Mining the Past - The Last Years of the Somerset Coalfield

Mining the Past - The Last Years of the Somerset Coalfield
Published by the Radstock Midsomer Norton & District Museum Society in 2014, 26 pages. A5 size slim booklet (N7724X1)

From the preface: On 31 August 1973 the last load of coal was raised from Kilmersdon Colliery. A month lat­er, on 28 September, the last load was raised from Writhlington Colliery. In the years since pitheads have been dismantled, their buildings demolished or used for other purposes and the visible evidence of mining in Somerset has slowly dwindled. A generation has grown up knowing little about the industry that shaped the communities in which they live. In September 2013, to mark the 40th anniversary of the closure of the coalfield, a year­ long project - "Mining the Past" - was launched. The project brought together pupils from Norton Hill, Somervale and Writhlington Schools and former mine employees. Supported by volunteers from Radstock Museum they have explored what it was like to work at the Somerset pits during their last years of operation. At the heart of the project is a series of oral history interviews, designed and conducted by pupils. It is the responses to the questions they asked which shape this publication. Sections include:

Why did you want to be a miner?
What was the daily routine like?
What was you most memorable moment?
Did working in the mines affect your health?
What did you get paid?
What did you enjoy most?
What did you enjoy least?
How did you feel on your first day?
How did you feel on your last day?
What was the camaraderie like and how important were working relationships?
What sort of trades and jobs were there in the coal industry?
What were the differences between the collieries?
How did mechanisation change the work?
What brought the pit to a standstill?
What was health and safety like?
What did you do after the mines closed?
What happened to the mining communities after the pits close?
What impact did the arrival of outsiders have?
What did you do in your spare time?
What role did women and children play?

The condition of the booklet is generally very good. The cover is clean and tidy, the staple spine is intact, and all pages are clean, intact, unblemished and tightly bound.