There have been many books published about the coal mining industry of Britain but relatively few about the miners themselves. This book is unique in that it concentrates on the miner, his family and his work through a careful selection of illustrations. Although most of the images are photographic, and therefore relate to the latter part of the nineteenth to the closing years of twentieth century, use is also made of much earlier sources, from woodcuts and engravings to illustrations in contemporary journals and magazines. A good deal of the material has come from the author's own collection, accumulated over many years of research; and also from archive sources. The selection is wide ranging, covering the traditional coal mining regions of Britain, from Scotland and northern England, through the midland coalfields and to Wales, as well as images from smaller coalfields such as Cumbria and Somerset. Today, coal mining is a virtually a lost industry and the men, women and children involved in what was once Britain's most important economic but most dangerous activity deserve both recognition and celebration.
Brian Elliott, whose father and many of his recent paternal ancestors worked as miners, is an experienced local historian who has written and edited many books and articles about the coal mining industry. His recent publications include Yorkshire Mining Veterans, the 2-volume South Yorkshire Mining Disasters and Tracing Your Mining Ancestors.