Path of the Ponies

Ernie and Jenny






Pit Pony Banner

I am very excited about a new project that will be starting next week. For the last couple of months I have been working with the National Coal mining Museum near Wakefield on a storytelling project to complement their summer exhibition the Path of the Ponies.

It has given me the opportunity to write four short stories about the lives of pit ponies and the miners that worked with them. It has been great to hear so many stories about working in the mines  from Chris and the other miners at NCM and from friends nearer to home too including Harry Robinson who told me lots of stories about his first job in the mines some of which become incorporated into the stories I will tell as part of the project.  My Aunty Janet also reminded me of my own family history and part of that has been woven into the stories I will tell too.

Starting next week we have a number of workshops with key stage 2 classes. I’ll tell them my stories in different parts of the museum and encourage them to soak up the atmosphere. As well as meeting Eric, Ernie and Finn, the horses in the NCM stable, they will also get to go in the mine. I wasn’t sure I’d like the mine as I am a bit claustrophobic, I thought I would feel the weight of all the tonnes of Earth above pressing down on me, but actually it was fine. I soon forgot we were so deep underground. After we have explored the museum we will go back to the museum’s classroom and the children will have the opportunity to write their own pit pony story. I have laser cut some story telling tokens to help them a little. Each one has a sentence that could be the turning point of a story , for example “he felt a searing pain in his…” or “The harness broke.” and “They saw a light coming towards them.”.

In the summer holidays we have seven days of workshops with families. We will let them explore the museum on their own and then they can book into workshop to make their own story booklet. I’ll tell one or two of my stories and have some artefacts from the museum collection to get their creative juices flowing and then they can fill the pages of their booklet with pictures, drawing and words to make their own pit pony story.

For more information see the NCM web pages

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