Castleford man's art celebrates Yorkshire's coal mining past
Ex-miner Harry Malkin has found success after discovering a very different seam to work
Harry Malkin was a fitter at Fryston Colliery in Castleford for 20 years, leaving when the West Yorkshire pit closed in 1985. He decided to take a complete different direction in life and retrained as an artist. He is now renowned for his work capturing scenes from life down the pit.
This month Harry, 58, is exhibiting in York for the second time at According to McGee with ‘A Life Underground: Workings from the Coalface.’
‘I started at Fryston colliery two weeks after leaving school aged 15 and went on until I was 35,’ says Harry who still lives in Castleford. ‘The big miners strike of 1984-85, the closure of the pits, and the subsequent redundancy money gave me the time and impetus to carve out another way of life.
‘I have always drawn and made things for as long as I can remember, it is the way I communicated from a very early age.’
Harry is widely considered to be one of the UK’s leading artists with first hand experience of working in mines all over the North.
‘Long gone are the queues of hunched up men waiting under smog-filled skies for buses-to-work at four and five in the morning,’
- 1 Devon celebrity chef unveils latest eatery
- 2 Win a short break in London at The Dilly on Piccadilly
- 3 12 outdoor dining experiences in Surrey
- 4 Win a holiday for two on the Isles of Scilly
- 5 8 of the best places for a bluebell walk in Surrey
- 6 Win a selection of Provence Rose wine
- 7 The mind-blowing new exhibition at Sculpture by the Lakes in Dorchester
- 8 19 great places to eat outdoors in Cheshire after lockdown
- 9 Al fresco dining in Cornwall: 9 of the best places to go
- 10 Off-the-beaten-track beaches in Yorkshire
says Harry. ‘The tools of our trade are exhibited in museum cases and, like mining itself, the art which truly reflects it, is also becoming a finite body of work as memories fade and those who experienced it grow fewer.’
Do these pieces of work revive memories of life in Yorkshire’s pits and pit villages? We’d love to hear about them.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or leave comments below