The schools programme provided an opportunity for every KS2 child in the Ouseburn to learn more about the Heaton Colliery Disaster 0f 1815.

Les Turnbull’s Children’s Book


More than 1200 children’s KS2 versions of ‘Exploring Beneath the Earth’ were distributed to the 9 primaries involved so that at each pupil between 8 and 11 year received a copy to take home and share with their families.

The funding for this was generously provided by the Newcastle Council Ward committees.

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Richard Scott and Ken Patterson Under the Fields of Heaton Roadshow

Each school kicked off their project in the week commencing 27th April with assemblies led by guest musicians Ken Patterson and Richard Scott.


Ken and Richard sang ‘Washing’ Day’, ‘Collier’s Rant’ and told the tale of the disaster with charcoal drawings, tools and a bucket of coal!

Artists in Residence

Arts Council England awarded a ‘Grants of the the Arts’ award to the ‘Under the Fields of Heaton’ managed by 4 Corner Music Network, and much of this budget was devoted to ten artists working in Ouseburn schools. We’d like to thank, in addition Sir James Knott Trust for a grant to further support this work and the Lantern Procession in February 2016.

Nine primaries and one secondary school in the area acted as hosts for artists and hubs for information and involvement. Ceramics, textiles, film, poetry, sculpture, & glasswork are proposed.

Most of the nine primaries in the Ouseburn area hosted an artist in the summer term. The artists were commissioned to create a work of art to reflect upon some aspect of the Heaton Main Disaster and upon Ouseburn and East Newcastle now. The whole of schools’ communities took part in the festival, staff, children and parents, with snowdrops,  paper lanterns, assemblies and Les Turnbull’s book for children giving the historical information they need.

Benton Park Primary          Whole school arts week:  Haydon Brige Film Company making documentary

Cragside Primary               Y4 Y5      Alison Ashton:    Textile hangings

Chillingham, Road P          Y5           David Pyrke:        Ceramic mural of Heaton Main Mine

Christchurch Primary        Y4            Ken Patterson:    Mosaic of shaft & Heaton Main Mine

Hotspur Primary               Y4            David Pyrke:        Ceramic mural

Ravenswood Primary       Y4            Rachel Gretton:      Fused glass work

St Catherines RC P           Y5            Keith Barret Sculptor: Chestnut Tree scultpure

St Teresa’s Primary           Y6           Tessa Green and Elle Phethean: Time Tunnel

West Jesmond Primary     Y6           Alison Ashton: Textile Hanging

Heaton Manor School       Y8            Jed Grimes: Songwriting


Lantern making workshops took in January / February 2016. 140 lanterns were produced in public and schools’ workshops using tissue paper, withies, LED lights to a number of designs. (Davy Lamps, snowdrops, cones, pyramids and hour glasses).

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, Wednesday 10th March.

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The fabulous 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.

The Northumbria Cadet Force, Heaton Manor School

Heaton Manor (Tyneside Scottish) Detachment helped marshall  ‘Under the Fields of Heaton’s’ two lantern events, providing an essential role in the outdoor events.

Storyteller Chirs Bostock and highland piper Cadet Sergeant Li

The evening programme included music and song, 200 primary school children carrying symbolic lanterns and Chris Bostock, story teller, who took the gathering through the tragic events.  The event co-ordinator said ‘Heaton Manor cadets did us proud. It was moving to hear the choirs sing whilst under the moon, and see such a throng of interested people. A proper sense of community’. He also said that ‘the cadet marshals were great, keen to take their roles seriously and a great asset’. Special thanks was paid to Cdt Sgt Li, who piped a lament. Many people commented upon the beautiful sound of the pipes under the moon. A special moment.

Choirs: Heaton Voices, Flotsam, Swing Bridge Singers, & band Meze Mundo

Choirs sang songs from Heaton Main Suite and Meze Mundo led the children on a promenade past the ‘Under Heaton’s Fields’ movie cameras for the opening scene of the film.

Snow Drops

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.DSC02050