Mining Factsheets

Our collection of mining factsheets provide an accessible introduction to the history, science and culture of coal mining.

We hope you can find what you are looking for but if there is a topic not covered here or if you have any questions, please get in touch with us by email education@ncm.org.uk and we will do our best to help you.

For more in-depth research, you can contact our librarians who will be happy to direct you to a wealth of primary and secondary sources. Click here for more information.

 

Working Life

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Early Mining

An overview of early mining techniques including drift mines and bell pits.

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19th century working conditions

A description of the conditions men, women and children worked in underground.

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Jobs in 19 century mines

Find out about the roles of the hewer, trapper, hurrier and thruster.

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The 1842 Royal Commission

Set up by Lord Anthony Ashley Cooper, the 1842 Children's Employment Commission collected information about the condition and treatment of children working underground. 

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Oaks Disaster 1866

Find out about the impact of the Oaks Colliery Disaster which resulted in the loss of 361 men and boys and how it influenced the passing of the 1872 Coal Mines Act. 

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Mice, Rats and Cats

Mice and rats first started living in coal mines when they were taken down in bedding and food for ponies stabled underground. 

Mining Machines & Inventions

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How is Coal Mined?

An overview of the different ways coal is mined: drift mining; open cast mining and deep mining.

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Mine Gases

Find out about the potentially life-threatening gases found underground.

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Mining Machines

Find out how coal was cut; first by hand and then by machines.

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Mining Transport

Find out how miners and equipment were transported underground and how this changed from using pit ponies to underground trains. 

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Mining Machines- Supporting the Roof

How did miners stay staff underground? Find out about the different techniques and equipment they used to support the roof.

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Mine Lighting

Miners have always had to battle against the dark. Find out about the different forms of lighting they have used to help them see underground.  

Pit Ponies

Find out about the important role of horses and ponies in the coal mining industry.

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Pit Ponies, An Overview

Learn the key facts about Pit Ponies

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Pit Ponies, A Brief History

An insight into the different ways horses and ponies have been used in the mining industry.

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Pit Ponies, Care

Learn how pit ponies were cared for underground, who looked after them and how were they treated.

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Pit Ponies, Working Life

Life was hard for a pit pony; they needed the right preparation, equipment and training to work underground.

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Pit Ponies, Myths & Misconceptions

Do ponies have a sixth sense? Can they see in the dark? Find out more about pit pony myths and legends.

 

Rocks and Minerals

What is coal? What are sedimentary rocks? Find out about the rocks and minerals found underground.

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What is Coal?

Key facts about coal and how it was made.

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Rocks and Minerals

An overview of sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous rocks. 

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Properties of Rocks

Find out what you can tell about a rock by carefully studying it. 

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