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South Yorkshire Mining Disasters (Paperback)

Local History Yorkshire and Humberside The Victorian Era Mining & Miners Barnsley

By Brian Elliott
Imprint: Wharncliffe Books
Series: Mining Heritage
Pages: 176
ISBN: 9781903425640
Published: 31st October 2006
Expected Re-release Date: 30th January 2018

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In the period that we now call the Industrial Revolution mining disasters wrecked the lives of thousands of South Yorkshire families and devastated entire communities. The Husker pit flooding of 1838 in which 26 young girls and boys were killed shocked Victorian society and and was a significant factor in the 1842 Report on Employment of Women and Children in Mines; but earlier, long forgotten disasters are also explored. The Barnsley area was particularly hard-hit during the middle decades of the century with major mining accidents, usually great explosions of firedamp occurring, for example, at Lundhill Colliery (189 men and boys killed); Oaks (361 fatalities, Britain's worst pit disaster) and Swaithe Main (143 dead). Scenes of grief, mourning and remarkable heroism provided spectacular copy for Victorian newspapers and magazines such as The Illustrated London News, focusing on the very uncertain and dangerous life of the miner. Despite the importance and widespread occurrence of South Yorkshire mining disasters, which also included dreadful winding accidents and gas emissions, their story has never been told in a single volume.

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 Brian Elliott

About Brian Elliott

Brian Elliott was born in the village of Royston near Barnsley and spent his childhood in neighbouring pit village Carlton where his father worked as a miner. Leaving school early, Brian's first job was in professional football, then in local government before starting a career in teaching and Further Education. It was whilst at teacher-training college that he developed a passionate interest on local history, inspired by one of his tutors, who subsequently became a great friend, David Hey. Brian's B.Ed dissertation was on the Oaks Colliery, particularly the great disaster of 1866.

A freelance writer and editor for many years, Brian has published many books and articles on local and regional history, as well as initiating and developing series such as Aspects of Local History and Mining Heritage for the well-known Barnsley-based publisher Pen and Sword Books. He has also appeared on BBC Radio Sheffield on many occasions and has made contributions to BBC Radio 4, BBC and ITV local news programmes. He is a founder volunteer member and trustee of the recently opened Experience Barnsley people's museum and Discovery Centre.

Though now retired, Brian continues to research and write articles and books, for Pen and Sword and Script Media especially relating to coalmining history and has recently developed an interest in the remarkable contribution of miners during the Great War.

Before Brian's father died he recorded an interview with him as part of the research for the book Yorkshire Mining Veterans. This and many other interviews with former miners are deposited in the National Mining Museum for England's oral history archive.

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