Author and Photographer - Steve Grudgings, hardback, 272 printed pages 250
x 250 .£24.95
the title is quite poignant, as Steve has managed to capture in mainly
colour photographs the end of the large scale Coal Industry., The
desolation of abandoned and running down collieries . Steve was also
allowed to take a number of underground photographs for which he had to
obtain special permissions . Photographs of miners and their obvious
comradery make it even more special
As time passes, our understanding of the scale and importance of the UK’s
coal industry fades. In the 1950s and 60s, most homes had coal fires, and
electricity and gas were both produced from coal. In our grandparents’
childhood, more than a million men were directly employed in the industry
world’s railway and UK coal powered most of the world’s shipping fleets as
well as our own massive industrial base. This country’s coal reserves were
a major factor in our leadership in the industrial and commercial spheres
and it can be said that Britain’s success was ‘built on coal.’ The success
of the coal industry also bought a high toll of deaths and injury,
dangerous levels of atmospheric pollution and acute industrial unrest. In
2015 the UK’s last deep coal mines closed and the country’s residual
requirements for coal will be met by imports from places such as Poland,
Columbia and China.
For those of us born in the 1950s, the South Wales valleys conjure up
images of colliery headgear, spoil heaps and coal trains. In reality
however this is an anachronism and few such features survive in the modern
valleys. The surface structures have been swept away and the underground
workings are flooded and collapsed.
In many ways much of South Wales really was ‘built on coal’ and the
photographs in this book record most aspects of the valley pits. The images
are, with few exceptions, ‘historic’ for all traces of the past which they
record have gone. In many ways these images are a celebration of a way of
life that, for better or worse, has now passed. I hope you enjoy seeing
them as much as I enjoyed taking them.
A unique pictorial record of the fast few years of coal mining in the
eastern valleys of South Wales with over 350 images of large and small
collieries across the district.
Choice of photographs was made of the basis of their breadth of coverage
and well historic and aesthetic merit.
About the author:
An outsider to both South Wales and to Coal Mining, Steve Grudgings has had
great pleasure becoming familiar with both over the past 40 years, some of
the results of which fill these pages.
Increasingly active in researching, conserving and documenting the remains
of the UK’s coal industry now there are no active pits left to photograph,
he has become something of an ‘accidental expert’ on many facets of an
industry that has nearly vanished from this country.
https://www.moorebooks.co.uk/ tel 01952 405105
Snailbeach and Tankerville Mines see http://shropshiremines.org.uk/
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