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Coal is less than one-fifteen the age of the Earth. Horizon: Message in the Rocks, BBC 1978
By 1830 Britain is producing four-fifths of all the coal sold anywhere in the world. And from coal you can make steam. The British V: Superpower, Sky Atlantic 2012
Coal would be the driving force behind the Industrial Revolution. Michael Wood, The Great British Story: A People’s History: Lost Worlds & New Worlds V, BBC 2012
There are three bodies no sensible man directly challenges: the Roman Catholic Church, the Brigade of Guards, and the National Union of Mineworkers. Harold Macmillan, cited Observer 22nd February 1981
The coal industry ought now to be absorbed into the sphere of socialised concerns conducted in the light of wider national considerations – not making its first objective the securing of a profit on its own operations but seeking to serve other industries and assist them to become profitable. Harold Macmillan, The Middle Way
At Heath’s moment of maximum weakness the Miners came back for more. Heath vs. Wilson: The 10 Year Duel, BBC 2011
Wilson immediately bought off the miners. ibid.
They [miners] just wanted their fair share of Ted Heath’s brave new world. Dominic Sandbrook, The 70s I: Get It On 70-72 ***** BBC 2013
In early 1972 they woke from their slumber and voted to strike for a better deal. ibid.
Power cuts were becoming a fact of life. ibid.
Ted Heath had fatally underestimated the miners ... Heath hadn’t just been beaten, he’d been annihilated ... The victory of aspiration. ibid.
Miners: It was a showdown that divided the nation ... The miners raised the stakes as their overtime ban became an all-out strike. Dominic Sandbrook, The 70s II: Doomwatch 73-74
I could have been a Judge, but I never had the Latin for the judgin’. I never had it, so I’d had it, as far as being a judge was concerned ... I would much prefer to be a judge than a coal miner because of the absence of falling coal. Peter Cook, Beyond the Fringe, ‘Sitting on the Bench’ 1961
Coal: Here at Worsley in the north-west commerce, necessity, raw materials and invention came together to kick-start the industrial revolution. Mark Williams, Industrial Revelations s1e1: Boom Time, Discovery 2002
Demand for coal was heavily outstripping supply ... The solution to the problem was found in the last place you’d expect: down the mine itself ... Water. And you’ve got to get rid of it because it runs downhill ... And this is the engine that powers the pump. It’s a very special engine. ibid.
Why not use the water? Why not treat it as a resource? In the same way you treat the coal you’ve so heavily won underground. Why not use it to create a canal so that you can transport your coal to your points of sale? ibid.
And it was local [Birmingham] traders who took the initiative. In 1769 they commissioned James Brindley to build a canal connecting the local coal mines to the canal. The price of coal halved, cutting costs in the metal workshops. Mark Williams, Industrial Revelations s1e6: Coining It
This is a replica of Murdoch’s model. A top-secret design for a vehicle that could pull carriages along the road ... Murdoch continued developing his model vehicle throughout the 1780s ... He was fascinated by high-pressure steam. Mark Williams s2e3: More Industrial Revelations: Gas on Wheels, Discovery 2005
This time extracting gas from coal ... He soon became so successful that he lit his own house. The first house lit by gas in the world. And Murdoch’s employers soon turned gas-light into big business. From 1805 mills and factories were to work shifts around the clock using their own gas generating plants. It wasn’t long before everyone wanted the new light. ibid.
One of the most extraordinary pieces of machinery in the entire industrial age in my opinion – this is a Scrubber. The idea in our computer-dominated nano-technology world that the way to remove ammonia from gas is to scrub it with brushes underwater seems fantastic. But that’s what the machine does: gas is bubbled through water and scrubbed by slowly revolving brushes, and this is how town gas was cleaned throughout the whole of its life as a fuel supply. ibid.
200 years later Murdoch’s coal gas was readily available. It could be fed into an engine and ignited again and again and again. ibid.
Coal mines were using steam engines to bring men and coal to the surface. The pits were the place to become a steam engineer. Mark Williams on the Rails – Rocketmen, Discovery 2004
Britain built the first steam locomotive to deliver coal from its mines. They would have stayed purely as industrial machines if it hadn’t been for Robert Stephenson. Ronald Top, Industrial Revelations s3e4: The European Story: The Impossible Railway, Discovery 2005
You feel a confidence in your fellow workers. Coal miner, black and white film cited Night on Film: An A-Z of the Dark, BBC 2011
Everybody’s the same. ibid.
It’s a dirty job. ibid.
No toilets, anything like that. ibid.
1,600 Pits Are Yours ... But Coal Crisis Grips Industry. Pathé News
For fifty years Britain’s miners have demanded the nationalisation of the mining industry. ibid.
I was telling you I went down a coalmine the other day. We sank into a pit half a mile deep. We then walked underneath the mountain, and we did about three-quarters of a mile with rock and shale above us. The earth seemed to be straining around us and above us to crush us in.
You could see the pit-props bent and twisted and sundered until you saw their fibres split in resisting the pressure. Sometimes they give way, and then there is mutilation and death. Often a spark ignites: the whole pit is deluged in fire, and the breath of life is scorched out of hundreds of breasts by the consuming flame. In the very next colliery to the one I descended just a few years ago three hundred people lost their lives in that way. And yet when the Prime Minister and I knock at the door of these great landlords, and say to them: Here, you know, these poor fellows who have been digging up royalties at the risk of their lives, some of them are old, they have survived the perils of their trade, they are broken, they can earn no more. Won’t you give them something towards keeping them out of the workhouse? They scowl at us, and we say: Only a ha’penny, just a copper. They say: You thieves! And ithey turn their dogs on to us, and you can hear their bark every morning. If this is an indication of the view taken by these great landlords of their responsibility to the people who at the risk of life create their wealth, then I say their day of reckoning is at hand. Lloyd George, address Edinburgh Castle Limehouse London
The miners are not broken – they continue to fight; their destiny is in your hands. An embargo on blackleg coal and a levy on all workers must be adopted to save the miners from defeat.
And to the miners who are fighting I say: Every honest worker in the world admires your courage and loyalty in the fight which was forced upon you by the rapacious mine-owners, who have at their service the banks, the press and the resources of the press. A J Cook, foreword to The Miners Struggle & the Big Five Banks
You know as well as I do the terrible conditions in the coalfields, and the suffering of the women and children. I have been compelled to do the most unpleasant tasks of begging for food, money, boots, and cast-off clothing. Practically every day young men, stranded, call for food, clothing and shelter at my office. I have done my best for them. Every day the post brings letters to me and Mrs Cook begging for help, especially from expectant mothers, terrible epistles of agony and despair.
I have heard their cry for help, and have done all I can to give assistance. I have helped all I can, begged all I can, till I have been almost demented and in despair, because I hate charity and reliefs which make us all beggars ...
I now want remedies instead of relief. The more poverty increases, the more our people sink into despair and become the hopeless prey of all the most reactionary influences and movements. A J Cook, open letter to Arthur Horner