Ballroom Flat is a large chamber cut out of solid limestone deep within a disused lead mine (Smallcleugh Mine) in the North Pennines. The unusual name arose from an event that took place on September the 2nd 1901, when twenty-eight Masonic members reputedly travelled into the mine for a village dinner party and dance.
A cohort of people were asked to make a drawing of the Ballroom from memory. Some knew the place well from repeated visits over many years and others had visited it just once.
Drawings were made by:
Nat Wilkins, Rolf Hughes, David Walker Barker, Louise K Wilson, John Bowers, Peter Jackson, Alan Smith, Bridget Kennedy, Carole McCourt, Lucien Anderson and Katie Watson.
The Ballroom Remembered was made for More in Common at APT gallery, Deptford, London, 6 to 16 September 2018. This was a group show of work by Deborah Gardner, Jane Millar, Harriet Tarlo, Judith Tucker, Louise K Wilson and Paul Wilson.
"More in Common presented diverse work from site responsive projects around the U.K. including audio-visual work, assemblage, painting, photography, poetry, sculpture and typography from Cumbria, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, and London.
The range of projects responded to political and cultural spaces, systems of language and communication, alongside places of work and restoration, provoking questions and ideas surrounding communal experience, belonging and identity.
In bringing work, stimulated by a variety of places, in a new exhibition context at the A.P.T Gallery, More in Common intends to provoke further multi layered considerations as to how societal spaces, systems and behaviours can and have co-operated".
Wilson’s work for More in Common also included new and re-made elements of The Adit (2016), a sound and drawing installation (originally installed in the Leadmining Heritage Exhibition in the Blacksmiths Shop, Allenheads) exploring partial memory and navigation. An archive of voices recall a journey taken underground. One side of a vinyl record transported the listener from the Smallcleugh Mine entrance through the labyrinth of passages and caverns to the mine’s ‘Ballroom’, the reverse side provides the route back to the surface.
The Adit was commissioned by ACA (Allenheads Centre for Contemporary Arts) for As Above So Below.