Leicester Area NUM archive will celebrate the history of coal mining in Leicestershire

The Leicester Area NUM has agreed to loan its archive, spanning of more than a century of mining to De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).

Papers, photographs, maps and administrative records will be among the archive collection to be looked after by DMU’s Special Collections team. Most of the archive will be open to the public, historians and researchers who want to study the story of coal mining in Leicestershire.

Snibbo early 80s
Snibston Colliery during the 1980s

The full archive will be at DMU by Christmas, but university archivist Katharine Short has issued an appeal now to former miners or their families to get in touch with any material they may have relating to the mining industry in Leicestershire. She welcomes documents, leaflets, photographs, plans, memorabilia and even objects.

She would like to find personal photographs, memorabilia from miners’ events or even mining objects and to hear people’s stories.

The Leicestershire Coalfield consisted of Bagworth, Ellistown, Merry Lees, Desford, South Leicester, Snibston, New Lount, Nailstone, Whitwick (pictured below) and finally Asfordby Mine, near Melton, which closed in 1997. Following this, a number of miners transferred to pits in Warwickshire and Yorkshire.

Whitwick mine

Archivist Katharine Short said: “We are thrilled to have entered this partnership with the Leicestershire Coal Industry Welfare Trust Fund on behalf of the Leicester Area NUM to safeguard the history of this important industry.

“This project gives us the opportunity to collect material which will reveal the stories of the miners and their communities. The aim is for the collection to be shared with new generations who have never seen a lump of coal and ensure they appreciate this aspect of our heritage.”

The Leicestershire Miners’ Association was founded in 1887. In 1888 it was one of the founder members of the Miners’ Federation of Great Britain (MFGB) then in 1945, Leicester Area NUM was formed and associated and affiliated to the NUM.

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Peter Smith, chairman of trustees of the Leicestershire Coal Industry Welfare Trust Fun and formerly the Area General Secretary of the Leicester Area NUM, said: creating a public archive of the Leicestershire Mining Industry was a fitting legacy for the NUM.

The archive was previously cared for at Snibston Discovery Musuem, the former Snibston Mine. The site became the premiere science and technology museum for Leicestershire until it was closed in 2015. Although the museum has gone the site was listed by Historic England as a Scheduled Ancient Monument.  Mr Smith thanked Stuart Warburton and the volunteers from Snibston Discovery Park for their assistance with the archive.

To contact DMU Special Collections, please email archives@dmu.ac.uk or telephone 0116 207 8776.

Posted on Wednesday 10th October 2018

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