By Peter Lazenby in Britain:
Lives of industrial workers celebrated in Manchester
Monday 8th February 2016
THE story of the lives of industrial workers spanning two centuries is the subject of an exhibition which opened at the weekend at the People’s History Museum in Manchester.
Grafters: Industrial Society in Image and Words centres on photographs taken of working people from the 1840s to present times.
And the latest is a photo taken of workers on the last shift at Kellingley colliery, Britain’s last deep coalmine, which closed on December 18 2015.
“Grafters is so much more than a memorial to industrial life, it offers an evolutionary record of working life,” explained museum head Chris Burgess.
“With the final death of coalmining, and seemingly ever more redundancies in the steel industry, Grafters questions what the term ‘work,’ and pride in it, means in 21st-century Britain.”
As well as working life, the photos also capture communities at leisure.
One shows miners playing ring o’ roses with their children in the streets surrounding Fryston colliery in West Yorkshire in the 1940s.
The curator of the exhibition is Ian Beesley, award-winning and internationally acclaimed artist and photographer, who is from an industrial background.
After leaving school he worked in a mill, a foundry and eventually a sewage works during the early 1970s.
He became interested in photography and started by photographing his colleagues and the environment in which he was working.
“I became aware that the majority of contemporary and historical photographs of industry I saw bore little or no resemblance to my experience of industry,” he said.
“Grafters is an attempt to understand the history and development of this troubled relationship, from its beginnings in the 1840s through to the present day.”
To accompany the images, the museum has commissioned a series of new poems from writer, poet and broadcaster Ian McMillan which seek to give a voice to the mostly unknown workers photographed.
More information from http://www.phm.org.uk. The exhibition runs to February 14.
The museum Internet site says it runs to August 16.