Forthcoming Events - Check your diary!



Thursday 23rd November, 6pm
"Extreme Archaeology: Digging into the WWI Fighting Tunnels of Northern France"

Paul Allison, (The Durand Group)

During the Great War, a network of hundreds of miles of tunnels was established along the Western Front. The tunnels were used for offence, defence, supply, troop movement and accommodation.

The entrances were blocked and sealed at the end of the war by various means including blasting and infill. The Durand Group digs through these blockages and other collapse zones, and reopens, makes safe, explores and records the tunnels and their contents. The Group clears munitions and defuses mine charges as and when they are found. Significant voids that present a collapse risk that could break the surface are mapped and reported to the French authorities.

The talk will cover the development and use of the tunnels in the war, the digging and shoring techniques used by the Group, the hazards that are encountered, and the archaeological and historical discoveries made within these remarkable time capsules.

Paul Allison is a native of the North East. Having started his career in rope access, geotechnical engineering and confined space work with a side line in explosives "engineering", he has spent the last 25 years in minerals extraction and processing.

An experienced mountaineer and cave explorer, he is a group leader and rope rescue instructor with the Teesdale and Weardale Search and Mountain Rescue Team and a member of the Cumbria Ore Mines Rescue Unit. Paul has been an active member of the Durand Group for five years. In his spare time, he breeds cattle.

Information about The Durand Group can be found at

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NEIMME Lecture Programme
2017 – 2018


Thursday 21st September, 6pm
From Mine to Mill
Garry O'Hagan

Thursday 5th October, 6pm
Misadventures in Colombian Coal + AGM
Dr F.W. Smith, FIMMM, FNEIMME, CEng.

Wednesday 8th November, 11am
Dorothy's Well Project
Jim O'Connor

Thursday 23rd November, 6pm
Extreme Archaeology:
Digging into the World War 1 fighting tunnels of Northern France
Paul Allison (Durand Group)


Thursday 18th January, 6pm

Fract or Friction
Prof Richard Davies

Thursday 15th February, 6pm
Carbon Capture & Climate Engineering
Dr Nils Markusson

Wednesday 28th February, 11am
Non-ferrous Metal and Glass Working in Roman Britain
Dr Justine Bayley, FSA

Thursday 22nd March, 6pm

Wednesday 4th April, 11am
Thomas Greener's Model Engine; Etherley, Durham 1836
Lecture and demonstration of the engine model
Dr Tom Walker

Thursday 19th April, 6pm
Meeting the Challenge of Fusion Power
Prof Howard Wilson

Thursday 17th May, 6pm
Jaguar Landrover – A Materials Success Story
Andrew Haggie




West Cumberland Mining are ploughing on with their plan to re-open coal reserves in the old Haig Colliery with a new drift. This is exciting news for the former coal mining communities not simply of Cumberland and the former Northern Coalfield but for the whole of the deep mine coal mining fraternity of Britain. It shows its possible.

WCM will be hosting two days of public events at the former Haig Museum Wednesday 6th December 3pm-8pm and Thursday 7th December 10am-6pm

Anyone who is interested ought to get along, we are.


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