I participated in several of the activities that were on offer in the When Yesterday Was Young project and found them very interesting and an amazing chance to expand my knowledge on subjects that I have very little knowledge on; which perhaps I should, as the activities helped me to learn about our heritage in our area.
The Beamish Outreach sessions were so intriguing, as I learnt lots about the domestic lives of mining families, mining leisure activities and the science of how mine explosions would occur and look like, and it was great that these sessions were interactive, as it gave me a better understanding of how certain things happened. This was also the case when we visited Beamish Museum, carrying out research and participating in workshops, as you could see that they were very enthusiastic about what they were doing and eager to pass their knowledge onto us. For example, when we participated in the Workhouse workshop, we had to do some of the jobs that the people who were there had to do. The workshop was amazing, but gave a real understanding of how tough it would have been.
The research and workshops at the National Coal Mining Museum were also very fascinating, as we got to go down a mine and see for ourselves what the conditions would have been like; some of the tools that they would have used, and how they would have worked. It was a great experience to be told, by actual miners, the impact coal and mining not only as a whole, on the community and on history , but personally; with some of the miners telling us real stories of things that they had witnessed and how hard it had been, which gave a really deep and personal insight as to what actually happened in the mining industry.
The When Yesterday Was Young performances were a great way to show that young people are interested in their heritage; they just don’t necessarily know where to find it. But this project was a great way to pass on heritage and the knowledge that we have collected, to all generations and it was wonderful to see how everyone seemed to be connected and interested in the performance. With the set and the museum, it came to life and helped to give a greater understanding of our mining heritage.