“Cracket” is a colloquial term used throughout the North East of England for a small stool.
The cracket was used in the mining industry to support a miner’s head whilst he was lying down hewing coal and minerals from narrow seams underground. From humble beginnings the stool evolved to be used in miner’s cottages and houses throughout the North East, these stools became a faithful piece of utility furniture.
The crackets were generally made from reclaimed pit props and the remains of wooden boxes that once held explosives. They were minimal and simple in construction.
The cracket was not finished or painted when used down the pit but left to patina by the coal dust, grease and sweat impregnating into the grain of the wood. The miner’s cracket served as his seat at break times to eat and share ‘the crack’ (chat) with his fellow pitmen.
Cracket is a derivative of the term ‘Crack’, to chat, and is of Irish decent. Many Irish immigrants came to the North east of England to work in the mines when the coal industry was expanding and employment and work available in Ireland was diminished.
The Crackets presented here pay tribute to the heritage of those miners and railway workers of the North east and in particular to those working in the Wear Valley. These Crackets are wrought in mild steel and powder coated in some of the traditional colours of local railway.