Mining the Seams was a collaborative project between Warwickshire County Record Office and Derbyshire Record Office. Funded by the Wellcome Trust, the project opened up access to the complete coal archives of both counties for the first time.
The coal mining collections here in Warwickshire date from the 18th century right up to the 1990s. Our focus was the creation of searchable catalogues and the physical preservation and conservation of damaged material. We also focussed on records relating to health, including accident reports and compensation records for injuries and illnesses caused by working in the mines.
Industrial accidents and healthcare
Coal mining plays a significant part in our country’s industrial history. It also played a major role in the development of specialist departments within the NHS, and the availability of welfare facilities within mining communities. Despite this, industrial accidents and their impact have not received much attention in historical narratives. Through projects like Mining the Seams, researchers will be able to begin unlocking the connections between industry, healthcare and mining communities.
Engaging academics and volunteers
Part of the project involved working with the academic community to expand awareness of the impact of industrial accidents on safety legislation, specialisms within the NHS, local communities, and on Britain’s industrial history.
The project recruited and worked with a team of remote volunteers, using the pioneering techniques of the Warwickshire Bytes project. With the help of these volunteers, we have created searchable datasets of injury and illness compensation, which will enable researchers to analyse trends over time.