Thursday, 25 June 2009

The Big Debate

In 2004 I was given a book of ironstone mining rules, it had been found in the mine managers house at the old Whitecliffe mine. The first rule read "After the 1st July 1861, it shall not be lawful for the owner of any mine or colliery, to employ any male person under the age of twelve years. A boy above the age of ten years and under the age of twelve years, may be employed in a mine or colliery upon either of the following conditions, that is to say:- that before any such boy is so employed the owner of the mine shall,obtain a certificate under the hand of a competent schoolmaster that such a boy is able to read and write; Or, That the owner shall obtain a certificate under the hand of a competent schoolmaster that such a boy has attended school for not less than three hours a day for two days in each week."

In 2005 I became a volunteer at the Ryedale Folk Museum and with the help of Leavening Primary School, we used the above rule to help us make a film about trappy lads going to school. The film can be seen on the Ryedale Folk Museum website;

Photographs from the film

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

The Accident

In 2003 we worked with 20 children from Hummersea Primary School, Loftus and made a film called The Accident, the film was based on one of the stories from the East Cleveland Memories project,about hero "Abe." The film won the Roots and Wings award, the award was presented to us in The Royal Society of Arts building in London by Estelle Morris M.P. Minister for the Arts and by Loyd Grossman.

Photos from the film, premiere and the award.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

East Cleveland Memories

In 2001 I was one of five volunteers who started an oral history group called East Cleveland Memories. We recorded stories of local people, and with the help of a local museum and a Newcastle based group called Tomorrow's History, we put some of these stories on the Internet. With the help of a printer from the local church, we published 300 hundred books.

Hear some of the stories on the Tomorrow's History website;

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Demonstration Day

In 1847 ironstone was discovered in Cleveland, and men came to work in the mines from all over Britain. Because of their different accents and cultures many of the men didn't get on, they found it difficult to unite and ask the mine owners for better conditions. In 1872, with the help of Joseph Shepherd, the men started the Cleveland Ironstone Miners Union and held their first Demonstration (gala) day, on the first of May that year. In 2004 a group of volunteers, including 350 children and young people from the Loftus area, made a film about events leading up to, and including the Cleveland ironstone miners first Demonstration Day.
Hummersea - Loftus Juniors - St. Josephs - Whitecliffe - Schools
Freebrough College (Rosecroft) - Banners
Lockwood Primary School - Sword Dancing
Neil Scarth - Ben Moore - Film Makers
Mick Benson - Volunteer Storyteller - Executive Producer

Eighty photographs and music from the film.
(1) Cleveland Iron By Jez Lowe.
(2) The Lord Is My Shepherd by Cleveland Police Brass Band.
(3) Sixteen Tons by Radical Mass and Frigile Minds.