Hello! and welcome to our project blog. Please read this post first.



, , , , ,

Mine’s a Story is an exciting new creative heritage project exploring the human stories of living in a mining area.

The project is being run by Skippko, the Leeds-based community arts company, and Rothwell and District Live at Home Scheme, who support older people in Rothwell and the surrounding area.

During creative workshop sessions in Rothwell we will be collecting personal memories as well as photographs and writings from people who remember the area when the mines (pits) were open.  The older people taking part will be able to work with community artists (no artistic skill required!) to create a banner in the style of the old Miners’ and Trades Unions’ banners.

The banner will tell the story as told by the people contributing to the project and it is intended that on completion it will be hung in a community venue for everyone to enjoy.

The first part of the project will be older people coming together to share their stories and explore their heritage. We will ask questions such as how did mining affect family life? What were people’s daily lives like? What was the role of women in the mining community?  What makes Rothwell distinctive? How did the pit closures affect the community? The second part of the project will be intergenerational sessions with school children where they can learn first hand through older peoples’ real life stories and bring their heritage to life.

This blog will tell the story of the project, in pictures and text, and we are hoping that lots of people will want to contribute.

So feel free to look around, add comments and send us your pictures and stories about the pits in Rothwell.

(The photo above shows detail from a banner in the People’s History Museum in Manchester.)


Celebration time


, ,

celebration 001

Today’s final ‘Mines A Story’ session at Blackburn Hall was a time to celebrate the fantastic achievements of members of the Rothwell and District Live at Home Scheme and the beautiful banner which they have created over the last 20 weeks!

celebration 031

Family, friends and colleagues joined us for a morning of fun and cake eating!

Lesley began by thanking everyone involved and speaking about how the project had evolved.

Each of the group was presented with a certificate, one of them said that it was her very first certificate!


celebration 041

The group were very touched by the comments which the children had written on postcards and sealed in envelopes for them to open today

celebration 030

Then onto the cake cutting – Moira and Doreen do the honours!

celebration 042

celebration 044

And finally…..thanks to Lesley for all her hard work organising the celebration and for all the cups of tea she has made over the last 20 weeks!  Thanks too, of course, to our dedicated team of ladies turning up to the sessions each Friday come rain or shine and with buckets of enthusiasm and skills, and to the Skippko team, who have loved every minute of it too!

Rothwell by the Sea


, , , , ,


“Oh we do like to be beside the seaside…..”  especially on a sweltering hot July Saturday at Rothwell carnival!  This this year’s theme was ‘Rothwell By the Sea’ complete with its own beach and even donkey rides !

carnival 028

Rothwell and District Live at Home Scheme had 2 gazebos, one for their fantastic tombola, with prizes galore and the adjacent one was for us to show the banners off to everyone in Rothwell.  They looked very impressive and many of the group and the school children brought their families along to see the work. We even had councillors and the Lady Mayoress drop by to admire the artwork.

carnival 021carnival 023carnival 018


Passers by had the opportunity to decorate bunting with the things that they love about Rothwell. The bunting grew and grew until by the end of the afternoon we had enough to wrap around the entire gazebo!

carnival 005 carnival 027



Everyone had a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon at Rothwell by the Sea!

Another poem from Jean……



Busy with a needle and cotton

Crochet hooks and wool

Printing, painting and decorating,

These are the projects the children have done.

And now they are working on their own ‘special banner’

And addressing each task in a perfect manner.


We are pleased to have worked with them

And hope they are too

‘Young ‘ and ‘old’ can work together

And we would like to say a big ‘thank you’.













, ,

Strange title for this weeks blog – all will be revealed once the next of Jeans poems is uploaded – will leave you wondering for now though…..!

