The magazine of the art-form of the photo-essay
May 2016 back issue
Farewell to the Monty
by Nat Wilkins
A free, really high quality photo-essay magazine.  Fabulous! Stephen Fry. British actor, writer and film & documentary maker
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Farewell To The Monty began in the spring of 2015, exploring one of the last privately owned drift mines in England. This method of mining largely vanished from England during the 1980s but Ayle East Colliery continues to work largely unnoticed despite this. The 18-inch coal seam at Ayle East has been worked by the Shepherd family for four generations and currently employs seven miners. The photographs document what is now an alien world to the new upwardly mobile British working class. Working environments such as these were once familiar across the region. As society has progressed we have moved away from these working class structures and Ayle serves as a small reminder of an older way of life. Images of mining in the UK are almost synonymous with gritty notions of ‘the north’, the 1980s, militant trade unions, strikes and political turmoil. Yet Ayle East is none of these things, its independent status and rural location placed it on the periphery of that well documented era of northern English history. So work has continued hidden from one of the UK’s great historical struggles and will continue to do so escaping the clutches of time.
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