2011 - Ongoing
England, United Kingdom
Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire in the British Midlands make up one of the largest former coalfield areas in the UK. The consecutive closure of coal mines throughout the 1980’s and 90’s profoundly changed Britain’s industrial landscape forever and left an industry responsible for driving Britain’s industrial revolution a pale shadow of itself. Coal communities were hit hard economically and socially, while the deregulation of financial markets caused an economic revolution in other parts of the country. I began photographing the people and places of the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire coalfields to capture culture and social life in the region thirty years on from the bitter 1984-85 miners’ strike and the beginning of the end to British coal mining.
Reminders of a thriving industrial past are all around in both the built environment and the dyed in the wool working class culture. I grew up in a Nottinghamshire mining town myself and like so many from the coalfields, come from a mining family. My Father was employed at the pits his entire working life and my Grandfather rose to become a colliery Deputy during his time. Throughout my journey I have trudged miles of former colliery railway lines linking village to village. I’ve encountered rock ’n’ roll fanatics and ballroom dancers, rabbit hunters and proud former and current miners, bingo callers and brass band players, among other dedicated people and community groups. Postindustrial recovery has been a long process and unemployment and health and well-being statistics indicate there is much work to be done. Nonetheless, cultural life dies hard and people, young and old, continue to be united by their passions — music, art, sports — and a commitment to their community.
In 2015 Thoresby colliery, the last remaining coal mine in Nottinghamshire ceased operating and closed along with Kellingley colliery in Yorkshire, putting an end to deep pit coal mining in Britain.