A Sunderland snapper is asking former Seaham miners to come forward for a new book that he hopes will capture a way of life that’s gone forever. Alison Goulding reports.
ANTH Short is hoping his new project will capture stories of mining life for the next generation.
Two years ago, the 30-year-old spent months photographing miners, councillors and football teams from Murton for his first book, Hinny: In the Shadow of the Pit Wheel.
Now he is preparing the sequel, Marra: The Fall of the Pitman, which will be based on photos and interviews of former miners and their families still living in Seaham.
He said: “When I was photographing people for the last book they were filling me with stories and some were amazing.
“I wished I’d recorded them somehow.
“This time I hope to record all the craic and then just transcribe sections instead of re-writing it.
“The whole point is to record the language as well.
“It’s the same premise of a collection of photos but with a lot more writing.”
Anth grew up in Sunderland but moved to Murton two years ago.
He said: “Before I moved to Murton I’d never heard people say ‘Marra’ ‘Hinny’ and ‘Alright, Cock?’ so much.
“I noticed that the shops in Murton were dropping like flies and realised it was changing so much it would soon be nothing but houses and a Co-Op so I decided to take photos before it all went the way of the dodo.
“Everyone liked it except one guy who said there was nothing to read in it, this time even he should be happy.
“They’ve been sent all over to former Wearsiders who now live in America or Australia.”
For the new book, Anth will turn his attention to three mines: The Knack, Vane Tempest and Dawdon Colliery. He said: “All that’s left of any of them is the working men’s club, and even the Vane Tempest’s club has been demolished now.
“Coincidentally, I was walking past the Vane Tempest Working Men’s Club when they were pulling it down and I got in just before it came down and took some pictures of the shell.
“Now I’m looking for former workers to come forward and tell their stories, anyone who worked in any of those three pits who lives in Seaham.
“I’m looking for a good cross section, from the bottom of the ladder to the big cheeses and anyone who experienced the strikes.
“It’s a dying breed and there’s not much left of the mines. It’s the same as the shipyards. My dad worked there when I was a kid and one day he just didn’t anymore. There’s very little left of these places except run-down working men’s clubs and the miner’s hall. We were known for industry and I want to capture the dregs of it.
“There are lots of history books about the mines full of facts but I’m interested in the anecdotes, the craic about what it was like.”
l Anyone interested in appearing in the book can call 07903363015.
Applicants must be happy to have their photo taken in their home and to have a short interview recorded.
To find out more go to www.anthshort.co.uk