From 25th -29th June our reading room exhibition will ‘pop up’ once again in a former hub of workers’ education and reading room activities. This time, we’ll be in Ashington, the home of the pitman painters.

The exhibition will open on Monday 25th June at Ashington Life Centre and will culminate in a special event celebrating the continuing vibrancy of Ashington’s heritage and cultural life.

Ashington Reading Room poster updated

The event will kick off with a guided walk of the Ashington Colliery Heritage Trail, led by local historian Neil Taylor.

Within the exhibition space on the first floor of the Life Centre, there’ll be displays by local arts groups and sports clubs, a 1920s-themed tea-room, live music by Bethany Elen Coyle and others.

And we have three fascinating talks:

1:00pm – The Lyons Roar. Actor Viktoria Kay tells the story of Mary Lyons, who from 1917-1921 was a women’s football legend for Blyth Spartans and Palmer’s Munitionettes.

2:30pm – talk by Nigel Todd about Chester Armstrong, the Ashington pitman who wrote the 1938 autobiography Pilgrimage to Nenthead.

3:45pm – Dave Harker explores some Geordie songwriters and music hall greats, building on his excellent books on Joe Wilson, Ned Corvan and Billy Purvis.

This will be a very special event, coinciding with the Great Exhibition of the North and exploring the need for more grassroots representation and regionwide activity highlighted by The OTHER Exhibition of the North.

Apart from anything else, it’s going to be a lot of fun in a lovely, friendly venue. Come and spend some time with us!