A new exhibition marking the 70th anniversary of the Nationalisation of the coal industry opens at National Coal Mining Museum for England on 3 April 2017

‘By the People, For the People’ Exhibition 3 April - 6 December 2017

The National Coal Mining Museum for England is launching a major new exhibition: ‘By the People, For the People’ on 3 April at 10.30am. The exhibition will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Nationalisation of the coal industry.

The launch event pays tribute to the Vesting Day ceremonies held in 1947, when Britain’s mines were managed by the newly-created National Coal Board (NCB) – on behalf of the people.

An opening speech by the Museum Director, Mike Benson, will be followed by the raising of a vesting day flag designed by the winner of a schools’ competition from Headfield CofE Junior School in Dewsbury. The flag will remain in the Museum Pit Yard throughout the year.

The event will also feature poetry readings from the Museum’s Coalshed Poets along with composed songs and music from Heath View School, the English Folk Dance and Song Society and Wakefield Music Hub.

‘By the People, For the People’ explores the significance of how nationalising the coal industry changed the landscape of British mining forever. It also shows the number of different attitudes of the time and the impact of nationalisation, as one of Britain’s largest industries was placed under public ownership. Over 900 coal mines came under the control of the NCB, which oversaw production and development, regulated wages, introduced widespread safety and welfare reforms and invested heavily in technological improvements. It was described as “the great experiment of socialism” by the then new Labour Government.

The exhibition looks at the topics concerning this monumental change in British mining through a series of illustrations by Yorkshire-based artist, Nick Ellwood. These drawings depict key figures and events to tell the story of nationalisation and examine what it meant to miners and their communities.

To complement the exhibition, the team have also collected memories and testimonies of former miners and their families to provide personal insights and reflections.

The exhibition has been designed by Michael Lewis and Zosia Berkieta-Lewis from Leeds-based designers, The Archipelago and Nicola Moxon from Pure Design Consultancy.

Also included in the exhibition are 12 other colourful vesting day flag designs by pupils from Headfield C of E Junior School, Dewsbury Netherton Infant & Junior School, Wakefield and Horbury Bridge C of E E Junior and Infant Academy, Wakefield, which have been made into two montage flags. These will be hung in the exhibition space.

Mark Carlyle, who Co-Curated ‘By the People, For the People’ comments: “An important element of the creation of this exhibition has been a number of events during which ex-miners and their families have been encouraged to share their memories of nationalisation and the impact it had on their working and family lives, and their communities. This inclusive approach continues outside the exhibition with interactive boards on which visitors are invited to contribute their own views on nationalisation today. We are also continuing this discussion and debate online, using the hashtags #nationalisation and #JoinTheDebate.”

Mike Benson, Museum Director, comments : “As part of our focus on ‘keeping the stories of coal mining alive’, ‘By the People, For the People’ is a truly inspiring exhibition through which we have collected stories from people who remember what life was like before and during the nationalisation of the coal industry. The response from ex-miners, their families and visitors to the Museum over the last few months, along with the memories they’ve contributed, have been truly inspiring. We hope that this exhibition tells not only the political and economic story of nationalisation, but also captures and records the personal and individual stories too. Nationalisation has been met with degrees of opinions on the success and change it brought, but underlying all the views is the overwhelming sense of optimism that by working together with a common aim to benefit all, day to day life for mining communities and the welfare of the Nation would improve beyond measure. ‘By the People, For the People’ has been a collaborative effort, with the Museum concentrating on celebrating the optimistic values of work ambition and welfare, and to spark debate on how to learn from and be inspired by the past. It is these stories and values which will help strive to shape the world of work today.”

‘By the People, For the People’ exhibition runs until 6 December and will be accompanied by a programme of special events throughout the year, including the Caphouse Coal Race, a Whit Walk, Seaside at the Pit, a Traditional Sports Day, a Cultural Olympiad and The Great Debate. The events programme will also include specially commissioned works including ‘We Also Served’ youth theatre in partnership with Wakefield Theatre Royal over the Easter weekend and later in the year, a play by writer Ray Castleton and an exciting dance theatre production by Whispering Woods.

For information about the exhibition, visit www.ncm.org.uk/exhibitions/by-the-people-for-the-people or call 01924 848806.

For press information, images and interview requests please contact Sarah White at the Museum: marketing.assistant@ncm.org.uk; 01924 848806 ENDS

Editor’s notes:

‘By the People, For the People’ Exhibition 3 April – 6 December 2017 The exhibition ‘By the People, For the People’ opens on 3 April and runs until 6 December, with a programme of special events throughout the year. 70 years on from the creation of the National Coal Board, the National Coal Mining Museum for England will be examining how nationalisation changed the landscape of British mining forever. Visitors are invited to participate by submitting their comments and thoughts around nationalisation using the interactive boards at the museum as well as share their opinion online using the hashtags #nationalisation and #JoinTheDebate.

Artist Bio, Nick Ellwood:

Nick studied at Middlesex University & the Chelsea School of Art. Fascinated by the behaviours, quirks and characteristics in us all, Nick develops his carefully observed line drawings through both traditional and digital media to help tell and celebrate the stories of today. www.nickellwood.co.uk

The Archipelago

The branding for the exhibition developed out of the wonderful photography of Harold White and our research into the typography, publications, posters and other printed materials from the era. In an iconic photograph White captured a miner looking up at a newly installed NCB sign outside his pit. These signs appeared outside every pit following nationalisation and the typography and framing inspired the logo for the exhibition. The exhibition design is bold and striking in its colour scheme and typography but also pared back in its arrangement. This is to allow the large scale illustrations and murals by illustrator Nick Ellwood to take centre stage and tell the story of the nationalisation of the coal industry.

Pure DC

In terms of the spatial design for the exhibition we were really keen to develop an interactive experience in which the visitor can become a part of the exhibition itself, physically engaging with the illustrations and story being told. By creating a sense of intrigue and exploration through the use of conductive ink we were able to create tactile, interactive surfaces in addition to carefully positioned props and accessory details to bring a 3 dimensional aspect to the content.

Admission to the Museum and the exhibition is FREE

 Free car and coach parking

 Opening hours: 10.00am – 5.00pm daily except for 24-26 December and 1 January

 Café open 10am – 4.30pm daily

 Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times

 Please arrive early to book onto an underground tour, as at busy periods tours are often fully booked by midday

 Temperature underground is 12C; we strongly recommend warm practical clothing and sensible flat shoes. Unfortunately children under five years old are not permitted on the underground tour

 Indoor play area for children under fives.

 Disabled facilities include level parking, ramp and disabled toilets with underground tours also available with prior arrangement

For more information please call the Museum on 01924 848806 or email info@ncm.org.uk or visit the website at www.ncm.org.uk

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