The story behind the coal mines

Date Posted: 27/03/2013

Pit Profiles: Re-Profiled, an exhibition of miners’ portraits and their personal stories, will be on display at the Coalbrookdale Gallery in the Ironbridge Gorge, Shropshire from 21st June until the end of the year.

The collection is made up of contemporary photographs of colliery workers taken by Anton Want along with a selection of drawings of pit workers by H Andrew Freeth, originally published in the 1940s and 50s.

Art and coal mining – not such an unlikely collaboration

When the coal mining industry was nationalised in 1947, the National Coal Board (NCB) commissioned artists and began its own collection.

Among the first was Birmingham born H Andrew Freeth (1912–1986) who travelled through the coalfields drawing portraits of working miners.

These were published together with the men’s personal stories as Pit Profiles in the NCB’s monthly magazine COAL, between 1947 and 1952.

Pit Profiles: Re-Profiled is the result of a project jointly funded by the National Coal Mining Museum for England and Arts Council England.

Workshops, tours and activities for school groups

The Ironbridge Gorge Museums offers a wide range of sessions, tours, activities and resources for school groups of all ages. Individual workshop information and useful resources can be downloaded and education staff are available to help plan your visit.

For further school travel information visit

School Travel Organiser's Guide