Pit history book to be launched

LAUNCH: Author Eddie Downs, left, and former pit man Tony Banks will help launch the formers book at the mining museum in Overton.
LAUNCH: Author Eddie Downs, left, and former pit man Tony Banks will help launch the formers book at the mining museum in Overton.
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A book about the post war history of the county’s collieries will be launched at the National Coal Mining Museum for England this month.

‘Yorkshire Collieries 1947-1994’ has been written by former undermanager Eddie Downs, who worked closely with museum’s librarians to access sources from the collection of more than 20,000 books and 300 journals.

A museum spokeswoman said: “Mr Downs will provide an overview of ‘Yorkshire Collieries 1947-1994’, which includes the 137 pits which came under the remit of the National Coal Board (NCB) and British Coal Corporation.

“The 680-page book, published by Beamreach publishing, takes in history, politics and sociology.

It covers the history of each pit - from sinking to closure - as well as topics such as Yorkshire Coal Seams, Yorkshire Disasters from 1755, The Mines Rescue Service, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the NCB.

The Thursday, April 27 free event will feature a question and answer session with the author. His close friend and ex-miner, Tony Banks, will then host a ‘Show and Tell’ for visitors to identify typical objects used across the Yorkshire coalfield.

The 1pm and 4pm event will close with a book signing by Mr Downes after which visitors can take a special tour of the Museum’s new exhibition, ‘For the People by the People’, with a curator. Meanwhile, from Good Friday to Easter Monday the museum in Overton, near Wakefield, will host a promenade theatre production of ‘We Also Served’ at 11am, 1pm and 3pm. The In on the Act production is a dramatisation of the nationalisation of the coal industry, seen through the lives of the Bevin Boys. See www.ncm.org.uk for more.

Castleton Mills in Armley, Leeds, which has undergone a transformation. 
Picture by Simon Hulme

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