Display to re-kindle mining memories

Former miner Frank Hollingsworth and Janine Musgrove at the Wigan Coal Mining Exhibition at Reflections Dementia Charity
Former miner Frank Hollingsworth and Janine Musgrove at the Wigan Coal Mining Exhibition at Reflections Dementia Charity

A ground-breaking Wigan community health project hopes that the industry which fuelled the borough’s growth isn’t being forgotten.

And they are about to unveil a fascinating display which will trigger an avalanche of memories for those battling the debilitating, creeping and upsetting condition of dementia and memory loss.

The display galleries, packed with genuine exhibits from the pit age, will form the centre piece of open day celebrations of the community interest company Reflections at Orrell’s Hall Barn centre in Spring Road today.

It has been curated by Janine Musgrove, activity co-ordinator at the facility, which is funded by the council and the National Lottery.

And she admitted this week that researching and planning the event had even made her realise for the first time just how extensive the colliery working directly below her feet once really were.

Four of the ‘guests’ battling dementia at Reflections enjoyed a working lifetime in the coal Lancashire industry. And their expertise proved to be invaluable in helping to assemble a truly authentic display.

As well as safety lamps, respirators, picks, shovels and snap tins, there are also underground notices and survey maps which prove the astonishing coal reserves that rippled through the area. Manikins bearing the traditional clogs and dress of Wigan’s pitmen stand guard over a wagon full of coal, while another shows a pit brow lass riddling stone and shale from the coals.

Reflections provides import day support for those fighting dementia and provides respite for the carers of their guests. Research shows that those with dementia who engage in regular social activities are significantly less likely to eventually need full time nursing care.

Admission to the 2pm to 5pm event is free