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Culture of the coalfield celebrated in festival of mining literature and music

Newcastle's Mining Institute is to host a celebration of mining words and music over two Saturdays

Benny Graham
Benny Graham

The rich culture of the Great Northern Coalfield is to be celebrated in a festival of mining literature and music.

It is to take place, appropriately, at the Mining Institute on Westgate Road, Newcastle, over two successive Saturdays. All the events fall under the heading Mining the Institute.

John Crompton, president of the Institute, says the Great Northern Coalfield exported more than tools and expertise to emerging coalfields around the world.

Its people also carried their cultural heritage, values, belief systems and names – which is why there are so many Newcastles around the world.

Volunteers working with historian Bill Lancaster have been exploring this coalmining diaspora to see how people from this part of England literally changed the world.

The festival, John hopes, is a “fitting tribute to our forefathers and the families who worked the coalfield”.

It opens on Saturday (10.30am to 4pm) with the theme of mining literature.

A panel discussion chaired by Bill Lancaster will feature writers Michael Chaplin, Lee Hall and Tom Pickard. The afternoon session, Mining, Pitlife and Poetry, will also celebrate Newcastle’s Morden Tower which Tom Pickard helped to establish as a poetry venue nearly 50 years ago.

Saturday, June 28 will be dedicated to music. The afternoon session will feature piper Chris Ormston, the Blaydon Aces and folk singer Benny Graham.

Appearing in the evening session will be singer and song researcher Jude Murphy, an ensemble called Kiddar’s Luck and members of the famous Elliott family of Birtley.

Find festival details on www.mininginstitute.org.uk


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