at Kellingley by artist Anton Want.
The project was inspired by the work of portrait painter Freeth, who died in 1986, who was the first artist to be commissioned by the National Coal Board.
The artist created his portraits of miners at Kellingley Colliery, the largest remaining deep mine in Yorkshire.
To put together the profiles, Freeth visited collieries across Britain, talking to and sketching miners.
Between 1947 and 1952, his portraits and stories were published in Coal, the National Coal Board’s monthly magazine, as a series called Pit Profile.
In 2011, the museum received support from Arts Council England to commission the award-winning photographer, Anton Want, to undertake a series of contemporary pit profiles.
Using photography and oral histories, Want has now created a modern-day Pit Profile series at Kellingley.
It is hoped Freeth’s original drawings and paintings, alongside Want’s photographs, will provide new insights into working colliery life across two centuries.
Echoing Freeth’s original monthly Pit Profile series, a selection of portraits from the exhibition will also be featured on the museum’s blog.
Visitors to the blog are encouraged to help the museum to discover more about the men in Freeth’s pictures. To log in go to www.ncm.org.uk/blog.
The exhibition can be viewed during museum opening hours from 10am to 5pm and entry is free. It runs until May.