Image ID: 24588
Courtesy of Nottinghamshire Archives
A Victoria Cross soldier at the pit bottom, posing for a photograph with a group of miners. The Victoria Cross, the highest decoration that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces, was officially instituted by Royal Warrant in 1856 but was made retrospective to the Autumn of 1854 to cover the period of the Crimean War. Coal has been mined in the Eastwood area for nearly 700 years. Originally, the monks of Beauvale Priory held the coal mining rights and there may have been shallow workings dating further back to Roman times. By the 1870s the good quality 'top hard' coal at Brinsley had been almost exhausted and a second shaft was sunk in 1872 to a depth of 780 feet. At its peak of production the colliery produced around 500 tons of coal a day and employed 361 men, 282 of whom worked at the coal faces. By 1930, coal reserves had been exhausted but the shafts were kept open until 1970 to access neighbouring pits. The Brinsley Colliery site has now been landscaped and turned into a picnic area. This photograph was taken by the Rev. F W Cobb (1872-1938), who was Rector of Eastwood from 1907 to 1917. Many of his photographs were taken under extremely difficult and dangerous conditions and combine to make a remarkable contribution to mining history during the early part of the 20th century.
Organisation Reference: NCCC000674