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An Imagined Miner's Garden

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This garden commemorates the Minnie Pit mining disaster at Podmore Colliery, North Staffordshire, on 12 January 1918, at which 156 men and boys lost their lives. This year marks the centenary of the last body to be removed from the mine following the disaster.

The space imagines what the typical miner’s garden plot might have been like. It is planted with heritage cultivars of vegetables that would have been available in the early 20th century, including leeks, onions, carrots, cabbages and potatoes. These vegetables were used to make a local stew called ‘lobby’, which is still eaten in the area today.

There are also heritage strawberry plants for jam-making because miners took jam sandwiches with them down the mines in their ‘snappin’ tins. 

Classic English flowers such as sweet peas, delphiniums and hollyhocks would have been cultivated for colour and fragrance for cutting to take indoors. Herbs such as sage, thyme and feverfew would have been grown for culinary and medicinal use.

With thanks to The Apedale Heritage Centre for the loan of mining artefacts, The New Vic Theatre for loan of costumes, Minnie Pit Centenary Commemoration Group for historical information and transportation and Pagets Builders Merchants, Sheffield and Keyline Hire, Rotherham.


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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.