Coal, Community and Change at Pleasley

Montage of Coal Authority images.

Mine-Craft the Prequel: The Photographic Story of East Midlands Coal

The Mine-craft the Prequel coalmining heritage project runs from 1st August 2023 to 31st July 2024 and is a collaboration between Nottingham Trent University (project lead), the Coal Authority, Derbyshire Record Office and Mine2Minds Education. It will focus on both the tangible and intangible heritage of the coal mining industry in the East Midlands. The project is funded by Innovative Knowledge Exchange Fund at Nottingham Trent University.


Coalmining Heritage photos workshop event at the Coal Authority. Photo Credit: Paul Fillingham

The tangible heritage focuses mainly on the photographic collection of the Coal Authority at its Mansfield HQ, which comprises around 60,000 digitised images of which 13,000 are from the East Midlands.

All of the images are part of the National Archives and date mainly from the 1950’s to the 1980s. These iconic images cover a wide range of coal industry subjects including the industrial process, working practices, equipment, people and social history.

Many of these photographs lack full and accurate information (meta-data) and the project will gather this information from the last generation of East Midlands coal miners. 


Oral History worksop at Kirkby-in-Ashfield library in 2022

The intangible part of the proposed project is the knowledge capture of the working process, the living language / terminology and the social history connected with the coalmining industry or pit talk as it was known. The iconic coal images will help aid memory recall in order for mining memories to be recorded via oral testimony.


Silverhill miners 1989. Photo Credit: Chad newspaper

The project focuses on six case studies all of which have significant anniversaries in 2023. These are Silverhill Colliery (officially closed 1993), Markham Colliery (closed 1993), Snibston Colliery (closed 1983), Whitwick Colliery (125th anniversary of the 1898 mining disaster), Nottinghamshire Miners Gala (last one 1983) and Pleasley Colliery (150th anniversary of sinking and 40th anniversary of closure).

The Pleasley Colliery case study will create a digital trail around the preserved Pleasley pit site as part of the My Trails initiative by Mine2Minds Education.


Coal face at Markham Colliery, North Derbyshire. Photo Credit: Coal Authority

Snibston Colliery, Coalville, Leicestershire, in 1973. Photo Credit: Coal Authority

Whitwick Colliery 1898 mining disaster. Photo Credit: Coal Authority

Nottinghamshire Miners Gala in the 1960’s. Photo Credit: Coal Authority

Pleasley Colliery, NCB North Derbyshire Area. Photo Credit: Coal Authority

Replica colliery stable at the preserved Pleasley Pit, 2023. Photo Credit: David Amos

The project will aim to ensure that the Coal Authority collection of coal images is accessible to a wider audience both on-line, in former coal communities and as an educational resource. It will also be cross-generational and will actively link former coal miners and coal mining heritage organisations with the younger generation. School visits will form part of the project.


Coalmining heritage workshop at the South Derbyshire Mining Preservation Group in 2018. Photo Credit: David Amos

More details about the project can be obtained from Professor Natalie Braber (Project lead) at Nottingham Trent University on (0115) 848 3011 or by e-mail at  or from David Amos (Project Officer) via the Mining Heritage website at  


Posted by Mining Heritage admin

12th August 2023