As you drive along the relief road through the City Fields development area it can be hard to imagine the full extent of history that this landscape holds. The Dreaming Streaming digital arts and archive project is exploring the area’s heritage through workshops and events.
Apart from a half pit wheel marking the site, a sealed pit shaft and some gates there is little left to show, that just down from Eastmoor Estate was Parkhill Colliery.
Parkhill Colliery was a family pit with a close-knit local workforce. The pit closed in 1982 with many miners redeployed to other mines in the Yorkshire Coalfields. We invited ex-Parkhill colliers and others associated with the Pit to come along to The Red Shed in Wakefield to share some of their stories on film.
We arrived 35 minutes early to set up and were overjoyed to find a group of men already waiting. Their enthusiasm and high spirits for the gathering were met with the Red Shed kindly opening the bar for us. The Red Shed filled up quickly, luckily, we had plenty of cakes to go around!
The session started with us looking at City Fields plans and talking about how the area is changing. Like many ex-miners I’ve been lucky enough to work with over the years, the participants at this session all had a strong desire to share their stories and celebrate the heritage of this once great industry.
Wakefield’s current Mayor, Cllr Stuart Heptinstall whose whole career has been in mining, and a former Parkhill electrician was the first volunteer to be recorded. For three nonstop hours stories by numerous participants were filmed and interviews conducted. They were funny, insightful, reflective, poignant and inspiring – just like the contributors.
Participants brought memorabilia, artwork, photos and lamps, and publications, which were carefully captured. Dreaming Streaming is also working with and engaging people from neighbouring communities to the City Fields site, and it was great to capture memories of Eastmoor as well – many of the group grew up on the estate or lived there whilst working at the Pit.
It was a great session, thank you to everyone who supported and attended this event, and to the Red Shed for hospitality. The material gathered will be edited and available online later in the year through the Dreaming Streaming website archive. Previews will also be shown at community events and workshops.
On Tuesday 4th September we are holding a drop-in session at St Swithuns Community Centre between 1.30 – 4.00pm where will be showing some film extracts from the Parkhill interviews, and inviting people to drop in and find out more about the Dreaming Streaming project and City Fields.
To follow the project on social media use #DreamingStreaming. For more information please call Judi on 07901 6862142 or email firstname.lastname@example.org