The town of Biddulph, formerly a mining community, now shows no signs of its past and is known for its award winning flower displays and gardens, but there are still many people living in the town who were miners themselves and who remember what it was like to work underground in very challenging conditions or who are the sons and daughters or grandchildren of miners, who may or may not remember what it was like to be surrounded by the coal tips and dust that the mines were responsible for.
Many people in Biddulph and district feel that it is important that their history is remembered and a heritage day is being planned by Arts at the Centre, Friends of Chatterley Whitfield and Biddulph and District Genealogical and Historical Society (BDGHS). This will an exhibition of paintings, drawings, maps, books, photographs and artefacts related to the coal mining industry.
Art work by miner’s daughter, Joan Axson is the starting point for the exhibition which takes place in November. Joan is keen to have the work of miners celebrated because of her family connections and because the country’s economy once depended on their industry. She is currently writing up explanations of her work which relates to her childhood memories of life in Biddulph during the 40s and 50s and to which many families can relate.
The exhibition will take place at the Victoria Centre – itself named after the local pit – in Station Road, Biddulph, between Tuesday 19th November and Saturday 23rd November. Opening times are Tuesdays 19th November 2-5pm, Wednesday 20th and 27th 10- 2.15. On Saturday 23rd a special day is planned when items on loan from Friends of Chatterley Whitefield will be shown. As well as items associated with the industry – lamps, tools, fossils and COAL. There will also be the chance to see John Ball’s landscape painting of Chatterley Whitefield as seen on the Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the year 2016. Ex-miners and experts will be on hand to answer questions and historical films of the industry will be shown through out the day. Archive material about the industry has been loaned for the day by BDGHS whose members will have a great range of local history books on show and to sell. Friends of Chatterley Whitefield will also have gifts that are memories of the industry – miniature miners’ lamps for example. The exhibition of paintings will also open on Saturday 30th November 10.30 – 1pm.
All will be welcome to come and see what is on show. Admission is free. There is convenient parking and good disabled access. We will be especially pleased to welcome accompanied children who no longer recognise coal and would like to learn more about the industry which brought the town of Biddulph into being! Anyone who feel that they contribute with memories of their own should contact the organisers on 01782 518684 or the Victoria Centre 01782 513218.