Voices in the Coalshed: A Christmas message – Mining and A Christmas Carol
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Voices in the Coalshed: A Christmas message – Mining and A Christmas Carol

A Christmas message – Mining and A Christmas Carol


Probably one of Dickens’ best loved works is ‘A Christmas Carol’ and as well as selling millions of copies since it was first published in 1843, it has been filmed many times, the first in 1908!

It was an important book for Dickens himself for a number of reasons. It was the first book which he published as a complete text, earlier novels had been printed in installments and he was paid by the word; also, it was to fund his new life abroad. Possibly most importantly it was to persuade his rich readers to look more kindly on those less fortunate than themselves. In the preface he says:

 “I have endeavoured in this ghostly little book to raise the ghost of an idea which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly and no one wish to lay it.”

To show his readers what he means he shows them Ebenezer Scrooge, a miser whose wealth brings him only isolation. So that the readers can think, “I am not so bad as him.”

At one point the Ghost of Christmas Present takes Scrooge to, “a bleak and desert moor where monstrous masses of rude stone were cast about as though it were the burial place of giants.”  A horrified Scrooge is told that this is, “a place where miners live, who labour in the bowels of the earth.”

Scrooge is shown a small cottage, home to four generations of mineworkers celebrating Christmas by singing together. Though poor, this family are celebrating as well as they can unlike Scrooge who does not celebrate Christmas himself and, “can’t afford to make idle people merry.” They are “decked out gaily in their holiday attire” and the old man, “was singing them a Christmas song.”

This visit is one of many which begin to melt Scrooge’s heart so that he could become, “as good a master and as good a man as the good old city knew.” All of which changed, “Bah! Humbug!” into, “God bless us every one!”

We would like to thank readers and supporters of Voices in the Coalshed 2022 and would especially welcome individuals and groups from former coalfields to join us ,via new technology, in 2023. Interested? Please get in touch with voicesinthecoalshed@gmail.com