Drawing Source Material: Coal Mines

A collection of imagery and sources which you can use to prompt drawing in schools and community groups. 

Please note that this page contains links to external websites and has videos from external websites embedded. At the time of creating, AccessArt checked all links to ensure content is appropriate for teachers to access. However external websites and videos are updated and that is beyond our control. 

Please let us know if you find a 404 link, or if you feel content is no longer appropriate. 

We strongly recommend as part of good teaching practice that teachers watch all videos and visit all websites before sharing with a class. On occasion there may be elements of a video you would prefer not to show to your class and it is the teacher’s responsibility to ensure content is appropriate. Many thanks. 

‘In the 19th century the coal mines of Great Britain provided the primary source of energy for the industrial revolution.  Coal powered the steam locomotives, ships, steam engines in mills etc.  It also generated heat and light in the form of coal gas and later electricity. Coal processed into coke made blast furnace production of iron and other metals possible. Coal did much of the work then that oil and natural gas do now, including as a substitute for the growing chemical industry.’ – Working Class Museum Library

Use the film below to enable children to explore drawing coal-mines. Try to create a sense of momentum – for example you might pause the video 4 times and ask the pupils to make a 1 minute, 2 minute, 3 minute and 4 minute drawing at each pause. 

Encourage close and slow looking by talking as they draw – use your voice to attract their attention to qualities of the coal-mine.

Try some different exercises- 

Cover the page with charcoal, use an eraser to draw detail and capture lighter tonal areas.

Blur the image by squinting your eyes. Using the side of the charcoal, pick out the different areas of tone and loosely block them out on the paper.

Begin the video at 02.50 to avoid showing images of animal carcasses. 

Click here to watch a 1950s coal-mining documentary made by the British Film Institute.

Watch the first 20 minutes to understand the processes and roles involved in coal-mining.

You May Also Like...

Pathway: An Exploration of coal mining, inspired by henry moore

Pathway: How Can I Use Light and Dark to create a sense of space, Inspired by henry moore's coal mining drawings?