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Coal and Community

Oral History Information Sheet

We are organising our oral history porject around eight pits:  Bickershaw Colliery (Lancashire), Easington Colliery (Durham), Prince of Wales Colliery (Yorkshire), Annesley-Bentinck Colliery (Nottinghamshire), Markham Colliery (Derbyshire), Barony Colliery (Ayrshire), Tower Colliery (Cynon Valley), and Point of Ayr Colliery (Flintshire). We want people who worked for the NCB at each of those mines and those who were part of the mining communities to be part of this research. This page provides more information for people considering undertaking an oral history interview. Doing an interview is optional – you can say no if you wish. If you're thinking about participating we would like to outline why the research is being done and what it will involve.  

Kids on a slide in a coal community

Who is funding and organising the research?

There are four researchers involved in this project: Professor Keith Gildart, who worked as an underground miner for eight years, Dr Andrew Perchard, Dr Ben Curtis and Dr Grace Millar. Dr Andrew Perchard works at the University of Stirling and the rest work at the University of Wolverhampton. We are working with in partnership with the National Coal Mining Museum for England, the National Mining Museum for Scotland, Big Pit National Coal Museum Wales and the General Federation of Trade Unions.

This project is funded by a grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council

Who are we interviewing for this project?

We want to interview people who worked in one of the eight case study pits: miners, managers, deputies, administrative staff, canteen workers and so on.  We also want to interview family members of those who worked in the pits and members of the wider community, for example someone who worked in the local pub. 

What are the benefits and risk of taking part?

We value your life experiences and want to listen to them. We hope that you will find it rewarding to have your contributions recognised publicly and that you will be pleased to have an opportunity to add your account to a historically significant collection of archived interviews.

We know that these might be fraught experiences that bring up a wide range of emotions.  You can decide what you wish to talk about and what you do not want to talk about.

What would happen in an interview?

Interviews most commonly take place in the interviewees’ homes, but they can also happen in another location if you are more comfortable there.  We will record the interviews on equipment we’ll bring with us.  We are interested in people’s whole lives. This is your chance to tell your story.  We have ideas of aspects of mining life that we want to know about, but we also want to hear whatever is most important to you. 

The length of time an interview takes varies, often they’re between an hour and two hours, but we’re very interested in what you have to say so if you want to talk longer we’d like to listen.

How will my interview be used?

At the end of the interview, we will talk about how your interview will be used.  We would like permission to quote your interview and will ask for that at the end of the interview. Sometimes an interviewee talks about material they don’t want to be generally available. You can restrict parts or all of your interview from being quoted.

We want information about coalfields life to be available to wider audience, so we would like to put some interviews (or parts of interviews) on our website.  We will only do this if you give permission.

What happens to the interviews?

The interviews will be stored digitally. This data will be held at the University of Wolverhampton for the three year duration of the project. The research team will be responsible for keeping your data safe.

What happens at the end of the project?

The project team is proposing to deposit a digitised version of the interview at the relevant mining museum (England, Scotland or Wales).  These museums are partners to the project and have agreed to take our information so other people can learn about mining communities. This will mean other researchers have access to the material and might use it in exhibitions or radio broadcasts. Any agreements you make with us about confidentially or access will be honoured by these institutions.

What will happen to the results of the research study?

We want to make sure that what we learn about the coalfields is made widely available. We will organise a travelling exhibition that’ll tour around the case study areas. We are also producing educational material to fit with the school curriculum.  We have a website and the results of our work will go there.  We will also write books and articles based on our research. Research we do might also be used by others, for example in museum exhibitions and radio broadcasts. 

What happens if I change my mind?

You can withdraw from the project up to three months after your interview. You can also change the restrictions you put on the interview in the same time period. If you wish to withdraw just contact us and let us know.

Where can I get more information?

We are happy to talk with you about our project.  We can ring you or have a pre-interview meeting when we’re in the area.  Contact us with any questions or for more information.