Carrying the Coal

Caitlin Mawhinney
A miniature recreation of a piece of Goole's industrial history

Carry the Coal is a 1.25 scale model sculpture of the Tom Puddings, which were coal transporting tub boats used between 1863 and 1985. These boats would travel on the Aire and Calder Navigation, carrying coal from the South Yorkshire Coalfield to the port of Goole. For this project, Caitlin has handmade a detailed miniature model of a tug boat pulling a number of Tom Puddings and used it to recreate a journey through the canal in miniature. In this way Carrying the Coals captures a moment in history when the Tom Puddings were a common sight in Goole.

Caitlin says, “this project is about capturing a moment in time and bringing it back to life. It is a process of observation and recreation as well as artistic intervention. I worked from photographs, both sourced from the internet, and taken myself on location to recreate the boat and the Tom Pudding train. I used a mixture of materials including mount board (a thick card), foam board, PVA glue, paper, perspex, modelling clay and acrylic paints and well as string, grit, and chains.”

Caitlin Mawhinney

Caitlin Mawhinney works as a freelance theatre designer, making sets and costumes for productions across the country. As part of this work, she is also a skilled model maker, creating miniature versions of real life.

Caitlin graduated from Nottingham Trent University in 2019 with a First Class Honours in Theatre Design, and previously studied at Leeds College of Art. She has worked with theatres including Harrogate Theatre, Leeds Playhouse, and The Lowry and toured her work across the North. Caitlin was a recent winner of the Evening Standard x Tik Tok Future Theatre Fund in the Visual Design category, selected from nominees across the country.

Caitlin Mawhinney 


Carrying the Coal


A  My Three Words  Gallery Opening Commission


Caitlin is one of the artists commissioned to make a piece of work based on the My Three Words brief.  These examples demonstrate what type of artworks can be exhibited. They encourage anyone who wants to be creative, to make a piece of art based on a location in Goole, and submit it to the online Gallery.


Sailing a miniature version of a Tom Pudding boat train in the water where the actual Tom-Pudding boats worked is a simple idea but it sets our thoughts to the complex history of that location in a curiously beguiling way. The pleasing notion that we could hold the model in our hands also resonates with ideas of scale, perspective, and looking back at the past industrial activity of that location.


Caitlin has made a beautiful model of the barges, and the time-lapse video of her making the model is great to watch – especially as Catlin’s cat makes a brief appearance.

David Wheeler
Artistic Director, IOU