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Dig into a mine of information
By Chris Breese Photo - Dan Matthams

By Chris Breese
SCORES of pits were once dotted across the Notts landscape.
Thousands of men supported their families and communities by working long, dangerous shifts underground.

Mining experts: From left, Fionn Taylor, Bob Bradley and Alan Beales look at their website at the
Gedling Pit memorial, in Main Road.

Not much of that proud industry remains but three historians want to help people explore their heritage by tracing the footsteps of relatives on a website about Notts mining.

Fionn Taylor first set up about a decade ago to document details of mines rescue teams.

He named it after his father-in-law, Philip Healey, who was part of Ilkeston Mines Rescue Team and died in 2000 aged 73. But after inquiries from across the country, it developed into a mines rescue history site.

Mr Taylor, of Hallam Way, West Hallam, has now teamed up with Notts mining history experts Bob Bradley and Alan Beales to upload hundreds of pages of information on to it – and combine the bulk of all their research in one place.

The result is thought to be the most comprehensive documentation of Notts and East Midlands mining on the internet, which the trio hope will become a focal point for genealogists.

Mr Taylor, 62, said: "As the years have passed, more and more people have contacted me about the site and now it's a resource for anyone interested in mining.

"It's grown quite dramatically again recently since the new information was added – there's a huge number of e-mails and we've had family reunions through it."

He is still uploading a 900-page history of mining in Notts, Leicestershire and Derbyshire written by Mr Bradley, 76, of Mansfield Woodhouse, who has been researching mining history for more than 50 years.

Mr Bradley said: "I'm pleased that now, instead of it being in a printed book, it can go worldwide. It's a terrific resource now and I'm over the moon because I couldn't have achieved it on my own."

Mr Beales has spent 10 years painstakingly researching coroner's court records, newspaper archives and mining reports to list every mining-related death in Notts. Now, every name, date, pit and details of each death is on the site.

Mr Beales, 74, a retired Gedling miner, who lives in Freda Avenue, said: "Anybody who's got mining connections and wants to research anything can find it on the site now.

"If your uncle died at such-and-such a pit, you can find it. This is what we thought could help people trace their family histories. The information is there whenever they want it."

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