Keith Jones

 
Calligrapher, Cartoonist and Caricaturist

Keith Jones was born and bred in Boldon like many of his ancestors.  His early education started at North Road Infants then at Hedworth  Lane Juniors followed by Boldon Secondary Modern School for Boys where he developed an interest in Caligraphy and Sketching.  He became an active member of the Boldon Colliery Amateur Choral and Operatic Society.  His first public appearance was in a production of Merry England in 1970 at the age of 11.

 
Keith is centre front

 and his second appearance was the following year in Gilbert and Sullervan's "Gondoleers"

 
Keith is 3rd from the left in the second row.  Do you know the others?

 

His interest in music continued to grow and later as a young man he was a member of the Boldon Miners Rock and Roll Band.

 

The picture shows the band during a performance at Butlins in Ayres 1957.

Although he enjoyed his music very much his first love as a hobby remained drawing.  Ever since the age of eleven, when Keith had his first cartoon published in the Shields Gazette, he has never let his talent lie dormant.  Over the years he has had many cartoons published in the Gazette, Sunderland Echo, Soldier, Mining News and the Reveille.

For many years he has done voluntary work for the charity Heartbeat Foundation helping to raise large sums of money for their funds.  More recently he has helped with the Heart Call Appeal Fund who raise money to buy cardiac equipment for the local hospitals.(1988)

Apart from all this he also had a full time job.  More than 30 years of his working life was spent as a mining engineer down the pit just like his father before him.  He started his mining career at the age of 15 as an apprentice electrician and continued to work underground until 1962 when he was appointed a mechanization demonstrator in the North Durham area.  He was responsible for introducing a new method of production at Boldon Colliery which pushed production up to 1,320 tons of coal per shift.  In 1968 he became Method Study Engineer for the area.  By 1972 the time the National Coal Board was contracting rapidly and leaving the land in many parts of East Durham and Northumberland bearing the scars of the coal mining industry, many derelict buildings and winding gears but the most visible eyesore was a large number of pit heaps.  The NCB now started tackling the problem of these great mountains of waste and the 36 year old Keith Jones was given the job of clearing them away he was appointed Mine Stone Executive for the Northern Region working from the Regional Headquarters in Team Valley.  In his new job he was responsible for the disposal of pit heap shale in the whole of the Northumberland and Durham Coalfield.  He arranged for the shale to be used in the road construction industry, being used as foundation material both for the Sunderland by-pass and in sections of the Durham Motorway.  Whilst he saw his main job as getting rid of the waste he also saw the possibility of the creation of a new industry in the North East to manufacture breeze block and other building materials.

Not only did he work in the mine but he also made cartoons for Safety at Work posters for the British Coal, which were displayed in coal mines all over the country, and he amused his friends with cartoons and caricatures later he started doing posters for various social evenings. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a cartoon which he produced while he was secretary of the Mid Boldon Club in Front Street, East Boldon. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As time went by he became increasingly interested in portraying people and at the age of 53 he faced redundancy due to pit closures, so he turned what had up to then been his hobby into a new career and with the help of his wife, Elizabeth, opened his art shop "Pen n' Ink" in October 1990.  His main business was wedding stationery with a caricaturing as a side line.  He receives orders from many parts of the world included the USA and Australia.

Industrial units now stand on the site of the former Boldon Colliery pithead and there is nothing to mark where generations of miners worked and sometimes died.

In 1997 there were plans to create a permanent memorial to more than 100 miners who had died in Boldon Colliery from 1871 to 1980 and Keith was commissioned to inscribe the names of all of the miners in the book of remembrance which was to be framed by the local firm Pine Emporium and kept in the Sanctuary of St Nicholas' Church.  Father Bruce Carlin, of St Nicholas Church, Hedworth Lane, Boldon Colliery said "We think it is important we create a memorial to the miners who died, because there is no tangible sign that the pit ever existed. There are many families in the colliery who lost fathers or grandfathers in disasters at the pit and there is great support for the idea.  We are still researching two lists of nanes, but we believe approximately 117 miner died in the pot over the years, until it finally closed in the early 80's.  Sadly the first death in 1871 is recorded as sumply 'unknown boy", as though his indentity didn't matter."

The Memorial Book was dedicated in November of that year.

Also in 1997 Keith filled the pages of the Memorial Book of the Missions to Seament in South Shields which contains the names of every seaman who has died since the Second World War and he continues to keep the book up to date.

 Here are a few of the hundreds of cartoons which have appeared which have appeared in the press over the years.

 

Arround this time he became increasingly interested in portraying people so that when, at  the age of 53, he faced redundancy due to pit closures he turned what had up to then been his hobby into a new career and with the help of his wife, Elizabeth, opened his art shop "Pen n' Ink" in October 1990.  His main business was wedding stationery with a caricaturing as a side line.  He receives orders from many parts of the world included the USA and Australia.

He also spent a great deal of time teaching his skills to others by means of illustrated talks.  He has run classes in a very large range of venues including schools, colleges, adult education centres, clubs, church halls, department stores and in September 1991 he even spent a week in Franklin Top Security Prison, Durham teaching the prisoners to draw caricatures.  According to the Sunderland Echo, the inmates very much enjoyed this and requested that he should also run a  caligrahpy course for them.

In 1993 he appeared for a month in the "Limelight Club" at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle and had a three day exhibition of his work at the Metro Centre

In 1997 there were plans to create a permanent memorial to more than 100 miners who had died in Boldon Colliery from 1871 to 1980 and Keith was commissioned to inscribe the names of all of the miners in the book of remembrance which was to be framed by the local firm Pine Emporium and kept in the Sanctuary of St Nicholas' Church.  Father Bruce Carlin, of St Nicholas Church, Hedworth Lane, Boldon Colliery said "We think it is important we create a memorial to the miners who died, because there is no tangible sign that the pit ever existed. There are many families in the colliery who lost fathers or grandfathers in disasters at the pit and there is great support for the idea.  We are still researching two lists of nanes, but we believe approximately 117 miner died in the pot over the years, until it finally closed in the early 80's.  Sadly the first death in 1871 is recorded as sumply 'unknown boy", as though his indentity didn't matter."

The Memorial Book was dedicated in November of that year.

Also in 1997 Keith filled the pages of the Memorial Book of the Missions to Seament in South Shields which contains the names of every seaman who has died since the Second World War and he continues to keep the book up to date.

Keith was asked to write the invitations for the Queen's visit to South Tyneside in 2001and to produce the guestbook for the Her Majesty to sign.  In the same year he decided to retire from lecturing but formed a new group known as "The Scribes" which meet at Boldon Community Centre.

Over the years Keith has been asked to demonstrate his penmanship by many pen companies in large shows and festivals such as the craft fair at the Federation Breweries.

He has inspired many people, young and old, to take up the art of calligraphy and his files contain many very appreciative letter from former students.

His records contain letters from many dignitaries including The private secretary to Prince Edward,  The Chancelor of the Exchequer, Lady-in-Waiting to the Queen, M. Al Fayed, Mike Neville, MBE and Reg Smythe, the cartoonist of Andy Cap, with whom he had a 40 year friendship.

Keith and his wife, Elizabeth, are at present (October 2005) moving to a smaller house and we wish them both a long and happy life there.

Links to other Boldon Characters:
Catherine Lynch | Cristobal Compois | Elaine Carr | Etta | Hannah Walker | Harry Reay | Hilary and Wout |  Howard Ross | Ian Cullen | Keith Jones | Ken Longstaff | Sam Bartram | Yvonne Quenet

Make a Free Website with Yola.