Born in 1926 in Witton Park, County Durham Tom McGuinness showed a predilection towards sketching from an early age. After leaving school in 1940, he worked in the Meadow Dairy Grocery shop, and then the timber trade until 1944, when he was signed up to the coal industry, as part of the conscriptions enforced by the Bevin government, to counteract falling labour within the industry during World War II.
His path to receiving formal training in art was initiated when his Colliery training officer found Tom sketching in chalk down the mines and suggested he join Darlington School of Art. Like his contemporary Norman Cornish, Tom McGuinness was greatly encouraged in his artistic endeavours by Bill Farrell and
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