Book Review: The Last Years Of Coal Mining In Yorkshire by Steve Grudgings


The Yorkshire coalfield is one part of a continuous coal measure that spreads across Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. As the seams nearer the surface were exhausted, collieries were forced to delve deeper. But in 2015, as this book was published, the UK’s last deep coal mines were closing, with the remaining demand for coal in the country being met from imports instead.

The Yorkshire coalfield produced a greater output than any other single area in the UK since the First World War, and until the 1990s was still host to a number of large and highly efficient mines. The pits themselves, the communities that housed the miners, and the related industrial and transport infrastructure had their own distinctive atmosphere and ethos, most of which has now passed by. Spoil heaps and headgear, the obvious markers of the industry, and are now notable by their absence.

This large format book is a heavily illustrated photographic record of the vanishing remains of the Yorkshire collieries 1986-2015. The author was allowed access to photograph all the surviving Yorkshire collieries, both above and below ground, over a 30 year period. This pictorial record is supported by historical notes.

Anything written and produced by Steve Grudgings is going to be good but at first, I was rather sceptical at first of the title as too much has been produced on the coalfield, however, Steve provides superb colour and black and white photos, featuring mining scenes on the surface and underground with accompanying descriptions. It is a superb book with some 56 pits and five pumping are included, together with over 400 images of large and small collieries across the district. The publisher has produced a great job in a gloss paper with consistently high quality photos throughout.
The book can be obtained for £25.00 post free from Mike Moore Books

Reviewer: Mike Moore

Publisher  Folly Books Ltd
Date Published 11 December 2015
ISBN-10 0992855454
ISBN-13 978-0992855451
Format hardback
Pages 306
Price £ 25