The Under the Fields of Heaton working group have now formed ‘Shoe Tree Arts’ and are working towards an exciting new project:


Planned to coincide with The Great Exhibition of the North the show will run for a week from 17th – 21st July in the People’s Theatre, Newcastle upon Tyne.

The north east region’s contribution to forging the modern world is arguably unparalleled. Newcastle and Gateshead provided the seat of the fire of invention that blazed throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. And some of the most significant flames that changed the world were set alight in Heaton and the east end; industrial technology, women’s suffrage, social reform, the Labour Party, theatre and football.

Heaton resident Peter Dillon, established writer and film maker, has researched the cast list for a production using drama, film, music and dance to celebrate Charles Parsons’ turbine engine, Florence Harrison-Bell’s social reforms and involvement with the fledgling Labour Party, the Suffragettes, John Buddle’s mine safety improvements, Colin Veitch’s victorious Edwardian Newcastle United team, a nod to Harry Clasper’s boat design, the flourishing local Fabian tradition and the founding of the People’s Theatre.

The aim is to produce the show at the oldest theatre in Newcastle, and indeed an institution that has a major part to play in the story – The People’s Theatre. Peter will write the show which will be directed by Chris Heckels of the People’s Theatre.

The live action of the show will interact and intertwine with a backdrop of filmed material exploring Heaton’s past present and future. Heaton’s choirs and bands will provide live music to include all ages skills and backgrounds.

Richard Scott and Ken Patterson will be commissioned to write new songs and music for the large number of community choirs and bands in Heaton.

In parallel with the show Sally Cooper, actor, Ellen Phethean, writer, Tessa Green, film maker, will lead a group of young artists in residence in Heaton schools and other settings.

Furthermore, Chris Jackson and Les Turnbull of Heaton History Group will manage a programme of ambitious exploratory workshops. These will research the history and heritage of the area in collaboration with a team of historians, scientists and engineers visiting schools and other settings.


With lanterns, we remembered the time when the 75 trapped men and boys were found and brought into the light again. It was also the 200th anniversary of the Davy Lamp which was used in the rescue.

Under the fields of Heaton Lanterns.png10th February 2016 Lantern Events

Lantern making workshops took place in nine primary schools in January 2016. We  remembered the rescue of the men and boys  with a lantern event at 6pm in The Spinney and at 7pm in King John’s Palace, Heaton Park.

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The artists were: Louise Bradley, Alison Ashton, Kate Hancock, Ken Patterson & Tessa Green. They worked in the nine primaries, with Brownies at St Teresa’s Hall, in Woodlands Community Centre & with family groups in Chillingham Rd, & High Heaton Library.

Flotsam and Heaton Voices with songs from The Heaton Main Suite

Heaton Voices and Flotsam sang songs from the Heaton Main Suite, Meze Mundo World Carnival Band played, Sgt Ninji Li from the Heaton Manor cadets played Highland Pipes and Chris Bostock, The Storyteller, told the tale of disaster and the rescue. Jill Bennison managed the event.


Snow Drop Planting

Snow drops bloom in February after their cold winter underground, and it’s the anniversary of the time when the bodies of the men from Heaton Main Colliery were rescued.


Jo Bulter, gardener, visited each primary school and planted snow drops with a class in suitable places in the grounds, ready to bloom in February, the time the miners’ bodies were put to rest in 1815.

We  planted further snowdrop bulbs (in the green) in special places in Heaton / the Ouseburn Valley throughout 2015 and 2016. Residents told us where they were planted and we put the site on our map.

We reached our hope for 75 sites in our area but come next spring we hope to plant some more!

We’ve given 4000 snowdrops to local schools, churches and residents (to plant in their private gardens).  Most of the snowdrops were distributed at the Spinney 2nd May event and at Heaton Festival on the 27th June 2015.


Sally Cooper hands out snowdrop bulbs at Heaton Festival.

The white stars mark where the snow drops are planted! And now there are more than 75 new sites ready to bloom next spring.

The 75 men and boys of the Heaton Main Mining Disaster remained trapped under ground from 3rd May 1815 until March 1816.

The snow drops will help us remember the end of their entrapment and burial in St. Peter’s Churchyard, Wallsend.

If you’d like to tell us where you’ve planted more snowdrops, send us an e mail, below.


The Spinney