Monday, July 8, 2013

Extraordinary Ordinary

Extraordinary Ordinary – pit village life by Jack Hulme
Two very different visions of manliness!
A stunning new exhibition at Pontefract Museum celebrates the touching and captivating photographs by Jack Hulme.

Jack Hulme’s photographs of the pit village of Fryston, on the outskirts of Castleford, are a fascinating, unique and revealing record of a mining community in the mid twentieth century.  He was born in the village but, after an injury, was unable to work as a miner.

When his wife bought him a Leica camera he became the village photographer, and it is for his black and white images that he is now remembered. The enduring value of his images is that he captured the ordinary – domestic chores, playing in the street, the daily grind.

From the attitude of his subjects towards him, you can see he was part of the life he was documenting. From the National Strike to the Miners’ Strike he witnessed the passing of the industrial age in Yorkshire.

Can you imagine doing this now?

Fanny Morgan and her sister

Before Health and Safety went mad!

Before computer games took over!

Some of what he photographed is the same today but there are big differences. Change is sometimes most obvious to people who haven’t lived through it. Therefore the Museum asked students at Pontefract New College for their reactions to the images in this exhibition.

Photography is an incredibly popular subject at New College. The A-level students experience both the traditional dark room photography Jack Hulme would have recognised as well as modern digital manipulation. They have researched some of these photographs and written their own personal responses. These captions next to the originals give new perspectives on this powerful record.

Pontefract Museum, Salter Row, Pontefract, WF8 1BA, 01977 722740

Opening Times: Mon – Fri 10.00am – 4.30pm, Sat 10.30am – 4.30pm

Free Admission


  1. Photo titled Fanny Morgan and sister. Is there a date please. This could be a relative and this photo has come to my attention sometime ago through a family source, however I lost contact with them due to their passing.

    1. Hi, thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, we don't know any specific dates, sorry. Our records say 1910-1920 but we think it may actually be later than that. Many of Jack Hulme's photos are from the mid 20th century.


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