43 Pictures That Show The Dust And Sweat Of Britain’s Coal Mines

    Deep coal mining in Britain has come to an end. We do our own mining of historical snaps.

    As Kellingley Colliery coal mine closes in North Yorkshire this week, marking the end of centuries of deep coal mining in Britain, we take a look at historical photos from the 20th and 21st centuries.

    1. 1908

    Topical Press Agency / Getty Images

    A crowd of miners wait anxiously for survivors of a disaster at Hampstead Colliery to surface from the coalface.

    2. 1910

    Hulton Archive / Getty Images

    A rescue party arrives at the scene of a colliery disaster in the Birmingham area.

    3. 1910


    A radium mine at Grampound Road in Truro, Cornwall.

    4. 1913

    Heritage Images / Getty Images
    (above) "A pit pony pulling a tub full of coal at Brinsley Colliery, Nottinghamshire. Coal was mined in the Eastwood area for nearly 700 years. Originally, the monks of Beauvale Priory held the coal mining rights and there may have been shallow workings dating further back to Roman times. By the 1870s the good quality 'top hard' coal at Brinsley had been almost exhausted and a second shaft was sunk in 1872 to a depth of 780 feet. At its peak of production the colliery produced around 500 tons of coal a day and employed 361 men, 282 of whom worked at the coal faces. By 1930, coal reserves had been exhausted but the shafts were kept open until 1970 to access neighbouring pits. The Brinsley Colliery site has now been landscaped and turned into a picnic area. This photograph was taken by the Rev FW Cobb (1872-1938), who was Rector of Eastwood from 1907 to 1917. Many of his photographs were taken under extremely difficult and dangerous conditions and combine to make a remarkable contribution to mining history during the early part of the 20th century."

    5. 1919


    Miners cheer as Edward, Prince of Wales, visits Insoles Ltd colliery at Cymmer.

    6. 1920

    Central Press / Getty Images

    A boy miner underground at Ashington colliery fixes the ropes for the coal carts.

    7. 1924


    Miners drilling into a coalface, location unknown.

    8. 1924.


    Coal miners having a break to eat their meal, watched by some of the pit-ponies, at unknown location.

    9. 1929

    Planet News Archive / Getty Images

    At the coalface in the Co-operative Wholesale Society's coalmine at Shilbottle, Northumberland.

    10. 1930

    Sasha / Getty Images

    Two miners working in their underwear on the coalface at Tilmanstone Colliery, Kent.

    11. 1932


    The Duke of York visits miners at Atherton Collieries during his tour in Lancashire.

    12. 1938

    Fox Photos / Getty Images

    These boys spent two days a week down a mine learning to be pit boys at Newton Chambers colliery at Thorncliffe near Sheffield. They are pictured returning safety lamps to the office.

    13. 1943

    Keystone / Getty Images

    A number of boys volunteered for the coal mines following a government appeal and started their training at Markham Main Colliery, near Doncaster.

    14. 1936

    Fox Photos / Getty Images

    A miner pushing a coal truck at the Old Meadows coal pit, Bacup, Lancashire.

    15. 1948

    Pa / EMPICS Sports Photo Agency
    (above) Women and girls are pictured in the Lancashire coalfields, where they are employed on one of the noisiest and dirtiest jobs in mining - that of "screening" stone, shale and rubbish from the coal as it passes on a conveyor belt from the pithead to awaiting railway wagons.

    16. 1948


    Miners coming off shift by way of the newly installed diesel railway at Nook Colliery, Astley, Lancashire.

    17. 1954

    Popperfoto / Getty Images

    Two miners receive medical assistance from a doctor and nurse at a colliery surgery.

    18. 1958


    Miners doff their helmets at Queen Elizabeth II at Rothes Colliery, Fifeshire, where she made her first descent of a coal mine. She spent half an hour underground.

    19. 1964


    Miners work on a tunnel for the new London Underground Victoria line, 70 feet below Oxford Circus.

    20. 1967


    The 110ft-high oil derrick towers above a housing estate in the Yorkshire mining village of South Kirby.

    21. 1972

    R. Viner / Getty Images

    Coal miners at Daw Mill Colliery near Nuneaton, Warwickshire.

    22. 1972


    A pit official at Sutton Colliery near Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, checks on a trunk conveyor at the coalface.

