Easington Colliery's pit community's past to be remembered with Bank Holiday picnic

A new festival is set to celebrate the mining heritage of County Durham this weekend.

Wednesday, 21st August 2019, 3:33 pm
Updated Thursday, 22nd August 2019, 2:41 pm
Families have been invited to join in the first Easington Miners' Picnic.

The Easington Miners’ Picnic is a free, family event featuring live music from traditional colliery bands and singers with children’s crafts, activities and food and drink stalls.

The festival is being held on the site of the former Easington Colliery at Easington Local Nature Reserve and will open at 11am on Saturday, August 24, and run through until 4pm.

It will be launched with a traditional miners’ banner parade accompanied by music from Easington Colliery Brass Band.

The National Trust, which helps look after the Durham Heritage Coast, is supporting the event.

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County-Durham based folk singer Jez Lowe, country artist Gem Andrews and the eclectic and energetic world-music troop The Baghdaddies complete the musical line-up.

Families can try their hands at flag and banner making, cookie creation, wool craft, face painting and nature walks with National Trust rangers.

Food and drink will be offered by The Miners Lamp, Flamingo Café, Tynemouth Coffee, Charlton’s Horsebox and Café Together.

There will be a pop-up exhibition curated by film and photography collective Amber Films featuring photographs and memorabilia celebrating Easington’s history and heritage.

Easington Colliery pictured in May 1993.

Festival organiser Michelle Harland, from Seaham-based Creative Youth Opportunities CIC, said: “The Easington Miners’ Picnic is a celebration of the community and an opportunity to bring together people across the generations to explore what Easington means to them.

“As well as commemorating Easington’s mining heritage and educating younger generations about the history of the village, the festival is an opportunity to look forward and celebrate the wonderful and unique natural landscape that has emerged from Country Durham’s industrial past.”

The event is supported by the National Trust as part of the national People's Landscapes programme, which explores the hidden histories of beautiful landscapes.

Eric Wilton, general manager for the National Trust Durham Coast, said: “We look after five miles of the dramatic Durham coastline which has emerged from its industrial past to become a haven for wildlife, including wildflowers and rare butterflies.

Easington Pit Head, photographed in May 1975.

“Once home to one of the biggest coal mines in Europe, at Easington, the former ‘black beaches’ were transformed by a massive clean-up project, Turning the Tide in the 1990s, but this landscape has been shaped by social as well as environmental change.”