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South Yorkshire Mining Disasters: Volume II (Paperback)

The Twentieth Century

Local History Yorkshire and Humberside Mining & Miners Barnsley England

By Brian Elliott
Imprint: Wharncliffe Books
Series: Mining Heritage
Pages: 176
Illustrations: 100 black and white
ISBN: 9781845630577
Published: 19th November 2009
Expected Re-release Date: 31st January 2021


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The extent and frequency of coal-mining disasters was far less during the twentieth century compared with the Victorian times, especially after the nationalisation of the industry in 1947. Legislation, inspection and knowledge of the main causes of accidents, especially concerning emissions of gas and explosions, combined to reduce the chances of major mishaps. When disasters did occur, an increasingly highly-trained and well-equipped mines rescue service came into action, saving lives, even at the expense of some of their own brave members. Yet through much of the century coal mining continued to be a highly dangerous occupation, day-to-day fatalities occurring on a regular basis; and the bigger disasters: at Maltby Main, Bentley, North Gawber and Wharncliffe Woodmoor, attracted widespread media attention, causing immense suffering to bereaved families and communities. At the time of the Cadeby disaster of 1912 when there were 88 deaths, including rescue workers and mine inspectors, there were about 2,600 collieries operated by almost 1500 independent concerns and a work-force of around 1,100,000. By the 1970s, about the time of the last disasters covered in this volume there were still 240 working pits. Brian Elliott's book helps us to appreciate the great debt that we owe to our recent coal-mining ancestors. We should never forget them.Brian Elliott is the son of a Wharncliffe Woodmoor miner and has written extensively on coal-mining and social history. His recent books include Yorkshire Mining Veterans, South Yorkshire Mining Disasters (Vol 1) and Lord Mason. Barnsley Pit Lad to Peer. He is often consulted by the media on matters relating to local history and the history of the coal-mining history in particular, including the 1984/85 strike on which he has compiled two notable books: The Miners' Strike Day by Day and Yorkshire's Flying Pickets.

This book is a must for any family historian whose ancestors worked in the coal mining industry, even if they worked in another area if the country.
He has used a mixture of factual information, newspaper reports and contemporary accounts to give the reader a real understanding of the lives of these men, their families and the communities they lived in.

Doncaster Ancestor
 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.

Perfect Partner

South Yorkshire Mining Disasters: Volume I The Nineteenth Century (Paperback)

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 Huskar 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,…

By Brian Elliott

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