Washington’s mining heritage will be celebrated at a community picnic in Usworth Park on Saturday 3 August.

Sunderland City Council in partnership with The Washington Trust will host a Miners Picnic to help commemorate the 45th anniversary of the closure of Usworth Colliery. The pit opened in 1845, and employed 1,785 people at its peak in 1921, providing tens of thousands of miners and their families with their livelihoods in its 129 year history.

Between 1pm – 4.00pm, families are invited to bring their own picnics along to the park near Manor View East for an afternoon of events, activities and entertainment based around mining which was the way of life for generations of people in Usworth and mining communities across the region.

The programme, in what was formerly known as Usworth Miner’s Welfare Park, includes;

a display of Miner’s Banners from local collieries including Usworth, Glebe, and F Pit
music from NASUWT Concert Band and Washington’s WI Ukele Group
costumed characters and mining life paraphernalia displayed by the ‘Time Bandits’ history re-enactment group
traditional coal mining songs from local historian and folk singer Keith Gregson
children’s craft activities with Sunderland Museum Service

Running alongside the event, with assistance from Washington History Society, members of the local community and Bowes Railway, will be an Exhibition of Mining Photographs.

The exhibition showcasing the mining heritage of Usworth and the wider Washington area, will be on display at Washington Millennium Centre, Concord, from Monday 29 July – Sunday 4 August 2019.

Tyne and Wear Archives will also be supporting the event with an object Handling and Information Session being held at the Millennium Centre on Monday 29 July, from 10.00am – 12.00.

The session is free and open to all.

The above events will help to commemorate and celebrate the industrial and cultural history of coal mining in the area.

Sunderland City Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture, Councillor John Kelly said: “The Usworth community is very rightly proud of its coal mining heritage, and this event is being held to remind us all of when coal mining was indeed the centre of everyone’s life in the local community.

“Where better to stage a Miners Picnic than the Colliery Welfare Park, giving families an opportunity to come together and learn more about Washington’s mining heritage, and to share the brave and often tragic stories of those who lost their life whilst trying to earn a living for their families.

“We want to acknowledge these men and their families and give the community opportunity to come together and bring a picnic on what we hope will be a beautiful summer’s day.”

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