Review of ‘Images of England: Peak District Mining and Quarrying’, by Lynn Willies & Harry Parker

This review is by Julie Bunting, and was published originally in The Peak Advertiser, the Peak District's local free newspaper, on 22nd November 1999, and is reproduced with Julie's kind permission.

Images of England
PEAK DISTRICT MINING AND QUARRYING

It's been a very good year for new books of local interest, with several becoming best sellers, and now a real cracker has reached the shelves in time for Christmas. In fact, having just been presented with a copy of Peak District Mining and Quarrying, I feel as though Christmas has come early.

As we know from responses to our articles, many of our readers have a keen interest in bygone industries of the Peak. This book looks at the development of quarrying and mining from prehistoric into modern times. Compiled in conjunction with the Peak District Mining Museum and the National Association of Mining History Organisations the book excels in its illustrations, many of which will be new to even the most avid local history enthusiast, and it really lives up to the over-used compliment 'hard to put down'. Here are old photographs to provoke nostalgia, recognition of people and places from the past and an appreciation of the importance of visual records. For instance, one memorable picture shows an underground inscription by 'J. Taylor aged 12 years', scratched into the sooty deposit left by a candle. The careful inclusion of names throughout the book will be an added bonus for family history researchers.

Front Cover

This reader, for one, has also been enlightened as to the accurate meaning of the term 'quarrying' - it may not be exactly what you think.

Authors Lynn Willies and Harry Parker are skilled at providing text which does not overwhelm with technical detail while recalling the daily human grind behind the region's mineral heritage. Their scrupulous and enthusiastic research, backed by first-hand familiarity with disused workings, makes this a more than usually enjoyable work of record. Peak District Mining and Quarrying (Tempus Publishing, ISBN 0-7524-1710-X) costs £9.99; available from local book shops and the Peak District Mining Museum, Matlock Bath.

Review by Julie Bunting


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