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Digging Deeper: Unearthing Narratives of Black British Coal Miners

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University of Nottingham (room TBC)

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The saying, ‘You are only a handshake or two away from a former coal miner,’ seems to resonate now more than ever in Britain’s social and industrial history. Since the nationalization of the British coal industry in 1947 and the demise and total eradication of UK deep coal mining, through the forced closure of around 950 coal mines and subsequent job losses for almost one million skilled miners, including many hundreds of miners of African heritage, ‘voices’ and narratives from miners of African Caribbean heritage from across the UK have remained largely silent until now...

Norma Gregory is an independent historian and director of Nottingham News Centre CIC since 2013, aims to share her ‘research in progress’ on coal miners of African Caribbean heritage and her journey as a historian, educator and social entrepreneur.

This presentation aims to ‘dig deeper’, unearthing and sharing a selection of the untold narratives of Black British coal miners, currently an under-studied aspect of British social, industrial and economic history. Despite many coal mine personnel records being disposed of in the late 1980s, oral history as a research tool, now plays an important part of research methodology, helping to capture narratives from men of African Caribbean descent, who have made a significant impact on the British economy. Nottinghamshire’s ex-coal miners of African Caribbean heritage, have formed an initial case study for the research due to accessibility, relevance and Norma Gregory’s, personal experiences as a teenager living through the notorious 1984-1985 miners’ strike period with Nottinghamshire being the hub of civil disturbance and devastation.

The talk outlines two community focused Heritage Lottery Funded (HLF) research projects led by Nottingham News Centre (2015-2016 and 2017-2019), which aims to present richer perspectives within British social and industrial heritage; focus on reviewing misconceptions; enlighten perceptions and to show an appreciation for these industrial pioneers - black miners, ‘working down the pit’.

This event is run as part of the Black History Month programme at The University of Nottingham throughout October. For more information, please contact the People and Culture team via email: peopleandculture@nottingham.ac.uk

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