Book Launch for Eddie Downes book, ‘Yorkshire Collieries 1947 – 1994

Book Launch for Eddie Downes book
‘Yorkshire Collieries 1947 – 1994’

Thursday 27th April, 1-4pm


Come down and attend an afternoon of events  at the National Coal Mining Museum for England to officially launch the book 'Yorkshire Collieries 1947-1994'.

The event is part of our year-long focus on the Nationalisation of the coal industry we are proud to be supporting author Eddie Downes, a former undermanager, along with  friend and former ex-colliery overman, Tony Banks.

Meet author Eddie Downes who has written the most comprehensive history ever produced of the 137 pits which came under the remit of the National Coal Board and British Coal Corporation. The history of each pit is covered from sinking to closure. Other chapters cover Yorkshire Coal Seams, Yorkshire Disasters from 1755, The Mines Rescue Service, the NUM and the NCB. The histories of an additional 50 or so pits are included as part of the Nationalised collieries.


Find out more about the Museum Library

The Museum Library team helped Eddie with his research and provided him access to many items in the Library collection which helped him write such a comprehensive book.

The Museum Library holds over 20,000 books and 300 journals with information on all aspects of coal mining. Qualified Librarians are on hand to help anyone from primary school to PHD level to family historians and media researchers with their questions and research.

The Library is open to the public on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Library Phone: 01924 848806
Library Email:

FREE, no booking required.

1.15 – 2.45: Eddie talks about researching and writing the book

2.45 – 3.00: Q & A – about the book and about Yorkshire Coalfield

3.00 – 3.15: Tony Banks to ‘show and tell’ using objects typically used in aYorkshire coalfield

3.15 - After buying a signed copy of the book why not take up a FREE special tour of the Nationalisation exhibition by a curator – just available on the day! Tour lasts 20 mins. (3.30 – 3.50/4.00 – 4.20).

Free tea and coffee will be available on the day.

Who we're looking for

This event is for anyone interested in the Yorkshire Coalfield – ex-miners, community groups, memorial coal mining groups, CISWO members, coal mining communities.Anyone who had mining ancestors in Yorkshire. University students studying history, politics, sociology, geology. Family history groups and coal mining memorial groups.


Eddie Downes : left school at 19 and started at pit in early 1970s as a roadlayer, progressing to haulage hand and faceworker, then junior official. At the same time studying Mining Engineering, obtaining an OND, HND and BSc (Leeds). Awarded Mine Managers Certificate in 1979. Entered colliery management in 1980 and left the NCB in 1983, disillusioned by the antiquated system of promotion. Became Mining Manager of Colcrete Ltd and worked at dozens of British pits and mines in Canada, USA, Germany and Spain. Became Contracts Manager at Fosroc Technic in 1988 before forming own mining contracting company in 1991. Left coal mining, end of 1993 and formed a manufacturing company making souvenirs from coal dust and resin. Sold this company in 2005 and worked as a landscaper until retiring in January 2008 to begin researching this book. Vice-Chairman of Lofthouse Colliery Action Group.

Tony Banks : left school at 15 and started on pit top at Manor Colliery in 1957. After basic training, went underground aged 16 as a pony driver. Started coal face training at 18 in tub stalls then hand-fill longwall. Did machine training at Old Roundwood Colliery and operated ploughs, multi-jib cutters and shearers at Manor. Went to Lofthouse Colliery in 1966 for better wages, working on trepanners before becoming a shotfirer then deputy from 1971. Was relief overman during the Lofthouse Disaster and the subsequent rescue attempts and aftermath. In December 1977, reverted back to deputy and worked on the shaft sinking at Wistow Mine in the Selby Complex. Became Colliery Overman in 1983 and held that position until ill-health retirement in 1995. Involved with Outwood Community Video and Wakefield Family History Groups and Outwood Computer Club. Both passionate about the preservation of Mining Heritage and are currently involved with the Oaks Memorial and the Stanley Coal Mining Memorial.

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