The National Coal Mining Museum for England is hosting the launch for the most comprehensive book on the Yorkshire Coalfield, ‘Yorkshire Collieries 1947-1994’ by former Under Manager Eddie Downes

Thursday 27 April 2017, 1pm - 4pm

The National Coal Mining Museum for England is hosting a free book launch event for ‘Yorkshire Collieries 1947-1994’ with the book’s author former Undermanager, Eddie Downes, along with former ex-Colliery Overman, Tony Banks.

The event takes place on 27 April between 1pm - 4pm and promises an afternoon that combines research of historical significance with personal memories and stories. Visitors will hear Eddie Downes speak about the contents of his book, as well as take part in a Q+A session and book signing. Following an interactive session with Tony Banks which focuses on identifying objects from the Yorkshire coalfield, the afternoon is rounded off with an opportunity to take a special tour of the Museum’s new exhibition with a Museum Curator .

During the book launch, visitors will learn more about the Yorkshire Coalfield as Eddie Downes discusses researching and writing the book and provides an overview of ‘Yorkshire Collieries 1947-1994’ , including the 137 pits which came under the remit of the NCB and British Coal Corporation.

Published by Beamreach publishing, the 680-page book takes in history, politics and sociology, covering 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 ofMineworkers (NUM) and the National Coal Board (NCB).

Following a Q&A session with Eddie, his close friend and ex-miner, Tony Banks, will host a ‘Show and Tell’ for visitors to identify typical objects used across the Yorkshire coalfield.

The event will close with a book signing by Eddie Downes after which visitors can take a special tour of the Museum’s new exhibition, ‘For the People by the People’, with a curator. The exhibition, ‘For the People by the People’, is part of a programme of events hosted by the Museum to mark the 70th anniversary of the nationalisation of the coal industry. In addition to examining the impact on miners of working in a public owned industry, the programme, which begins on 3 April, also reflects ongoing discussion around nationalisation of the coal industry. The exhibition incorporates memories and contributions from ex-miners, members of local community and memorial groups and from the Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation.

In writing ‘Yorkshire Collieries 1947-1994’, Eddie Downes has worked closely with the Museum’s librarians who have helped him to access numerous documents and other sources from the collection of over 20,000 books and 300 journals. This unique resource is available to anyone interested in researching the coal industry, mining methods, history and communities. More information about the Library, which is open to the public on Tuesdays and Thursdays, can be found here:

For information about the book launch visit or call 01924 848806.

ENDS For press information, images and interview requests please contact Jessie Leong at Bonner & Hindley:; 0113 243 4713

Book Launch Schedule:
1.15 – 2.15 – Talk by Eddie Downes about the book ‘Yorkshire Collieries 1947-1994’
2.15 – 3.00 – Tony Banks and Eddie Downes – ‘Show & Tell’ – objects from the Yorkshire coalfield, plus a chance for Q & A
3.00 onwards – Book signing and a chance for visitors to speak to the author and Tony Banks. 3.30 – 3.50 – Special exhibition tour by a curator for the new exhibition, ‘For the People by the People’

Eddie Downes & Tony Banks Ex-miners who are actively involved in the Oaks Memorial and the Stanley Coal Mining Memorial as well as the wider preservation of mining heritage.

Eddie: left school at 19 and started at pit in the early 1970s as a roadlayer, progressing to haulage -hand and faceworker, then junior official. At the same time, he studied Mining Engineering, obtaining an OND, HND and BSc (Leeds). He was awarded his Mine Managers Certificate in 1979 and entered colliery management in 1980. Becoming Mining Manager of Colcrete Ltd and working at numerous British pits and mines in Canada, USA, Germany and Spain. He became Contracts Manager at Fosroc Technic in 1988, before forming his own mining contracting company in 1991. Eddie left coal mining at the end of 1993 and formed a manufacturing company making souvenirs from coal dust and resin. He sold the company in 2005 and worked as a landscaper until retiring in January 2008, when he began the research for his book. Eddie is Vice-Chairman of Lofthouse Colliery Action Group.

Tony: left school at 15 and started on the pit top at Manor Colliery in 1957. After basic training, he went underground aged 16 as a pony driver and at 18 started coal face training in tub stalls then hand-fill longwall. Tony did machine training at Old Roundwood Colliery and operated ploughs, multi-jib cutters and shearers at Manor Colliery before moving to Lofthouse Colliery in 1966, working on trepanners, before becoming a shotfirer then deputy from 1971. He was the relief overman during the Lofthouse Disaster and the subsequent rescue attempts and aftermath. Having reverted back to deputy in 1977, Tony then worked on the shaft sinking at Wistow Mine in the Selby Complex where he became Colliery Overman in 1983 – a position he held until ill-health retirement in 1995.

Editor’s notes
 The Museum is free admission
 Some individual events will incur a charge
 Free car and coach parking
 Opening hours: 10.00 am – 5.00 pm daily except for 24-26 December and 1 January
 Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times
 Please arrive early to book onto an underground tour, as at busy periods tours are often fully booked by midday
 Temperature underground is 12C; we strongly recommend warm practical clothing and sensible flat shoes. Unfortunately children under five years old are not permitted on the underground tour
 Indoor play area for children under five
 Disabled facilities include level parking, ramp and disabled toilets with accessible underground tours which can be arranged by prior arrangement

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