UNDER 30s GOLD: Miss Mansfield 2013-2014. Nottinghamshire, UK. From the series, 'Thank Maggie'

Photograph by

David Severn (UK)

About this image

My portrait of ‘Miss Mansfield 2013-2014’ is from the series, ‘Thanks Maggie’, which is about the former coalfield areas of North Nottinghamshire and North-East Derbyshire in the British Midlands. The project explores social life, industry and culture in the region, 30 years on from the end of the bitter 1984-1985 miners’ strike. I was particularly drawn to archive photographs of the Coal Queens posing in the gritty environment of the collieries, among the coal dust and industrial machinery.

The tradition for local collieries to crown ‘Coal Queens’, who were the wives and daughters of miners or mineworkers chosen to represent the industry, inspired me to produce the portrait of Grace Turner.  She had recently been crowned ‘Miss Mansfield’, in the former colliery town of Mansfield, Notts.  I contacted her and we met at her local Forest Town Miners' Welfare Club to shoot the portrait.