Everyday Heroes Everyday Lives

A Celebration of Stanley People

Inspired by the work of Tommy Armstrong (1848-1920), the pitman poet, who celebrated in songs the pit communities of the past, this exhibition focuses on some of the remarkable people who live or work in Stanley today.

Armstrong lived most of his life at Tanfield Lea, depicting Stanley’s resilient pit communities in songs such as The West Stanley Explosion, Oaky Strike Evictions and – more humorously – in Shield Row Flud. While these individuals and families may be forgotten, their feisty determination can still be seen in everyday folk. The people who supported us during the pandemic, who teach our children, sweep our streets, cut our hair, run our foodbanks, feed our families and fight to make the world a fairer place.

This exhibition celebrates the courage, defiance, kindness, compassion and humour that define the Stanley spirit. Then and now.