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Samples of paintings

McGuinness Gallery

One of the main attractions of the Town Hall is the McGuinness Gallery which provides a splendid location for artists to display their artistic talents.


Mcguiness gallery

"The McGuinness Gallery provides a splendid location for artists to display their artistic talents".

Exhibitions are programmed to run for 3 weeks at a time and selection is made by a panel of experts from Durham Art Gallery.The Town Hall encourages a wide diversity of styles and exhibitions. The Gallery provides artists with an excellent space in which to display their work. Each exhibition is launched in the best possible way utilising our outstanding in-house caterers. The McGuinness Gallery may also be used for meeting or workshops.

Mcguiness gallery

If you are interested in holding an exhibition in the McGuinness Gallery please contact us

The McGuinness Gallery is named in honour of renowned local mining artist Tom McGuinness.

Tom McGuinness was born in 1926 in Witton Park, County Durham and educated at the local Roman Catholic School, St Chad’s. After leaving school in 1940, his first job was with the timber trade until in 1944 he joined the coal industry as a ‘Bevin Boy’. Tom was to remain in mining for 39 years.

He had always been interested in drawing at school, but had had no formal training until his Colliery Training Officer advised him to attend evening classes at Darlington Art College. He later became a member of the Spennymoor Settlement, a pioneering community arts group. Local portrait commissions and invitations to show in other exhibitions followed the purchase in 1949 of ‘Miner and Child’ by the Shipley Art Gallery.

His work was recognised by the media, especially in 1972 with his exhibition at the John Wibley Gallery in London and again in 1977 with the Bramptons Gallery exhibition, again in London. The NCB featured him in two issues of their news film – Mining Review – and his work has been used by the BBC in the ‘Omnibus’ programme.

Tom worked in a variety of media. In the 1950’s he began to paint in oils moving on in the 1970’s to experiment with lithography and etching. In recent years his work broadened to encompass religious themes as well as documenting the decline of the once-thriving mining communities. Throughout his career, Tom remained constant to the original source of his inspiration. As a painter of the industrial scene Tom was unique in that he continued his profession as a miner throughout his artistic career.

Although made redundant from mining in 1982 Tom continued to depict what he had experienced first hand.

Tom died in February 2006.

His work is his autobiography.