Barnsley mining disaster brought to life in 3D

Alan Andrews.

Alan Andrews.

England’s worst ever mining disaster has been brought to life using cutting edge 3D technology.

Former miner Alan Andrews has used computer generated imagery to tell the tale of the disaster on 12th December 1886, when almost 400 people died in explosions at the Oaks Colliery in Barnsley.

Alan has worked with the Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership to showcase the technology during two drop-in sessions at the Experience Barnsley museum, on January 14 and January 28.

Wearing a special headset, members of the public can place themselves at the centre of the events that unfolded 150 years ago. They can experience what it would have been like both above ground and within the Victorian mine when the explosions went off, with the chaos brought to life in 3D.

Alan, who lives in Darfield and worked at Goldthorpe Colliery in the 1980s, narrates the story. It is his first major project using 3D and CGI technology, produced through his company The Art of Mining. He will be on hand during the sessions to answer questions.

Alan said: “As far as I’m aware this is the first time that mining has been the subject of this type of technology. The experience of being a miner is not something that can easily be explained to people, so I’m hoping that virtual reality will open doors in terms of education and bringing mining heritage to life in general. Because of the subject matter, this project has been very emotionally draining as I’ve had to immerse myself in tragedy and death. I’ve put my heart and soul into it but I’m really proud of the results and I’m looking forward to sharing them with people at Experience Barnsley later this month.”

As well as the drop-in sessions a CGI film by Alan can be seen in the ‘When the Oaks Fired’ exhibition at Experience Barnsley curated by the Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership. Members of the public are able to take part in the 3D simulations at the Experience Barnsley during drop-in sessions between 10am and 3pm.