Miners "riding the chain"
Cannock Chase Coalfield & Its Coal
The Cannock Chase Mining Historical Society was formed with the express purpose of coming up with definitive books about the South Staffordshire coalfield and its collieries and the miners who worked them… as they tell us here.
The last mine in Cannock Chase closed in 1993 and now there is little evidence left of the mining heritage upon which the district had been developed.
The original thought was for a photographic record covering some 30 to 40 mines, but, as events unfolded, we decided to write a definitive history of the mines (supported by photographs) so that the mining heritage would not be forgotten.
We concentrated on the area of the coalfield, a roughly triangular shape, with its 12 mile base between Wolverhampton and Walsall along the Bentley Fault, and its apex culminating some ten miles north at Rugeley.
Digging up the past
Such a project requires finances and although we had offers from local entrepreneurs we elected to apply to the Lottery’s Local Heritage Initiative.
Our contribution was to be mainly our time to the research.
This research was mainly based on personal knowledge and the mining records held at the Coal Authority, the County Records Office and local libraries.
As the information was gathered we knew we had quite a major project and our original estimates needed revision. We applied and achieved additional monies from the Lottery Fund bringing our total budget to £20,000.
The original information we gathered amounted to some 700 to 800 pages on A4 paper and we were informed this was not practical in one volume.
Find out more
But what of the other information?
Of these books we always donate free copies to various Staffordshire organisations such as schools, libraries, museums, the County Records Office, William Salt Library, other Historic Societies, the Coal Authority, British Library, and people who have contributed.
Curious points of note
In our researches we came across curious facts, which would have possibly been forgotten otherwise. They make for interesting reading.
In the 1920s and 1930s oil was being produced from coal mined at Cannock & Leacroft Colliery...
The Cannock Chase Rescue Service was formed in 1913 and was at the forefront of the rescue service.
Cannock Chase has seen its own disasters.
There were many more of lesser magnitude - but every life lost is a personal tragedy.
In 1933 there were about 20,000 miners employed in Cannock Chase producing around 5 to 6 million tons per year.
There have been many incidents of bravery down the years but notably:-
Books produced by 'The Cannock Chase Mining Historical Society'
Work is ongoing on the final publications. Currently we have:-
It was not possible to deal with the men of the mines extensively, so many of our books, whilst they are a good read, are the history of the mines and include some technical information.
last updated: 28/04/2009 at 15:11