Tom Lamb

Above Left: Testing for Gas, Oil on board, 45 x 55 cm
Above Right: Hand Putting, Oil on board, 58 x 83 cm

1928 Thomas Coutts Lamb (Tom) born 3rd May at Beamish, Co. Durham
1935 Contracted diphtheria and spent long spells in isolation hospital. This is where he was given his first sketchbook and so began a lifelong love affair with frawing. From that day to this, he has received no formal art training.
1942 Left school at the age of 14 and went to work at Craghead Colliery where he was set to work on the screens.
1946 At the age of 18, Lamb went to work down the Busty pit at Craghead. From his first day underground he took his sketchbook with him to draw life down there and continued to do so until the day he left the mining industry.
1947 Lamb's first exhibition was held at Hedley Hall Miners Institute and was an exhibition of both landscape and mining scenes.
1954 Lamb became acquainted with another mining artist, Ted Holloway, who was working as a Bevin boy down the Busty Pit and a long friendship began between them as mining artists.
1969 With the closure of Craghead Colliery Lamb went straight to the Durham Light Infantry Museum and Arts Centre to work as an attendant.
1973 One of Lamb's paintings was purchased by the then Durham Council and presented to the Czechoslovakian Amabsador.
1975 Sold two mining drawings in the Industrial Sponsors Exhibition held at the National Coal Board Headquarters, Hobart House, London.
1980 The Durham Schools Museum Service purchased two landscape paintings and a mining scene for their collection
1993 Retired after 51 years without unemployment and was given the use of the large gallery at the DLI Museum to hold a retirement exhibition. One of Lamb's paintings, Durham Cathedral in the Snow, was chosen by the Lord mayor of Durham for his personal charity Christmas card appeal.


Lamb has continued to paint since his retirement and has had the following exhibitions:

1998 Fading Memories, The Mall, Crook
1999 Fading Memories exhibited at the Town Hall Gallery, Bishop Aukland
2001 Returned to Crook to hold an exhibition entitled  My Mining Days
2004 The Footprints Of My Years, Town Hall, Bishop Aukland
2008 My Mining Days, Town Hall, Bishop Aukland
2008–9 My Mining Days exhibited at the Mining Museum for England in Wakefield
2010  My Mining Days exhibited at Grey College, University of Durham

Lamb's work is represented in the following private collections:

  • Durham County Council
  • Beamish Museum
  • The Mining Museum for England
  • Grey College, University of Durham