The last coal mine to close in NW Leicestershire was Bagworth in 1991 - I would have been almost twelve months old. Bagworth Colliery was once the most productive in Europe and even held a place in the Guinness Book of Records.
Coal mining was one of this country’s greatest industries, for centuries it built communities and then supported them through thick and thin, peace and war. The coalfield of NW Leicestershire was no different - it was central to the regions communities and economy.
In 2011, with the support of the Transform arts programme at Snibston Discovery Museum I started photographing the area two decades after Bagworth shut-up-shop and the ‘black gold’ era came to an end.
My intent was to articulate a moment in time that felt to me like the end of a significant period of transition in the areas history, by documenting the changing landscape - initially brought about by The National Forest in 1990 - and photographing the regions former coal miners in their current home environments. I wanted to record this moment of transition, but also capture the universal feeling of uncertainty with which deindustrialisation brings.
Christopher Mear, 2012.