At its peak in 1920, 1.1 million people were employed in the coal-mining industry, with more than 1,300 mines across Britain producing nearly 300 million tonnes of coal for domestic and industrial use. Mining was, and remains, a dirty, dangerous and complex engineering task, extracting a raw material at depths of up to 1,400m below the surface, the shafts spreading out for further miles beneath town and country.
This Haynes Manual explains the evolution of British coalmining from a technical and engineering standpoint from the 18th to the 20th century, the heyday of British mining. From simple bell-pit mining the book goes on to explain in detail the fundamental methods of surface and underground mining, including ‘pillar-and-stall’ workings, longwall mining and deep mining, and the technologies from made these possible, from simply hand picks and shovels through steam-powered underground haulage systems and modern computerised shearer-loader machines. The book explains the history and technology both above and below ground, exploring the pit head surface machinery and the transportation networks that fed into it, and the personal kit and equipment of individual miners. It also looks at how successive generations of mining engineers have met the perennial challenges and dangers of mining: pressure from millions of tons of rock and earth above; water drainage; fire and gas explosions; roof and seam collapse; underground illumination; ventilation; disease and accidents.
Alongside the technical story, this Haynes manual will be rich in human history, with many first-hand accounts of how miners worked and lived during these industrious centuries.
Author: Dr Chris McNab is an experienced author and editor specialising in military history and technology. To date he has published more than 100 books, including Siege Warfare and Falklands War for Haynes. He has also written exclusively for major encyclopedia series, magazines and newspapers, and has made TV appearances as an expert commentator for Discover, Sky and History channels.