• Publication week for Descent 296

    'Having just come back from expedition jetlagged and pushed for time, I thought adding eight extra pages to Descent would be the best way to get back into the swing of things. I hope you'll all find that the extra hours were well spent'.

    Click here for more details of what's in the next edition

A positive history of coal?

moorebooks

Active member
I wasn't sure if this should go in the books section, or the mining section, but settled on the latter, as it's the mining hive brain I'd like to pick today.

My 8 year old has been learning about coal at school today, resulting in most of his class marching around the playing field chanting "no more coal".
He didn't join in.

While I have no problem looking for cleaner energy sources, coal has been, and remains to this day, responsible for rising living standards of millions of people across the world. Following things back to their source, we are all reliant on coal, for many of the things we take for granted every day.

Working at Ferrybridge Power Station, I really felt part of something special, providing the energy that kept the country going.

Coal has an amazing history and it's a real shame that young people are now taught such a one-sided view of our history and economy.

So, can anyone recommend any decent books in the history of coal, suitable for a young reader (his reading age is allegedly 14), that focus on the huge benefits that it's brought to mankind?

Thanks in advance.
I have several Coal Mining Books available a number which have been mentioned here
Mike
 

ncbnik

Member
51WcXmiyyFL.jpg


No doubt if Ladybird were still publishing there would be current titles like Vape Shop and The Nail Bar
I think the Ladybird book of Gender Dysphoria would fly off the shelves. Seriously though, the above book is good and most likely you'll get a copy on e-bay.
 

tomferry

Well-known member
60 % of my collection is x ncb books from whitwick colliery . I really do enjoy reading them! Some are very heavy reading though
 

ncbnik

Member
I don't have a TV licence Badlad, so I'll have to pass on that suggestion, but perhaps they could be encouraged to show it at the school.
"encouraged to show it at school" - don't go there! you'll get labelled as a climate change denier, seditious leftie and probably criminally insane. Reason and sensible discussion are on the 'back burner' whilst dogma stalks the land.
 

Flotsam

Active member
An interesting question arises if we ever decided to deep mine again, could we? Is there any expertise a available in the UK? Some years ago there would have been a plethora of suppliers of coal mining equipment, anything left if it?
 

ncbnik

Member
An interesting question arises if we ever decided to deep mine again, could we? Is there any expertise a available in the UK? Some years ago there would have been a plethora of suppliers of coal mining equipment, anything left if it?
IMHO we could for about the next 20 years or so; after which even the 'younger end' would be getting too old. I fear the equipment situation is probably worse and we would probably have to import much of it (sadly, as with so much else). Thirty years on plus - I would think all the equipment, the expertise and very possibly the manual labour would have to be imported; if Brits won't turn out to 'scrat' for potatoes & broccoli I doubt they'll be queueing up to hew coal. Sad, once such a great industry, many many fine men.... gone. What a waste, what incompetence, what malice got us here?
 

ncbnik

Member
I started watching it, but got bored and came back on the computer - mostly about the music miners made rather than the mining.
I agree, another 'missing the mark' programme from the state broadcaster. I suspect many of the Southern intellectuals (and Tory politicians) don't know what coal was used for; they probably think coalmining was just something they told low-life thickoes (such as myself) to do to keep them occupied and out of mischief. And then, ungrateful as were, we deliberately piled it all up into big heaps to deface the landscape and block the views of the landed gentry - then we went off to play rugby. Rugby matches were fitted in between the bouts of industrial strife we caused.

Have I left anything out?;)
 

pwhole

Well-known member
Isn't part of the problem now though that the really good seams are just too deep underground to practically mine? At least with humans. Maltby was nearly a kilometre deep, and that was pushing it - the seams just keep going down and down toward the North Sea. If the Silkstone goes that far east, it must be 3km down by the coast?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maltby_Main_Colliery

Look North had some guy on years ago who claimed he could 'mine' the seams along the coast with remote flexible drills to just extract the useful fractions without significant subsidence or risk to humans, but dunno what happened to that.

Still not sure what happened to New Crofton near Wakefield. Hope Cement were going to some of their output, and Drax had bagged loads too. Both not far away by rail.
 

Graigwen

Active member
Look North had some guy on years ago who claimed he could 'mine' the seams along the coast with remote flexible drills to just extract the useful fractions without significant subsidence or risk to humans, but dunno what happened to that.

Back in the 1990s I did an odd two year post-grad course at the University of Greenwich that converted me from a Tax Inspector into a physics teacher. Having worked hard and accumulated all the grades I needed, I could indulge myself on the final assignment about some aspect of Britain's future energy needs. Completely of the top of my head I wrote a fairly detailed proposal for robot mining of North Sea Coal, not just along the coast but many miles out under the sea. The whole thing from conception to completion took less than two hours, with a few references and a couple of maps and sections. This nonsense somehow got a pass mark from the University. I did acknowledge the technological problem of dealing with faults.

I have just seen this article from 2014.
.
 

pwhole

Well-known member
I think that's the guy - it sounds very, very familiar. And yes, he was very confident it could be done with minimal impact (for the scale of the proposal), and unlike fracking it didn't disturb the bedrock (or coal), just sucked out the juice, as it were.

I did wonder what had happened, but oh dear:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-35715389
 

mikem

Well-known member
When Coal was King is on youtube (in sections), it was never intended to be a history of the job:
"Timeshift explores the lost world of coal mining and the extraordinarily rich social and cultural lives of those who worked in what was once Britain's most important industry. It's a story told through a largely forgotten film archive that movingly documents the final years of coal's heyday from the 1940s to the 1980s."

Dermot Roddy certainly has an interesting career path:

New Crofton filed as dormant in Feb 2021. last post on their website was 2018:
 
Last edited:

Fjell

Well-known member
About the only adverts you see like that any more are for the military. Same target audience, same message.

When I was contemplating employment as a mining engineer, coal in the UK was patently dead as a dodo. So it was largely a choice of SA/Broken Hill or going rotary, with the latter a vastly more attractive option.
 

PeteHall

Moderator
An interesting question arises if we ever decided to deep mine again, could we? Is there any expertise a available in the UK? Some years ago there would have been a plethora of suppliers of coal mining equipment, anything left if it?
I recall reading recently that there wasn't a single mining engineering graduate from Calbourne last year. If that's true, the future looks pretty grim.
 

Brown

New member
"encouraged to show it at school" - don't go there! you'll get labelled as a climate change denier, seditious leftie and probably criminally insane. Reason and sensible discussion are on the 'back burner' whilst dogma stalks the land.
I'll never forgive that militant leftist Thatcher for shutting down the coal industry. Thatcher and her woke intellectuals Milton Freedman and Hayak and high on their theory of market economics.

If only we had a conservative government in now we could go back to the industry subsidised policies of the 1970s.
 
Top