ENGLAND’S worst ever mining disaster has been brought to life with cutting-edge technology.
Former miner Alan Andrews has used computer-generated images (CGI) to tell the tale of the Oaks Colliery Disaster, which claimed almost 400 lives in 1886.
Alan, from Darfield, will showcase his interactive work at two sessions at the Experience Barnsley museum this month.
Wearing a special headset, visitors can put themselves at the centre of events which unfolded 150 years ago, killing miners and rescuers.
They can experience what it might have been like both above ground and below when the explosions occurred, the chaos brought to life in 3D.
Alan, who worked at Goldthorpe Colliery in the 1980s before moving into IT, narrates the story himself.
It is his first major project using 3D and CGI technology, produced by his company The Art of Mining.
He will also be on hand during the sessions to answer visitors’ questions about the experience.
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.”
He added: “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.”
The exhibition will be open tomorrow (14) and again on Saturday, January 28.
A CGI film also created by Alan can be seen in the When the Oaks Fired exhibition at Experience Barnsley, curated by the Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership (DVLP).
Stephen Miller, community officer at the DVLP, said: “We jumped at the opportunity to work with Alan to bring the events of that day to life in such an engaging way.
“The stunning 3D brings history directly into the 21st century by using such modern techniques and it really does have to be seen to be believed.”
Visitors can view the 3D simulations at the Learning Lab at Experience Barnsley, between 10am and 3pm tomorrow and on Saturday, January 28 — no booking is necessary.
Visit www.experience-barnsley.com for more information.