Mining and Miners in C19th Swaledale & Arkengarthdale

Book reviews

Mining and Miners in C19th Swaledale & Arkengarthdale

Postby blondie » Tue Sep 26, 2006 6:42 pm

Mining and Miners in 19th Century Swaledale & Arkengarthdale (An introduction to lead mining) by Alan Mills

Friends of the Swaledale Museum, 2006, 72pp, A5, with colour illustrations, line drawings, charts and graphs

I bought this book after hearing the author speak at the museum which published it and, a little while after reading it, I had the pleasure of meeting him 'in the field': the enthusiasm he has for his subject is obvious from this book and he was just as enthusiastic in person!

To quote from his preface, '(t)he initial chapters - describe how lead ore came to be in the ground, how it was mined and the roles of the people involved.' This part of the book is very well-written, easy to read but using technical language (which is explained in the very comprehensive glossary) where appropriate and referring to real places (with grid references) and artefacts one can see in the museum. Photos are used to good effect, both of sites (and museum exhibits) as they are today and some fascinating contemporary ones, including the thought-provoking cover illustration.

I found the later chapters of the book very interesting: to quote the preface again, they 'consider the life and times of a 19th century lead mining family in Swaledale, the Guys, who for part of the 1870s and 1880s lived at Greensyke in the hamlet of Blades, near Low Row.' Alan has brought his imagination to bear on the facts to very good effect - he really brings the family alive which, as an amateur family historian, I know to be a difficult task!

These chapters (and the last two) paint a clear picture of the difficulties miners faced, the dreadful toll earning their living took on their lives. Coupled with the practical information in the first part of the book, this book does exactly what its subtitle says and provides a useful introduction to lead mining.
User avatar
New Member
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2003 4:51 pm
Location: South Bucks

Return to Swaledale literature

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests