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Woodhorn Museum & Northumberland Archives


Mining, Art, Regeneration

For more than 80 years Woodhorn was a coal mine. At its peak almost 2000 men worked at the pit and 600,000 tons of coal was produced each year. Production stopped in 1981. Today the site is the best surviving example of a late 19th/early 20thcentury colliery in the North East tradition.

Woodhorn became a museum in 1989 and later underwent major redevelopment reopening in October 2006.It tells the story of Northumberland through displays, miners' paintings, exhibitions and archives - indeed it is home to the County archives.

A major collection is the 80 paintings of the Ashington Group (Pitmen Painters). The Group was largely made up of coal miners and first came together in 1934 through the Workers Education Association to study 'something different' – art appreciation.

What they produced captured every aspect of life in and around the mine and their mining community. Their story was the inspiration for Lee Hall’s sell-out play “Pitmen Painters”. Today the Ashington Group is acclaimed worldwide and is an outstanding example of creativity in the North East flourishing under difficult circumstances.

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