We are proud to present ‘Coal Town’, a new exhibition of work made over several decades by social documentary photographer Mik Critchlow (b. 1955). ‘Coal Town’ is a remarkable long form project, through which Mik continues to document his home town of Ashington.
Mik began photographing Ashington in 1977, after seeing an exhibition by The Ashington Group of artists (also known as the Pitman Painters). The Ashington Group were a group of working men who came together to make art in the 1930’s through an adult education programme.
“They recorded their lives with such honesty, painting the ordinary, the mundane, the everyday and put it all down on paper or canvas or hardboard. I’d never heard of them but they showed me that ordinary people’s lives could be important and could be seen as art.” Mik Critchlow
‘Coal Town’ has deep connections with the Woodhorn Museum site and Mik’s grandfather worked here as a miner for 52 years. Woodhorn Colliery was one of the last remaining working collieries in the late 1970’s that Mik was able to access and document in the early years of this project. ‘Coal Town’ goes on to capture the end of the coal mining industry in Ashington, and the immediate and long-term impact of the loss of the industry on the town’s people, places, and community.
You can view more of Mik’s work by visiting his website mikcritchlow.com.
This exhibition is on display until the 6th March 2022 and included within your Annual Pass.
Woodhorn Museum is open 10am-4pm Wednesday to Sunday during school term time and every day during the school holidays.
This exhibition has been made possible with public funding from Arts Council England and Northumberland County Council.