Celebrating the 75th anniversary since young men were first conscripted to work as miners during the Second World War, this exhibition presents work by former 'Bevin Boys'.

In 1943, men were leaving the mines to fight for Britain and coal supplies were dwindling – given the choice between becoming miners or soldiers, most chose to fight.

To prevent a national crisis, the government needed to act fast and devised a ballot scheme where men who had registered for national service, were randomly chosen to work in the mines instead of joining the army, navy or air force. Men receiving their conscription papers could find that instead of fighting, they were sent to the coalfield to spend their war underground.

The Bevin Boys (named after MP Ernest Bevin) went unrecognised until 2007 when a national campaign saw them finally acknowledged for the vital role they played in the war effort. The exhibition features 29 artworks by Ted Holloway, Tom McGuinness, David McClure and John Tipton.

Exhibitions and events at The Auckland Project

Related exhibitions

Back to top