Kellingley: British coalmining’s key dates in history

Police hold back pickets as an NCB van used to transport workers arrives at Kellingley Colliery on September 6, 1984
Police hold back pickets as an NCB van used to transport workers arrives at Kellingley Colliery on September 6, 1984
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The closure of Kellingley Colliery, the UK’s last deep coal mine, signals the end of an era. We look back at the key dates in an industry which has served our nation for centuries.

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One of the coachescarrying miners into work at Kellingley Colliery, Knottingley on November 16, 1984

One of the coachescarrying miners into work at Kellingley Colliery, Knottingley on November 16, 1984

3,500 BC: Evidence of coal collection and usage in China

200 AD: Romans adept at using coal across Europe, often sourced from Britain and the Rhineland

13th century: Magna Carta records trade in sea coal in Northumberland and Scotland

14th century: Coal is mined on a small scale across the UK, predominantly for use by artisans. Edward III licences sale of British coal to France

1306: Use of sea coal banned in London because of pollution levels. Artisans instructed to use wood or charcoal

1575: First coal mine sunk under the sea on the Firth of Forth

1700: British coal output estimated at 3m tons to meet demand for fuel to power steam engines

1775: Output increases to 6.5m tons as more deep mines sunk. Northern England, Staffordshire and South Wales become centres of the mining industry

1800: Use of wooden props to support underground tunnels introduced

1815: Sir Humphrey Davy invents the miners’ safety lamp which can detect methane gas. Number of underground explosions and gassings reduced significantly.

1830: Output increases to over 30m tons

1866: 388 men killed at the Oaks pit in Barnsley, Yorkshire’s worst mining disaster

1888: Miners’ Federation of Great Britain, the precursor to the National Union of Mineworkers, founded

1913: 439 miners killed in underground explosion at Senyghenydd colliery, South Wales

1926: Miners’ concerns over pay and dangerous conditions is a key factor in General Strike

1947: Privately-owned coal mines nationalised under the auspices of the National Coal Board

1970s: Coal mining becomes increasingly uneconomical as gas, oil and nuclear power supplies increase

1974: Miners win 35 per cent pay increase to end a four-week strike that brought country to a standstill and led to demise of Edward Heath’s Conservative Government

1983: Britain has 174 working coal mines

March 1984: 140,000 miners strike in protest at radical reforms of the industry by the Conservative Government led by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

March 1985: Strike ends with victory for Mrs Thatcher. Miners return to work

1988: National Coalmining Museum for England opens on site of Caphouse Colliery, Wakefield

1994: Coalmining industry privatised. Grimethorpe in South Yorkshire ranked as the UK’s poorest settlement

2009: Britain has just six working coal mines

2013: 50m of the 60m tons of coal burned in Britain annually is imported

December 2015: Kellingley Colliery, the UK’s last deep coal mine, closes.

Read more

Sense of defiance remains as Yorkshire pit closure signals end of an industry

Read more: http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/business/kellingley-sense-of-defiance-remains-as-yorkshire-pit-closure-signals-end-of-an-industry-1-7624811#ixzz3uNt9dXRc

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