Over 4,000 years of history lie in the seams of British mines. Large-scale coal mining in Britain developed during the Industrial Revolution, providing energy for industry and transportation in industrial areas from the 18th century to the 1950s.
Life in the mines was hard, and working in confined spaces and breathing in stale air and coal dust was dangerous. Child labour was a normal part of Victorian life and it was not until 1842 that a law was passed that stopped women, and children under the age of 10, from working underground in mines in Britain.
Whole villages grew up around the mines so that miners could easily walk to work from their modest homes, provided by the mining companies for their workforce. Close comradeship and tightly knit mining communities were created. Here is the story of what life was like for the people who worked the mines.