Today was our final session with the Year 6 children from Rothwell Primary School. As always the session went like clockwork with all the adults playing their parts – everyone briefed over a cuppa and ready for a busy hour and a half of fun!

school 4 002The session began with a poem which Jean was inspired to write after spending the first session with the children a few weeks ago (see later post to read her poem)

This week we had lots of activities, all working towards completing the trio of banners. Jean, Mavis, Sylvia and Doreen all helped the children finish their motifs and sew them onto the backgrounds.

school 4 011 school 4 008 school 4 007 school 4 006 school 4 028

Ann and Moira helped the children to think of  words beginning with the letters of ROTHWELL – an acrostic which could then be added to each of the 3 banners.

Words and phrases included: R = rural, rhubarb, River Dolphin. O =  old church, opportunities, outstanding views. T = transport links, traditions, trams, terraced houses.  H = history, happy people. W = war memorial. E = everlasting friendship. L = Lovely people, laughter and lovely surroundings.

school 4 020

school 4 030

school 4 019

The children were given the opportunity to write a postcard to the adults saying what they had valued about spending time together. Their thoughts were sealed in envelopes and will be shared with the group at our final celebratory session next week.

school 4 024

Kathleen and Kairen were in crochet corner! The children had a go at creating  a simple crocheted chain which made fabulous bracelets.

school 4 040

Just time at the end for Jeans ‘LAH LAS’ poem and for Amelia to show us all some Dolly Blue that her Grandma had sent for us to see.

school 4 032

The proud group and their lovely banners

school 4 043

Children waving Goodbye to the group



, , , , , ,

school 3 047

‘Awesome’, ‘epic ‘and ‘fun’ were the words the children used to tell the group how they had felt about today’s session.

The session revolved around sewing the felt motifs we’d created of Rothwell wildlife, so a great deal of patience was required from both the children and adults!

school 3 002 school 3 017

school 3 010

“I was impressed with the children’s stitching” said one group member; “they surprised me” said another. “One of the girls had been shown satin stitch by her Grandma”.

school 3 003

Olive worked with two children at a time to demonstrate how to crochet a flower, passing on her skill to another generation.

school 3 011

Ann and Moira assisted the children with decorating in between the fabric prints using fabric pens

school 3 005

school 3 030

school 3 031

Even teachers get to play sometimes!

To finish off Jean shared her poem about her childhood memories of her Dad when he was a Miner. The children listened attentively and at the end gave her a big round of applause!school 3 045

It was a great session with time to talk this week although ”Please can you thread my needle?” was definitely the phrase of the day though!

“I have loved every minute of it” said Doreen who would love to go into school and help “I love reading stories”

Welcome back….


, , ,

We were pleased to welcome Liz, from Leeds Museum Discovery Centre, to our second schools session today. She brought with her some of the amazing objects which we had seen when we visited the Discovery Centre a few weeks ago.

school 2 004

Some of the objects were passed around to get a closer look, including a boars tusk (not the Rothwell Boar though!)

school 2 006 school 2 008 school 2 007And a selection of old glass slides showing scenes from mines and pit life in Leeds collieries.

school 2 027

The children got a chance to draw their favourite object close up and some of the adults joined in too.

school 2 018 school 2 015

One child commented “Your drawing is ace, Jean!”

‘Quick print’ is a technique that we had tried at one of our first sessions, so the adults were quite confident that they could assist the children in this activity.

school 2 017

Working from drawings the children had done at the first session, they created a simple motif to be printed onto fabric.

school 2 012

They will be used as a border for the childrens banner.school 2 031

school 2 030

Everyone was asked to name some kind of Rothwell wildlife – we had spiders, bees, butterflies, worms, ants, dolphins, cats. owls. squirrels, cows, pigs and even hamsters suggested. Each of the children drew a simple outline shape to make a paper pattern from, which could then be cut from felt.

school 2 021

To round off the session the children shared highlights from their recent trip to the Beamish Museum. A lovely interaction between the group and the children as most of the group members had visited the Beamish Museum too – so everyone had chance to share their favourite bit.

school 2 033

Here are a few  – the money tube,  Victorian School room, coin clipping, the miners canary, the sweet shop and the tram.

