British Mining No. 87 – Coal Mining in Morley
By Jim Thorp OBE
The Borough of Morley lies on the southern edge of Leeds and its industrial prosperity grew from textiles and coal-mining. The town grew from 2,108 inhabitants in 1801 to 60,000 today.
This monograph describes some of the more well-known of Morley’s collieries and lists 87 pits in all. It covers the early nineteenth century and the impact of HM Inspector’s of Mines on the employment of women and children. It tells the story of William Best who improved the safety lamp and his business partner William Ackroyd.
There is a detailed account of the Morley Main explosion, which claimed the lives of 34 men and boys and includes the story of the inquest held at the Royal Hotel (which was also used a a temporary mortuary) and the relief provisions which came after. Other lesser disasters followed, despite strict safety rules which were often disregarded by men and managers alike.
Technological progress at Topcliffe pit took the form of the ‘iron man’ coal mining machine and the ambitious scheme to rescue the mine by working the Black Bed seam of gas coal and the building of a gasworks.
Unlike many histories, this work describes the miners, the owners, their living conditions, their disputes and their religious and cultural background. It ends with the closure of East Ardsley Colliery in 1968 caused by geological problems.
A5 108pp, 37 figs
(NMRS members discount 25%)
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