Dean Bank - A Former Mining Community
The project examines the latent social legacy of the closure of the Dean and Chapter Colliery (which was part of the Durham Coalfield) upon the community of Dean Bank, Ferryhill, County Durham.
The Dean Bank housing development began in the early 1900's, to cater for the influx of miners and their families who came to work at the newly opened Dean and Chapter.
By 1907, the work was complete, with 999 houses in total. Many of the long angular terraces were named after great industrial inventors, such as George Stephenson and Michael Faraday.
No remains of the colliery can be seen today. Dean and Chapter closed in 1966, and was demolished in the 1970's. The huge spoil heap was leveled, reshaped, and planted with grass, flowers and trees. In stark contrast the former colliery houses remained, albeit with some streetscape improvement. And, as they became available, they were largely bought up by private landlords and families seeking cheap housing etc. As a result the social mix of the community changed dramatically. What was once a thriving, solid working class environment has become an incongruous mix of old former miners' families, living alongside younger groups, some of whom are on the edges of society. Unemployment is high and crime and drugs are known. Nowadays, when walking the streets of Dean Bank there is almost a pervading sense of eeriness. It's not palpable, but the feeling is there. The streets are empty, doors are closed and a degree of melancholy exists. The photographs in this project - bearing in mind most of them were taken in the afternoon - attempt to convey this emptyness and eeriness, which conversely, in its own way, is almost lyrical . All the mines in the County Durham coalfield are now gone and Dean Bank is not unique; such areas are peppered across many former mining communities: legacies of times gone by.