Coal in the Blood, paperback

Coal in the Blood, An East Midlands Coal Mining Anthology, Natalie Braber and David Amos

Coal in the Blood: An East Midlands Coal Mining Anthology

Natalie Braber and David Amos

160 pages, illustrated paperback
Published by Trent Editions
Distributed by Thinkamigo and Mine2Minds Education.
ISBN: 978-1-84233-172-9
Published 23rd November 2021

The first collection of poetry, short stories and anecdotes about the coal mining industry in the East Midlands. The Anthology includes sections on the working environment underground, both at the coalface in ‘Winning the Coal’ and elsewhere below ground in the ‘Working Environment’. Other chapters include coalmining disasters and accidents, minorities and migrants, pit communities, industrial unrest, rationalisation and closures and the legacy of the coal industry locally.

The region was made up of coalfields in North West Leicestershire, South Derbyshire, North Derbyshire and West Nottinghamshire. Early coalmining in the East Midlands region dates back to Medieval Times but it really took off with the advent of the Industrial Revolution in the early 19th century.

Coalmining shaped the landscape and townscape and the lives of those who worked and lived in coalmining regions. Following nationalisation in 1947, the East Midlands became known as ‘Roben’s Promised Lane’ in the 1960’s. The last colliery in the region, Thoresby, closed in July 2015.

The introductions to each section together make up a brief history of the East Midlands coalfield and explain the work process in mining, plus the social history and how the text relates to it. The publication brings together some established writers from around the region including John Harvey, Deborah Tyler Bennett and DH Lawrence, alongside other less well known including several pitmen poets. The majority of the poems, short stories and anecdotes have not been published previously.

Coal in the Blood: An East Midlands Coal Mining Anthology



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Also available at the following outlets:

  • DH Lawrence Birthplace Museum, 8A Victoria Street, Eastwood, Nottinghamshire. NG16 3AW
  • Erewash Museum, High Street, Ilkeston, Derbyshire. DE7 5JA
  • Bilsthorpe Heritage Museum, Cross Street, Bilsthorpe, Newark, Nottinghamshire. NG22 8QY
  • The Book Case, 50 Main Street, Lowdham, Nottinghamshire. NG14 7BE
  • Kirkby Heritage Centre, 13 Kingsway, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire. NG17 7BB
  • Sutton Living Memory Group Heritage Shop, Idlewells Shopping Centre, Market Street, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire. NG17 1BP
  • The Tin Hat Centre, Matthew Holland Complex, Chapel Road, Selston, Nottinghamshire. NG16 6BW.


About the Editors

Natalie Braber is Professor of Linguistics at Nottingham Trent University. Recent publications include Nottinghamshire Dialect, Pit Talk of the East Midlands and Lexical Variation in an East Midlands Mining Community.

David Amos is a former East Midlands coalminer, the last of six generations who worked in the local coal mining industry. He worked in the coal mining industry for twenty-four years, achieved his BA History degree at the age of 45 and his Doctorate at the age of 55.


Coal in the Blood, paperback

Testimony: Coal in the Blood: An East Midlands Coalmining Anthology.

I have received COAL IN THE BLOOD, and I think it is excellent. I am so proud to be in it and thank you very much for asking me. It is so full of interest and although it covers a lot of detail, it somehow has an intimate feel to it that draws the reader in. Well, it drew this reader in. Reading this book was almost like getting those times back. My Dad was alive then and my brother and many of the lads that I had gone dancing with to the Palais at Nottingham. The pit lads used to pour into the dance hall so full of life and energy, ready to dance or fight, they were not fussed which, looking like young lions to me. I loved them. This book does the miners justice, recognising their humour, their loyalty, their spirit and celebrating, as they should be celebrated, who they were. I absolutely love COAL IN THE BLOOD and we owe a debt to you for publishing it.

Gwen Grant

Book Review: Selston Parish Community News – Summer 2022

I’m sure many of you will remember David Amos, a local man, who has done so much to preserve our mining heritage. He has recently produced a paperback, together with Natalie Braber, a colleague of his from Nottingham University, called ‘Coal in the Blood’, and has promoted it with several very enjoyable concerts and talks held locally. This little gem of a book concentrates on the history of the coal mining industry in Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire, where the collieries, roads and railway lines carved themselves remorselessly into the local landscape, changing the old rural way of life forever, and with it the lives of our parents and grandparents, and which he feels has been largely neglected. “With this anthology we want to ensure that lives are not forgotten, and that memories of ‘life in coal’ are passed on”. Many of the stories, poems and photographs are from Selston and its environs, and you will most probably find
someone you know in the list of contributors at the back of the book.

“Some of the pieces in this book are emotional and hard-hitting… but many of them are very funny! Humour was crucial in coal mining. Coal may no longer be King, but coal has changed the way we live. We would like to celebrate that life, and that is what we aimed to do here”. This book comes highly recommended and would make a great present for someone you know.

Eileen Wale