This book has been written as a companion volume to ‘Killed in a Coalpit – Lives of the Kingswood Miners’. It was scheduled for publication in 2020 but became a victim of Covid 19 and the Lockdown. I am hoping for better news soon.
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Mining on the Mendip Hills has a long history of almost 2,000 years duration, from Roman times until the near past. The lead ingots of Charterhouse are conveniently stamped with the Emperor’s name, Vespasian, which dates them to 69 A.D. The Romans mined silver too but this book is mainly about the black gold – coal – which was mined from the Middle Ages all the way up to the last pits which closed in 1973. Many thousands of men were engaged in this dangerous way of life, almost all of them forgotten by history. The book is explained by its title: it has a comprehensive list of miners’ names and accidents within the framework of time, place and the industry in which they toiled. Other chapters give the flavour of life such as ‘Trouble & Strife – The Invisible Woman?’ So often accident reports end with ‘he has left a wife and large family to bemoan his loss’; I have tried to find the story behind the story, that of the anonymous wives and their equally difficult lives. Believe it or not, there are even a few instances of fun.