Hebden Bridge exhibition review

AFter the Coal Dust exhibition Hebden Bridge

A great review for the After the Coal Dust exhibition at Hebden Bridge April 2022

“It’s unusual for us to approach exhibitors whose work we have seen elsewhere, sometimes because we’re too busy but also because we get so many artists approaching us and we are spoilt for choice. When we saw After the Coal Dust being exhibited in Castleford, we just knew we needed to host it here.

We were delighted with the results. John & Bridget’s photographs are exceptional, made all the more so because they are not staged. These are people and faces and situations we have all seen but don’t manage to capture: these photos manage that feat.

We have a regularly changing series of exhibitions here with up to 13 a year: this show really stood out and it’s had a great reception. We particularly enjoyed local people who featured in the pictures coming to see them, often for the first time.

We’d heartily recommend this exhibition to anyone and look forward to hosting John & Bridget sometime in the future.”

Graham Mynott

Executive Director
Hebden Bridge Community Association

AFter the Coal Dust exhibition Hebden Bridge

Goodbye Yorkshire, hello Tokyo

Programme for After the Coal Dust exhibition in Tokyo

When we started with the street photos we didn’t really think they’d be of interest to many people at all, at best one or two local people might be able to relate to them. For one thing quite a lot of people really hated the photos (and us for doing it!) and also the pictures seemed peculiarly ‘local’.

It’s strange to think they’re now on display at the other side of the world. From April 28th until the end of May a selection of images from the ‘After the Coal Dust’ project by Bridget and me are being exhibited at Gallery Ten in Tokyo, Japan.http://www.gallery-ten.tokyo/…/289-after-the-coal-dust

Ken Uwaso at the After the Coal Dust exhibition

A big thank you to Ken Uwaso for arranging things.

A new After the Coal Dust Exhibition for 2022

Hebden Bridge Town Hall

They will feature a selection of photographs taken by Bridget and me in a new exhibition at Hebden Bridge Town Hall from March 28th to April 25th 2022.

Hebden Bridge is well worth a visit irrespective of the “After the Coal Dust” event (although why not time your stay to take in the photos?). It’s a delightful part of the country about eight miles from Halifax in West Yorkshire. It’s got a thriving arts scene and plenty of places to stay for a few days. It’s only a short drive to Bronte Country and Haworth.

Hebden Bridge

Queen’s Mill exhibition October 2nd to October 18th 2021

Queens Mill Castleford at night - After the Coal Dust exhibition venue

All photos installed at the exhibition space at Queen’s Mill, Castleford ready for the After the Coal Dust exhibition that starts at the literary event on the 2nd October and runs until the 18th,

Entry is free to the exhibition after the opening night.

After the Coal Dust exhibition

View from the venue

Queen’s Mill, Castleford

After the Coal Dust exhibition

Exhibition space

Queen’s Mill, Castleford

After the Coal Dust exhibition


Queen’s Mill, Castleford

Photograph Exhibition at Queen’s Mill, Castleford

Advert for photo exhibition of John and Bridget Gill's photos at Queen's Mill Castleford

A selection of photographs by Bridget and me from our After the Coal Dust project will be exhibited at the Queens Mill Castleford from October 2nd to October 18th 2021.

There’ll be around 40 prints on display and the exhibition opens as part of the ‘Trouble at t’ Mill’ Literary Event on October 2nd. I’ll be speaking at the event alongside several writers and poets.

The photo exhibition is free but the literary event opening evening is a ticket only event. Tickets are priced at £14 and are available from Eventbrite – TROUBLE AT’ MILL – QUEEN’S MILL WORD FEST Tickets, Sat 2 Oct 2021 at 18:00 | Eventbrite

Opening times for the exhibition are limited so please contact the venue for details.

Press article for the exhibition

After the Coal Dust Book Review

We just wanted to share a review of the ‘After the Coal Dust’ book by the acclaimed Italian novelist, screenwriter and documentary film maker, Francesca Melandri. Many people will be aware of her ‘Letter from the Future’ that spread globally last year.

It’s been a long time since I wanted to talk to you about the photos of John Gill and Bridget Gill, and the beautiful book they made together, “After the coal dust”

Theirs is street photography but not the one you always see – New York, Barcelona, ​​big cities and cool places. Their gaze is on a small piece of Northern England, the one most devastated by the closure of the mines which for centuries have been its heart, economy and identity. Not that life in the mine is a thing to regret, but these portraits tell what happens to a place, and especially to its inhabitants, when history goes elsewhere without leaving – at least, apparently – nothing in return.

Personally, looking at the photos of John and Bridget, I had the impression that I understood at least a little more the strange social hara-kiri that is Brexit. If you go to their Facebook page, and look at their photos in sumptuous b / w, you will understand for sure what I mean.

(You can order the book here, https://www.johngill.photography/john-gill-photography…/ I gave it to a couple of friends and John was very kind and prompt in shipping. On his website there are also the dates of the conferences he holds on zoom – I listened to one, very interesting)

Francesca Melandri

Francesca Melandri

Novelist, screenwriter and film maker

Original review published in Italian.