Shearman’s Emporium, a second poem from Jean

Shearman’s Emporium


To pay a visit to ‘Shearman’s’ was a sight to see

It was a magical experience – don’t you agree


Behind the solid wood counter was a very large unit

And the ladies certainly knew what was in it.

When the brass knobbed drawers opened to meet the eye

You saw a well organised selection for your DIY.

There were nuts and bolts and screws galore,

Nails and hinges and locks for your door.

Wrapped neatly in newspaper for you to take home

And the smallest of items in a paper shaped cone.


As Monday was washing day, you could get Dolly Blue,

Washing soda, soap flakes and a peg or two.

There were ‘possers’ and peggy tubs, bucket and mop

Dusters, floor cloths and even a prop.


Tuesday for the ironing, you could buy a new ‘flat’

So you could then press the brim of your best felt hat.


On Wednesday you bought groceries –

But on your way, you may need something for baking day.

They sold enamel pie plates, dishes and tins,

Pudding basins, canisters and even breadbins.


Friday was usually ‘black leading’ time

So you used Zebo and Brasso to make the ‘range’ shine.

All these items could be bought in their store

Also a ‘Donkey Stone’ and brushes galore.

Friday was bath night, they sold ‘Tin’ ones too

And would deliver by horse and cart especially for you.


Saturday may be gardening

And they sold tools for the job,

Good quality spades, rakes and trowels, for just a few bob.


There were many more items the ladies did sell

So we say ‘thankyou’ to them for serving Rothwell so well.

Never too old to learn a new skill


, , , ,

We had a new teacher today, Kairen, one of the Rothwell Live at Home Scheme members, who showed us all how to crochet mini flowers!

Now that we are all trained up we are going to pass-on our new found skill to the children in a later session. (We’ve plans to get all the children sewing too!)

week 15 007 week 15 005“You are never too old to learn a new skill” said Kathleen and at today’s session we learnt two – crochet and silk painting!

week 15 009

We flooded the silk with lots of colour before using ‘Gutta’ out-liners to add key words to describe what makes Rothwell and District Live at Home Scheme so special to us. These will then be sewn into our 5th and final section of the mine wheel.

We had loads of little finishing off jobs to do on the banner too….

week 15 024 week 15 011 week 15 010

A fantastic achievement and the banner is looking amazing!


week 15 027

‘We’ve lost our marbles!’


, ,

week 14 school 004

This was our first schools session with Rothwell Primary School year 6. They joined us to listen to some of our stories and to find out about the banner we are making.

week 14 school 074

 Moira, Jean and Lesley explored the reminiscence boxes with the children and demonstrated games such as whip and top, marbles and Jacks. We even managed to lose the marbles!

week 14 school 050week 14 school 007

week 14 school 013

Kairen, Kathleen and Olive helped the children make a start printing the background textures for their very own banner.

week 14 school 042

We had chance to have a closer look at the banner and Doreen and Ann answered the children’s questions.

‘The children were totally engrossed in the activities.’

‘I felt the children were very good and interested in everything.’


‘We are very lucky aren’t we’ said one child.


The transformation begins


, , ,





We have had a very productive session today – lots to do and lots to plan for!

We’re finally beginning to see all the pieces being stitched together, but we’re quite away off finishing yet! Lot’s of homework for some – I spent this tea time sitting in the garden stitching flowers on to the background when a butterfly landed on one!

Next week we will have children from Rothwell Primary School visiting us and we have planned an exciting session. The reminiscence boxes will be coming out again, which were so much fun when we looked at them during one of our first sessions!

week 13 006

“It’s a transformation now it’s all being sewn. I hope people appreciate the lengths we’ve gone to!”


“I don’t know what I’ll do when it finishes. I enjoy the chatter and I like all the new techniques”

week 13 001

“When you look at Rothwell it is a small place but lots has happened”

week 13 002


“I’ve enjoyed thinking about the history associated with the things we’ve made”



week 13 003


“It’s something we’ve never done before, a new experience”

“It’s keeping the brain ticking – wakens up the dead brain cells”


week 13 005