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Farewell To The Monty is a documentary project that began by exploring a small scale privately owned drift mine high up in the North Pennines. This method of mining largely vanished from England and Ayle East Colliery is one of the few remaining examples left in England. The mine has been owned by the Shepherd family for four generations and currently has between three and seven miners ‘down the pit’ at any one time.

The project set out to document the working conditions and methods of the miners or “hewers’ who work on an 18 inch seam. Probably the narrowest seam worked in Europe. Farewell To The Monty is a unique view on a once common but now rare North Pennines livelihood.

The project was funded by Sunderland Futures Fund.

Nat Wilkins is a documentary, editorial and portrait photographer based in Northeast England.

His work focus on human interactions with the environment.

‘I see the photographic image as an inherently powerful tool in the weaving of narrative and I try adopting these inherent strengths, together with academic insight of my chosen subjects’

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