È parecchio tempo che volevo parlarvi delle foto di John Gill e Bridget Gill , e del bellissimo libro che hanno fatto insieme, “After the coal dust”
La loro è street photography ma non di quella che si vede sempre – New York, Barcelona, grandi città e posti cool. Il loro sguardo è su un piccolo pezzo del’Inghilterra del nord, quella più devastata dalla chiusura delle miniere che per secoli ne sono state il cuore, l’economia e l’ identità. Non che la vita in miniera sia una cosa da rimpiangere, ma questi ritratti raccontano cosa succede a un posto, e soprattutto ai suoi abitanti, quando la Storia se ne va da un’altra parte senza lasciare – almeno, apparentemente – niente in cambio.
Io personalmente guardando le foto di John e Bridget ho avuto l’impressione di capire almeno un pochino di più quello strano harakiri sociale che è la Brexit .
Se andate sulla loro pg Facebook, e guardate le loro foto in sontuoso b/n,, capirete di certo cosa intendo dire.
(Potete ordinate il libro qui,
Io l’ho regalato a un paio di amiche e John è stato gentissimo e sollecito nella spedizione. Sul suo sito ci sono.anche le date delle conferenze che tiene su zoom – ne ho ascoltata una, molto interessante)

Two Mining Poems by Stuart Bailey

Kellingley Colliery closure march

Stuart Bailey has been kind enough to send us a couple of his poems relating to the local collieries.

It was there at the Wheldale Colliery, Castleford
Two seams of coal were being worked in that mine
They were the Beeston and the Silkstone Seams
As the miners started work that day all it was fine
It was the morning, Wednesday 22nd February 1922
243 miners descended the pit between 5.15 and 6 a.m.
The Districts they were working were numbers 1, 2 & 3
It was the Silkstone seam worked by boys and men
Around 10 a.m. in No 2 District was heard a shot fired
Shortly after that the sound of another shot fired, came
This followed by an explosion when firedamp ignited
Then a blast of wind mingled with coal dust and flame
As the miners in other areas tried to make their way out
The rescue workers came to where the explosion had been
They found a badly burnt miner trying to get to safety
Then the body of the only miner who died at the scene
As they moved on they attended to men who were injured
At the blast area they found eight men who had been there
They got them to the surface but all were so badly injured
This eight succumbed to their injuries despite hospital care
The men who died were James Bibb and Clifford Booth
Then Enoch Holmes, William Hall, John T Anson as well
There was Edward Baker, Joseph Lowe, Arthur Marsden,
James Moreton, the sad news their families they had to tell
Then the inquiry looked into the cause of the explosion
Was flames from the firing of the second shot they found
It was Fathers, sons, husbands, brothers who died that day
Like their fathers before them digging for coal underground
Stuart Bailey. 11.10.2020
Beneath an overgrown tree in the cemetery
Half hidden there stands a solitary gravestone
It marks the place where five coal miners lay
In Castleford, are these men’s names known
They are Joseph Milner and his brother John
Also, William Oakey and William Tilley too
Lastly with them, there lies George Godwin
They must all be remembered by me and you
Was on the Silkstone seam at Wheldale Colliery
They and many others were working on that day
When suddenly on Tuesday the 8th December 1891
A fire started when a lamp fell over, they did say
They were working 500yds from where it started
The fire it was between those men and the pit shaft
Fellow miners called and told them of the danger
Sadly, the fire these men could find no way past
For some days the fire in the mine was spreading
Around the 12th there was no hope for those men
So, 1,200 miners were laid off without any wages
To put out the fire, the mine it was flooded then
The fire was extinguished the day after Christmas
Pumps were started to clear water from the mine
Their bodies were found but could not be recognised
Through the debris bringing them out it took time
It was the number stamped on each miner’s lamp
Who each man was, that was the only way to tell
Those five coal miners for eternity sleep together
Was on the coal face, there in the darkness they fell
Stuart Bailey. 11.10.2020

Both poems are copyright of Stuart Bailey and are reproduced by kind permission of the author

After the Coal Dust Book

after the coal dust book cover

The After the Coal Dust book will be available from the 1st October.

It will feature over a hundred photographs by John and Bridget Gill as well as a few short, written pieces. The book will be available as a 30cm x 30cm hardback or 20cm x 20cm hardback, both featuring 130 pages on 200g/m2 paper.

If you want notifying when the book is on sale there’s a form here where you can submit your details.

The price will be £28.95 for the large size and £19.95 for the smaller size.

There’ll be more details nearer the time

After the Coal Dust – The Book

We’re looking to have a book with photos from the After the Coal Dust project and some of the other street and portrait images from my personal site (John Gill Photography) available late September/October time.

If all goes to plan it’ll be available in approximately A4 and ‘coffee table’ 12inx12in size, hardback with around 130 pages. Price isn’t set yet but definitely less than £30.

If you want to be notified when it’s available, you can register your interest here – there’s no obligation 🙂

I’ll post more details nearer the release date.