Over the Easter weekend I obtained some bargains from a local bookshop, most notably a trio of titles detailing Britain’s lost coal industry. These should help immeasurably with the progress of my colliery-themed layout (see older posts and Model Rail No.136) as I aim to increase the realism of certain aspects and build a small extension.
Coal Mining by Geoffrey Hayes (ISBN 0747804346) is only 30-odd pages but it’s crammed with lots of precious info on how collieries operated, including photos and diagrams explaining how things worked. The section on winding towers is particularly useful. Images of Industry: Coal is another topping read, being produced by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England (ISBN 0113000510) and includes chapters on collieries, architecture, fuels, mining communities, safety and transport.
Coal Mining by G Hayes is an excellent resource for anyone interested in British collieries
Lastly, Rhondda Cynon Taff Collieries looks at the pits of South Wales, the three named valleys in particular. Consisting mainly of b&w photos ranging from the early 1800s up to the 1980s (when all the pits closed), it’s a worthy testimony to those who worked and lived in the once-thriving mining communities.
As well as proving excellent research material, each book also brings home how much Britain has changed in the last 20 years or so. Another hint at which is provided in a new Telerail DVD: COAL is a collection of footage from the brilliant Railfreight Today video series that Telerail pioneered in the early 1990s and, as the title suggests, concentrates on the movement of coal by BR in the 1985-1996(ish) period. Watching this programme brought back the sight and sounds of Class 20s and 56s on MGR trains – once so common but now lost in time. Chasing pairs of ‘Twenties’ along Sankey Canal towpath on my bike, as they headed to Fiddlers Ferry was great sport! Ah, nostalgia...
Telerail's new DVD title COAL, is a feast of 1980/90s BR nostalgia and a great source of inspiration