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After the coal has gone - Goldthorpe, UK.


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#1 paulmac

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 23:45

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Part of an ongoing project documenting life in the former coal mining areas of the UK.

 

I have been working on this project for a few years and these are some of my latest pictures taken at the beginning of March 2017 in the heartland former coal village of Goldthorpe in South Yorkshire UK.

 

The village had it's own pit and along with neighbouring Barnborough Colliery nearly all the men from the village worked "Down the Pit". The Coal Industry has now gone and the pits were closed in 1985 after the bitter year long Miners Strike. This ended over a hundred years of coal mining tradition where sons followed fathers and grandfathers down the pit which although often backbreaking work was all that was available in the area. It was a proud life and the village along with the whole area had a thriving community where everyone "looked out" for each other. The community spirit has survived but there is no work and people scratch a living anyway that they can.

 

These pictures are from the seconhand good auction that is held weekly at the local Greyhound Track. It is heartbreaking to see the sad sales of anything that might make the odd Pound or two. Anything is sold often for next to nothing. The portrait is of a Farrier from Barnborough Colliery and his job down the pit was to look after the horses who pulled the tubs of coal from the coalface to the pit bottom. He reminisced to me about how he loved his horses, knew them all by name and used to feed them mints which they loved to eat in the dusty conditions.

 

These people are still proud but have nothing and it embarrasses them that they are reduced selling their odds and sods like this.

 

I went on two occasions - the second time was after heavy rain and the area was a sea of mud but the sales went ahead with the goods just sat in all the mud and wet grass.

 

These pictures were for the most part made on a pair of Leica M8.2 cameras with 28mm Elmarit, 35mm Summicron, and 75mm Apo Summicron lenses. The few not made on M8.2's were on a Leica M9 with 50mm Summicron and 35mm Summicron lenses.

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Edited by paulmac, 21 March 2017 - 00:21.

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#2 paulmac

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 23:47

More pictures from the project.

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#3 paulmac

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 23:49

More pictures from the project.

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Edited by paulmac, 21 March 2017 - 00:01.

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#4 paulmac

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 23:50

More pictures from the project.

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Edited by paulmac, 20 March 2017 - 23:52.

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#5 paulmac

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 23:54

More pictures from the project.

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#6 paulmac

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 23:55

More pictures from the project.

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#7 paulmac

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 23:57

More pictures from the project.

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#8 paulmac

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 23:58

More pictures from the project.

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#9 david strachan

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 00:18

Some good pictures there Paul.  Sad though.

 

all best...


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#10 paulmac

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 01:17

Filling in the shaft with rubble at the closed pit.

 

Barnburgh Pit now long closed and the headgear removed.

 

Both Pictures Leica M6 with TRI-X film and 35mm Summicron and 21mm Elmarit lenses

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#11 stray cat

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 01:57

An extremely worthwhile - though it must overall be gut-wrenching - project to undertake, Paul - and wonderfully observed. Thank you for presenting it here. For me, the third group of images stands out. From this group particularly I get a real sense of the sadness and heartbreak - for lost ways - that some of the participants have had to get used to over the years.
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Cheers, Phil

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#12 Paul J

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 02:16

These are amazing Paul. It is truly a sad and unfortunate situation and you have photographed well, honestly and sensitively. Wonderful.

I particularly like the portrait, definitely one of your strengths, Paul! Is that the Farrier?
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Perception. Not perfection

#13 pico

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 02:24

Where is the coal, its production?

.


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Hell, I am in my own ignore file.

#14 Leica Fanatic

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 06:58

Where is the coal, its production?
.


There's still plenty of UK coal, just more economical to import it from places like Poland, for example. Nuts !!!
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STREET PHOTOGRAPHY BLOG

 

Plus ca change. Plus c'est la meme chose.

The more that things change. The more they stay the same.


#15 paulmac

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 10:06

These are amazing Paul. It is truly a sad and unfortunate situation and you have photographed well, honestly and sensitively. Wonderful.

I particularly like the portrait, definitely one of your strengths, Paul! Is that the Farrier?

 

Thank you for your comments Paul I really appreciate your feedback.

 

The portrait is indeed of the Farrier. He came from several generations of Miners and all his working life he had worked underground with the horses (pit ponies). 

 

He told me about his Grandfather who had started work at Hickleton Colliery for "Half a Crown" a week and had been on strike during the General Strike in 1926. 

 

As a teenager he had got drunk and trespassed on the railway tracks and been arrested by the Police and had to appear before Barnsley Magistrates and was fined 10 Shillings for being "Drunk and Disorderly with Trespass".

 

He spoke with real affection for his job and recalled that once a year the horses were brought up from the pit bottom and were allowed the freedom of the local meadows where they would leap and canter around in the sunshine.

 

They had stables at the pit bottom and other than the time when the pit was on it's annual holiday the horses were kept below ground for all their working lives. 


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#16 paulmac

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 10:50

There's still plenty of UK coal, just more economical to import it from places like Poland, for example. Nuts !!!

 

Coal is no more or being rapidly phased out in the UK.

 

This is how energy is now generated - by burning "Biofuel" which is actually wood pulp imported to Hull docks from the USA.

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#17 wda

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 11:02

Paul, show this series to the editors of LFI. It is just their choice of genre. If you have one post them a link to this series.
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#18 paulmac

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 11:13

Thank you David - I really appreciate your suggestion and you taking the trouble to think of this.

 

I was intending to send all the project to "The Guardian" for a feature in their Weekend magazine but the LFI is a great suggestion also.

 

The pictures here are shown at very low quality due to the numbers that would obviously take a massive amount of forum bandwidth and also to comply with the forum's size restrictions.

 

The original files are of course much higher quality and as always with the Leica M8.2 especially the resolution is amazing and really does justice to the Leica lenses especially the 75mm Apo Summicron.


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#19 Paul J

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 12:13

Excellent Paul. I'm sure most will at some point identify with the pictures even if somewhat foreign to their own experience. Most people know what it's like to loose a job at some point, or to feel the severe economic pressure, or even just the insecurity of our old age security and wellbeing. The thought of having to sell all their things off to get by is something that most are lucky enough to dodge. So they are powerful pictures that will tug at the heart strings of many.

Also the story of the pit ponies and their lives spent down the pit sadly mirrors the lives of all the people who worked down there. They are now set free, in a sense, but there is not much to leap and canter about with. These are tough dudes that is for sure.

Definitely show these around to the newspapers etc.
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Perception. Not perfection

#20 stunsworth

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 12:45

Where is the coal, its production?

.

 

It's still underground, millions and millions of tonnes of it.


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