Coal mining in Britain fuelled the industrial revolution, provided millions of jobs after the Second World War and defined Maggie Thatcher’s premiership. This morning, it ended with a cup of tea and a polite “salute” to the men whose way of life vanished forever.
Kellingley Colliery, the last underground coal mine which has served countless communities in North Yorkshire since 1965, wound down operations on Friday, with workers offering stories of careers there that spanned decades.
The 450 miners who work at the pit – known locally as the Big K – will receive severance packages at 12 weeks of average pay.
A group of them posed for photos, donning worn orange overalls and hard-hats, proudly cheering on their industry in front of a Union Jack Flag, their photographer calling for mugs of tea to be raised in honour of their legacy.
Many miners wept at their pit’s closure, photographers capturing soot-covered faces streamed with tears. The closure marks a symbolic end of an era to what has long been the lifeblood and livelihood of thousands.
This afternoon, miners clocked off for the final time after the last coal mining shift at the colliery.
Neil Townend, 51, said: “There’s a few lads shedding tears, just getting all emotional.”
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