Being a Northumberland lad, it’s not surprising that my ancestors were coal miners, or ‘pitmen’ as they are known locally. My great Grandfather worked at one of the many collieries in the Ashington area, until injured in a rock fall, in the late 19th century.
He then started a grocer’s shop in nearby Blyth, with his compensation. The business did well. He had the idea of rewarding his regular customers with gifts and the trading stamp was introduced, his customers being issued with stamps on making purchases, which could be redeemed against gifts. So Thompson’s Red Stamp Stores was born soon to have grocers shops throughout the North East of England.
I painted this scene of a working Northumbrian colliery in the Ashington area, now long since closed, in the hope that it may be the one my ancestors worked at.