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Pitman Painters: The group of talented Northumberland miners in the 1930s

Posted by Luci Ackers on 16 September 2016
Related property: Lucker
Pitman Painters: The group of talented Northumberland miners in the 1930s

The Ashington Group was a collection of artists based in Northumberland in the 1930s. Comprised of a collection of miners from the nearby Collieries of Woodhorn and Ellington, its members were initially part of the Workers' Educational Association, holding regular meetings in Ashington, a town on the coast under an hour away from Lucker.

Despite having no formal artistic training, the men developed a mutual love for painting and began to produce their own works. These paintings would come to be celebrated in the art world throughout the 30s and 40s and now a collection of their pieces resides in the Woodhorn museum (former colliery) for everyone to see.

The 'Pitman Painters', as they became known, were famous for their representations of real life. Their paintings showed 1930s and 1940s Northumberland as it was, they detailed the world surrounding their mining community, the townsfolk going about their everyday lives and scenes of working class streets and hobbies. They were admired for their truthful depiction of the world and their pictures tend to draw you right in to the hustle and bustle of the scenes.

The Woodhorn Museum, on the site of the original colliery in Ashington, still houses original buildings and equipment from its former years. It tells the story of the lives of the coal miners from along the Northumberland coast. There are different exhibits to enjoy and a permanent gallery dedicated to the work of the Pitman Painters. You can see a collection of more than 80 works that was compiled by the original members themselves over a number of years. This chosen selection seems to best represent the era they were painting in, the community they lived amongst and the hard work of the painters themselves.

The museum is open Wednesdays – Sundays throughout the year and Mondays and Tuesdays over school holidays and Bank Holiday Mondays. Take a look at the Woodhorn Museum website to plan your visit and see what's on.

To find Woodhorn from Lucker Hall take the A1 south. Ashington is off the A197.

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Luci Ackers

Luci Ackers

Luci loves getting out and about for a good cycle ride or easy-going walks in the countryside, and thoroughly enjoyed the time she previously spent working for the National Trust. Her love of writing started from a young age and on rainy days nothing beats curling up in a secret corner with a good book.

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