In 2018, I co-founded the Cinderloo 1821 volunteer-led community group to raise awareness of the Cinderloo Uprising. This event took place almost 200 years ago, when 3,000 miners, women and children marched in protest at proposed pay cuts and increasing poverty. They gathered at the cinderhills of Old Park in Dawley (now the Telford Forge Retail Park), where the protest culminated in a pitched battle with the Shropshire Yeomanry. Two men were shot dead with many injured, and one man, Thomas Palin, was hung for “felonious riot”.
The project brings together historical information, contemporary responses, writings and artwork. We were successful in securing public funding from project partners that will support plans for a range of different activities including inter-generational workshops, educational work with schools, walks, heritage skills workshops, local history and family history research.
I am leading art projects, both self-initiated and participatory, focusing on different aspects of the historic event:
Originally inspired by a poem I wrote about the Riot and its links with trees in the landscape, I began conversations with Shropshire Wildlife Trust, the Small Woods Association and members of Severn Gorge Countryside Trust, and worked with a small group tracing and mapping trees which are thought to be over 200 years old. We are also tracing the old miners tracks, many of which still exist and which may have been used by protesters in February 1821.
Out of the Dark Zines
Working with different community groups as part of a series of guided history walks, I have compiled collages, photos, maps, poems and other writings into a zine which connects contemporary responses to the landscape with historical traces of communities and industries in the area connected with Cinderloo.
Mixed media paintings and printmaking
An ongoing series of works, focusing on images of the men and women that took part in the Riot.