The Miner’s Family

john briscoe from Cannock

John Briscoe from Cannock

Ted Bet and Tone-1.jpg

Tony, Ted and Betty

John Briscoe came from a large mining family and they lived in Cannock. Three of his brothers usually referred to as Ted, Bet and Tone are in this painting. They were sadly born mentally backward as I was always told. They lived in a row of houses I believe was built by the mine owners for their workers. They were old and negleted houses, dark and dusty. Johns father died of cancer, I saw him lieing on his bed in the small living room, I saw him in there, one side of his body was turning blue. John was overcome by grief but could not face it and he got a group of us from Art school to go to Paris with him hoping to forget his troubles, his father died around this time but John was stoical about it. This is not the end of the Briscoe tragedy. His mother died of breast cancer and his three brothers, Ted Bet and Tone had no one to care for them. Once at the bus station in Walsall I saw one of the brothers walking by in the night, angry looking and alone.

John was a brilliant artist. He was the talk of Walsall art school, flambouyant and full of life. His art work was creative and effortlessly brilliant. He could turn his gift for creativity from sculpture to pottery at ease. But he had an accident on e day and stabbed himeself in the eye, and lost his sight in that eye. This fault of all his tradgedy I firmly place on the neglect of the coal mining owners in Cannock who didn’t seem to do anything to help this poor, poor family. There were two other children one Tom Briscoe who got married, and the oldest who I only heard about by heresay.

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