January Miner of the Month : Ian Joseph Cunniff

Posted on by Anita O'Donovan

This month we've been chatting to miner guide Ian Joseph Cuniff who joined the Museum in July.

Ian has a couple of nicknames - Young Joe or 5and5. He started mining in 1986 at Sharlston Colliery and then moved on to working all the Selby mines - Riccall, North Selby, Stillingfleet, Whitemoor, Wistow and Thorn.

"I was made redundant from Kellingley Colliery in July 2015 and came straight to working here at Caphouse the same month"

Ian recalls some of his memories..

"I have had different experiences in different types of jobs, meeting different characters. I have made some fantastic friends, in different coalmines. It's been great working in an old mine and then a modern mine - seeing how times have changed and progressed."

So how did he come to work at the Museum?

"I applied for a job when I had been made redundant. I have worked for 28 (and a half) years in coal mining. Mining is in my blood. My dad, his dad and his dad before that were miners. There's 140 years of mining in my family history."

And what does Ian think is the best part of his new job?

"Meeting people from all over the world and going back in time, telling them all about the history of the Museum on the underground tours."

If you fancy getting kitted out and embarking on a journey 140m beneath the surface, book one of our special underground tours today!

Posted in Heritage


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