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Celebrations as Gallery Opens

21 October 2017

The triumphant tones of one of County Durham’s oldest colliery bands marked the official opening of the region’s new Mining Art Gallery today (Saturday, October 21).

The first gallery of its kind in the country, the Mining Art Gallery, Bishop Auckland has been created by The Auckland Project, in partnership with Dr Robert McManners OBE and Gillian Wales, to celebrate and preserve a unique element of the UK’s cultural heritage.

Ferryhill Town Band marked the event by filling Bishop Auckland Market Place with the poignant and traditional music they have been performing since 1909, while youngsters got to grips with free activities led by members of The Auckland Project’s Engagement Team.

At noon the Mining Art Gallery was officially opened by Chairman of The Auckland Project, Jonathan Ruffer alongside Dr Robert McManners and Gillian Wales, who have gifted more than 400 pieces from their Gemini Collection of Mining Art to the gallery.




Throughout the afternoon, visitors enjoyed free entry to the gallery, while local musician Gareth Davies-Jones performed new songs he has created by working with groups across the region to turn mining stories into music.

The camaraderie and strong bonds of colliery towns and villages were also brought back to life at the Mining and Memories stall, where visitors shared and recorded their own memories and experiences of mining life.

For more information about the new Mining Art Gallery, including daily opening times and prices please click here.

A special half price introductory ticket offer is also available for residents of five local postcode areas to the end of November.  For more details about the offer please click here.

 Photo:  Gillian Wales  and Dr Robert McManners cut the ribbon on the Mining Art Gallery.  Image by Colin Davison. 


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