Coal has been mined in Somerset since Roman times, although not on a large scale until 1600. From 1763, deeper shafts were sunk but many mines retained a rural setting.
Conditions were harsh with seams often less than 30cm wide. Boys were employed to haul coal from the face. Labour disputes were not uncommon and the “Carting Boys” task was arduous with many injuries and low pay.
Undergound working was dangerous with a risk of coal-dust explosions with 10 men killed at Norton Hill in 1908. The 1960s saw competition and the closure of pits was inevitable, with the last pits closing in 1973.
Radstock Museum’s aim is to preserve the social and industrial heritage of the area, mount exhibitions and make archival material available.
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