John Fish B.Sc. Publishers of Tenby in Wales (UK)


Pembrokeshire the Forgotten Coalfield


Martin Connop-Price

Tenby Observer: After 40 years of interest in the Pembrokeshire Coalfield, an Oxfordshire vicar has published the first complete history on the subject. Coal was mined in the area for 700 years, ending in 1950 when Wood Level Mine closed.

Martin Connop Price's new book, 'Pembrokeshire - The Forgotten Coalfield' (published by Landmark Publishing) began as research for his PhD thesis at the University of Wales and has resulted in a substantial book. It will delight local and social historians as well as those with an interest in mining.

At 288 pages in length, this book is likely to become the standard reference to the region's oldest industry. There are dozens of maps and other illustrations, plus 64 photographs reproduced on high quality paper.

Covering more than just the mines, this book also examines coal removal by rail and sea; health and safety; labour relations; the complex geology and much more. It is a fitting tribute to a lost industry and the few remaining men who served in it.

For generations South Wales was synonymous with coal, but after 1850 one of the earliest areas worked, Pembrokeshire, was overshadowed completely by developments in the main coalfield. This book gives an overview of the long history of mining in Pembrokeshire, beginning in the 13th century. Although early records are sparse, from 1700 a thematic approach has been possible, with chapters on landlords and leases, mining technology, labour and health and safety.

The county was notable not only for the poverty of the workforce, and grim working conditions, but also for the high royalties received by landlords. Technically, the county was usually behind the times. Steam power was not adopted until the 19th century, and the coalfield always relied heavily on shipping for the dispatch of its output.

Additional chapters discuss land transport, shipping, and the complexities of trade in coal and culm (a distinct product, the small of coal). By 1951 mining ceased in the area.

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Pembrokeshire the Forgotten Coalfield by Martin Connop-Price