Joseph McQuiggan, far right, at Nettlesworth Colliery, County Durham in 1965. Image Credit: Photograph by John Bulmer
I was 15 when I began mining. I had my heart set on it, and left school on the Friday and started on the Monday. I began with screen work, separating the stones from the coal.
Before long, I’d been trained to go underground. It wasn’t claustrophobic – even when you’re working a seam that’s only 18 inches high. Typically, I’d work at the face, up against the rock, chiselling the coal out.
We’d go down clean and come back up covered in coal. Every 18 months, you got a chest x-ray to make sure you had no dust on your lungs. I was OK; I always wore a mask at the coalface.
When this photo was taken, I was around 23 years old; I’m on the far right, looking cheeky. I remember the photographer, John Bulmer – he was a young man, a lot like us. He’d say: “Forget I’m here, get on with your normal day,” and we did.
We’d go to the stables with the ponies from the pit and wash them down with a hosepipe, put them in their stalls and make sure they were fed and brushed; all the while, John was snapping away.
They are the most intelligent animals in the world – just marvellous to work with. The ponies helped carry the coal out to a landing point above ground.
I had a little one called Anchor. He was small and white. He led me a dance for about a month, but I persevered, and by the end, he’d do anything for me.
He was that good, sometimes I’d give him my sandwiches. I’d give him both of them and go without lunch, because he was earning the money for me.
The Isle of Man has never looked more beautiful than in the backdrop to these striking photographs of cleverly-balanced stones.
Adrian Gray, a world leader in the art of stone balancing, has been hard at work scanning the island in search of the best locations to put his honed skills to the test, with photographer Mikael Buckon hand to record the unbelievable results.
Gray takes his inspiration from his stunning natural environment and studies each stone carefully to fully understand weight distribution and how the shapes will fit together before building his monuments.
He was asked to create the sculptures after the Isle of Man’s government noticed his talent on Channel 4’s Grand Designs.
World famous graffiti artist Inkie got the spray cans out during a visit to the Custard Factory in Birmingham to campaign for the upcoming City of Colours Street Art Festival.
Inkie is one of the most renowned UK graffiti artists to have emerged from the 1980s Bristol Scene – where he finished second in the 1989 World Street Art Championship painting – alongside 3D and Banksy.
From large murals to quirky canvases the City of Colours festival took place across a number of venues to show off what street art has to offer.
I publish Harold Burdekin’s nocturnal photography of London as a celebration of darkness and the East End Riverside.
As you will have realised by now, I am a night bird. In the mornings, I stumble around in a bleary-eyed stupor of incomprehension and in the afternoons I wince at the sun.
But as darkness falls my brain begins to focus and, by the time others are heading to their beds, then I am growing alert and settling down to write.
Once I used to go on night rambles – to the railway stations to watch them loading the mail, to the markets to gawp at the hullabaloo and to Fleet Street to see the newspaper trucks rolling out with the early editions.
These days, such nocturnal excursions are rare unless for the sake of writing a story, yet I still feel the magnetic pull of the dark city streets beckoning, and so it was with a deep pleasure of recognition that I first gazed upon this magnificent series of inky photogravures of ”London Night” by Harold Burdekin from 1934 in the Bishopsgate Library.
For many years, it was a subject of wonder for me – as I lay awake in the small hours – to puzzle over the notion of whether the colours which the eye perceives in the night might be rendered in paint.
Continue reading via Harold Burdekin’s London Night | Spitalfields Life