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Pit Profiles, Re-Profiled exhibition tells miners’ stories (25th March 2013)

Pit Profiles: Re-Profiled, an absorbing and thought-provoking exhibition of miners’ portraits and their personal stories, will be on display at the Coalbrookdale Gallery, adjacent to Enginuity in the Ironbridge Gorge, Shropshire. The exhibition will be open Monday to Friday, from Friday, 21 June until Tuesday, 31 December 2013.

The collection is made up of evocative contemporary photographs of colliery workers taken by Anton Want along with a selection of drawings of pit workers by H Andrew Freeth, originally published in the 1940s and ‘50s. Free to view, Pit Profile, Re-Profiled will be open Monday – Friday from 10am until 5pm,

People are often surprised to find close links between coal mining and art. When the industry was nationalised in 1947, the National Coal Board (NCB) commissioned artists and began its own collection. 

Among the first was Birmingham born H Andrew Freeth (1912–1986) who travelled through the coalfields drawing portraits of working miners. These were published together with the men’s personal stories as ‘Pit Profiles’ in the NCB’s monthly magazine COAL, between 1947 and 1952. Inspired by Freeth, internationally recognised photographer Anton Want created a modern-day ‘Pit Profile’ series at Kellingley Colliery, North Yorkshire. Like the original, his portraits and interviews offer an intimate portrayal of working colliery life but in the twenty-first century.

Between them, these two artists have created an important legacy, which honours one of Britain’s oldest industries and the people who have helped to shape it.

Pit Profiles: Re-Profiled is the result of a project jointly funded by the National Coal Mining Museum for England and Arts Council England.

For further information contact the Ironbridge Visitor Information Centre on Tel: 01952 433 424 or visit www.ironbridge.org.uk. The Gorge is easily reached via the M6 and M54 motorways exiting at Telford (M54 junction 4 or 6).