A Low Bright Seam (2014)
(Video and C-type photographic prints)
“You see I’m so used to it I should miss it. No; and I like the pits here and there. I like the rows of trucks and the headstocks, and the steam in the daytime, and the lights at night. When I was a boy, I always thought a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night was a pit, with its steam and it’s lights and the burning bank, and I thought the Lord was always at the pit-top.”
DH Lawrence, Sons and Lovers (1913).
This work has been created in response to a landscape of colliery lagoons and spoil heaps close to the former mining villages of Newstead and Annesley in Nottinghamshire. The landscape is a physical reminder of the once profitable coal industry in the area, and comprises spoil heaps from both collieries and a system of lagoons designed to manage toxic water which migrated into the workings at Annesley from across the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire coalfield. I am fascinated by the landscape itself as a product of labour and also as a link to the vast underground spaces of the pit, which are now inaccessible except through memory.
All photographic and audio material recorded in and around Newstead and Annesley Country Park, interviews are with former miners from Newstead Colliery. I would like to thank all the people who have shared their memories and knowledge of this landscape with me, in particular Bob Collier, David Amos and Ian Flint.
DH Lawrence ‘Sons and Lovers’ p278, Wordsworth Editions 1992 first published 1913.
This page features a small series of photographs and some stills from the film which featured footage of the lagoons system overlayed with interviews with miners from Newstead colliery about their work underground. In addition to working on this project I also ran a heritage lottery funded project connected to Newstead and Annesley country park more details can be found on the heritage website which I developed as part of the project here.