British Mining No 68 – Oldham Coal
by G. Fanning
Written by Gerry Fanning, whose own roots go deep into Oldham Coal, this monograph looks at the history of coal mining in the Oldham area from early recorded times through to the end of the industry in the 20th century. At its height in the mid 19th century, when it was dominated by the Lees and Jones families, Oldham coal was mainly won from many small collieries whose lives varied from a few years to many decades, though two of the four largest collieries survived to Nationalisation.
The story of the smaller collieries is divided chronologically and then geographically, while the four larger ones have a chapter of their own, and the author uses sources such as rate books, mines inspectors reports, census returns, estate records and local press reports to build up a picture of this once important industry, which in 1851 employed over 2,000 men in Oldham alone.
As well as the collieries themselves, the author also looks at the markets for their products and their transport systems, mainly to local mills, factories and households. He also tells something of conditions underground and looks at what happened to the sites after the collieries closed.
A5 161pp, 8 photo’s, 20 figs
ISBN 0 901450 54 5
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