Coal Mining

coal bricks

Metal Mining was not the only mining industry in Britain.

Coal mining has been an essential part of British industry since Roman times. Coal played a very important part in the Industrialisation of Britain. Coal was the fuel of the industrial revolution, it fuelled industries like steel and heavy engineering, and coal was the fuel of choice for smelting metals especially tin and copper.

The coal mining industry was at the epicentre of the society of the North East of England, Yorkshire and South Wales, just as Tin and Copper mining were in Cornwall.  The pit dominated daily life. Coal mining was very different to metal mining, but it was just as dangerous. Mining was a dangerous profession with terrible working conditions especially in the Victorian period. Coal miners were at risk from gas and dust which caused explosions and fires.  By the 20th Century investment gave better and more machinery and a greater emphasis on safety, which lead to steady increases in output and manpower giving coal mining peak production figures. But this couldn't safeguard the coal industry in Britain.

Coal was a nationalised industry and some British were mines unprofitable, coal mining was ripe for repositioning by Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government of the 1980s. The 1984 miners' strike, was not enough to prevent the death of an industry.


Photograph reproduced with the kind permission of the Geevor Archive

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