August Miner of the Month: Ian Shortt AKA EEEEN

Posted on by Anita O'Donovan

August Miner of the Month: Ian Shortt AKA EEEEN

Each month we’ll be introducing you to our very own Miner Guides. We’ll delve in to their life in mining and discover just how they ended up at our Museum. 

Ian Shortt AKA EEEEN was encouraged to get a job by his father in November 1976, where he began his work in mining.

"I remember seeing pit ponies and cats underground at Ellington Colliery in the early 1990s."

Pit ponies were mainly used in coal mines in the 1800s and early to mid-1900s. They did a variety of jobs. The ponies were nearly always male and had to be at least four years old to work.

Because rats and mice were seen as pests, mine owners would try and control them in coal mines, with some pits keeping a cat in the stables, much like at Ellington Colliery where Ian worked. 

You can find out more about pit ponies in our latest special exhibition; The Path of the Ponies. 

"I eventually retied from real coal mining in 2014 and came with my wife on a visit to the Museum, and found there were miner jobs available.

"The best part of the job? That has to be working with the public. I really enjoy sharing my memories on underground tours."

Have you met EEEEN? Leave your comments below!


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Jane Rennecke

Thank you so much for your very entertaining & informative tour on Friday this week, Ian! We were particularly moved by your own personal experiences working down the mines, you made everything come to life for us how it must have been. How hard the conditions were/are, and dangerous. And yes we agree with you, every single life lost is a tragedy. We particularly enjoyed your amusing comments about German visitors, as you were probably unaware there were 3 of us from Germany with you on the tour...! We loved the way you explained things for the small children in the group, making everything so much more understandable for us older ones, too! Wishing you a great time in your new job at the museum. Best wishes from Germany!

Carole Simpson

I know Eeeen! He's great with the children and has the patience of a saint! Although sometimes when he speaks with his 'northern accent' I just don't know what he's talking about! Must be the Canadian in me...


Ian was our tour guide when we visited the museum! He was brilliant! Very funny and informative. And as a northerner myself I understood perfectly!

Geoff Horan

Great day out, made all the more entertaining by Een our underground tour guide. Above ground the extensive facilities were very good and informative, with excellent gift shops, historical backgrounds and a very good cafeteria.

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