Through documents, the Wigan area can trace its coal mining activities as far back as 650 years, and for a brief spell in the late nineteenth century Wigan itself was proudly known as 'Coalopolis'. Mining machinery such as ventilation fans, winding engines, air compressors, pumps and haulage engines were manufactured around Wigan, the products of Worsley Mesnes Ironworks, Woods & Sons or Walker Brothers. The closure of the Bickershaw, Golborne and Parsonage mining complex in 1992, however, brought to an end the Wigan Coalfield's great era. Over 700 million tons of coal have been produced in the Wigan coalfield over the last 600 years, while a similar amount still lies below the ground. The recent ill-advised rush to wipe out all trace of the British coal industry has temporarily closed the mines of the Wigan area, and sadly thousands of men with the specialist skills peculiar to the industry have found themselves without a career. The photographs in the compilation have been carefully selected from the collections of the Lancashire Mining Museum, Wigan Heritage Centre, and the Donald Anderson / Tony France Archive.
It is a book that will provide an intriguing insight into the lives and working conditions of the Wigan area miners, and is a testament to the region and its proud coal mining legacy.