    23. 1972

    General scenes at the Saltley Coke Depot in Birmingham, as the miners attempt to close the depot down during their strike. A speech by a Yorkshire Miner's activist, Arthur Scargill, persuaded tens of thousands of Birmingham-based workers to come out on strike in sympathy with the miners and many of them joined the picket lines at Saltley. This meant that they outnumbered the huge police presence and the gates of Saltley were shut at last.

    24. 1975


    The Queen meets "onsetter" Stan Wood after stepping from the cage at the pit bottom, 600 yards underground during her visit with Prince Philip (background) to Silverwood Colliery, near Rotherham.

    25. 1975


    Betteshanger Colliery near Dover in Kent.

    26. 1977


    Undergoing small-scale coalface trials at the Kellingley Colliery near Castleford is a "space helmet"-style hard hat to give miners protection against bumps, flying grit, and airborne dust.

    27. 1980


    Prime minister Margaret Thatcher, clad in white overalls, a miner's helmet, and donkey jacket, inside a five-ton "kibble", a large steel bucket suspended on chains before the descent down a mine shaft at the Wistow colliery in the Selby coalfield.

    28. 1983


    The Yorkshire mining community of Featherstone welcome back their victorious Rugby League team, who beat Hull in the Challenge Cup final at Wembley.

    29. 1989


    A worker climbs out of the cage for the last time at Betteshanger Colliery near Dover. A century of coal mining comes to an end with the closure of the pit by British Coal.

    30. 1992

    Steve Etherington / EMPICS Sports Photo Agency

    Two miners on the last shift at Cotgrave Colliery, Nottingham.

    31. 1993

    John Giles / EMPICS Sports Photo Agency

    A moment of cheer in a beleagured industry as miners at Wistow Colliery in North Yorkshire celebrate their achievement as Europe's top coal productivity pit.

    32. 1993

    John Giles / EMPICS Sports Photo Agency

    33. 1997

    John Giles / EMPICS Sports Photo Agency

    Waiting for news at Maltby Colliery near Rotherham as RJB Mining meets to discuss the future for the coal mining industry.

    34. 1998

    John Giles / EMPICS Sports Photo Agency

    Miner Jason Day, from Maltby mine, near Sheffield, toasts the news of the government announcement of proposals to protect the remaining working pits with a number of measures including restrictions on the construction of more gas-fired power stations and curbs on open site developments.

    35. 1999

    Owen Humphreys / EMPICS Sports Photo Agency

    A miner at the 90-year-old Ellington Colliery in Northumberland puts his lamp back on the shelf at the end of his shift, following the news that the mine is to close in 2000, with the loss of 400 jobs.

    36. 1999

    Owen Humphreys / EMPICS Sports Photo Agency

    Miners from Ellington Colliery wait outside the pit to hear the announcement of the planned pit closure.

    37. 2001

    Barry Batchelor / EMPICS Sports Photo Agency

    The Prince of Wales with mine manager Peter Walker at Big Pit, Blaenavon. The prince started the last of three official visits to Wales with a tour of the former mining town of Blaenavon.

    38. 2004

    Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

    A miner gets changed before going home after the last shift at Riccall Colliery in Selby, England. The Riccall mine was the last pit at the Selby complex in Yorkshire to shut, ending the life of what was once the jewel in the crown of British mining.

    39. 2004

    John Giles / PA WIRE

    A dejected miner sitting in a locker room at Stillingfleet Colliery, York, for the last time as the mine closes.

    40. 2006

    Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

    Miners make their way to work at number 2 shaft in Hatfield Colliery in Doncaster, England.

    41. 2015

    John Giles / PA WIRE

    Mark Bainbridge, who has worked at Kellingley Colliery for 32 years, starts his final shift maintaining the miners' lamps.


    John Giles / PA WIRE
    John Giles / PA WIRE

    Miners embrace as the last shift finishes at Kellingley Colliery in Knottingley, North Yorkshire on the final day of production.


    John Giles / PA WIRE

    A message chalked on a board at Kellingley Colliery in Knottingley, North Yorkshire, as the final shift works underground.

    Laura Gallant is a photo editor for BuzzFeed UK and is based in London.

    Contact Laura Gallant at Laura.Gallant@BuzzFeed.com.

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