The Riches Beneath our Feet: How Mining Shaped Britain

Hardcover | May 29, 2010

byGeoff Coyle

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Britain's mining and quarrying industries date back to the Stone Age flint mines of 2500 BC and still exist. In that period of more than 4,000 years the country's miners have produced colossal amounts of copper, tin, lead, zinc, iron, a lot of silver and some gold, and smaller amounts of justabout every other metal from arsenic to uranium. The metals were the foundation of our industrial wealth and ease of living but they were driven by King Coal, which at its peak employed a million men and produced more than 200 million tons a year. Granite from Scotland, limestone from Southern England, sandstone and Welsh slate provided our homes,factories, roads and harbours. None of this could have been achieved without the genius of engineers such as James Watt, and the invention of powerful steam engines and many other technical advances. Our good fortune in this cornucopia of wealth derives from the Island's astonishing geologicalhistory: what is now Southern England was once on the Antarctic Circle. Professor Geoff Coyle, a former mining engineer and from a mining family himself, sketches the story of how mining has shaped Britain. The account is wide ranging, involving stories of the mineral wealth of Britain and its expliotation, from simple quarrying to the advent of mass production. Thereare tales of the miners' lives and the great mining families, as well as accounts of the miner's work, the conditions in the mines, and mining disasters. Coyle weaves his personal experience and passion into the story, illuminating the industrial history, geology, and technology. Each chapterhighlights one of the main mining fields and explores the mineral in question, its exploitation, and how technological changes affected the mining techniques used.

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Britain's mining and quarrying industries date back to the Stone Age flint mines of 2500 BC and still exist. In that period of more than 4,000 years the country's miners have produced colossal amounts of copper, tin, lead, zinc, iron, a lot of silver and some gold, and smaller amounts of justabout every other metal from arsenic to uran...

Geoff Coyle graduated in mining engineering from the Royal School of Mines, Imperial College, University of London. He has worked underground in coal and copper mines, and qualified as a practical coal-face worker. The contraction of the coal industry led him to develop an alternative career, and after working for Imperial Chemical In...
Format:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.01 inPublished:May 29, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199551294

ISBN - 13:9780199551293

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Table of Contents

Preface1. Introduction2. The beauty of minerals - some simple geology3. The Making of Cornwall - copper, tin and china clay4. Anglesey and Copper5. Shaping Northern England - Lead and zinc and associated minerals6. Power for Britain - the coal industry7. Building Britain - Slate, granite and limestone8. The Salt of the earth - the salt mines of Cheshire9. Men of steel - The iron mines of Cleveland and Cumbria10. The Riches of the Earth - Gold and silver11. The Mining Dynasties12. Mining disasters13. Mining PeopleFurther InformationAppendix