Coal Mining Ancestors Course

Coal was an important part of Britain’s history and many families have some involvement in the industry. The coal fields of Britain were spread across areas of the country, the location of coal deposits having a major impact on the lives of local people. When coal seams were worked out, the miners had to leave to find work, and often travelled long distances or even emigrated, their skills being in high demand all over the world.

In this short course, we will look at what it was like to work in the Victorian collieries and how it changed in the 20th century. We will  see who the miners were and how they lived. Even if you don’t have a miner in your family the collieries probably directly impacted upon your ancestor’s life both at work and at home, find out how. We will look at what a colliery was, how it operated and its impact upon the local area.

What role did the Miner’s Unions play in the life of the collieries and what was the ‘Miner’s Welfare’? Where do you look for more information about the miners in your family ? 

Find out more in this short two-week course with industry historian Dr Richard Marks. 

Two sessions: March 11th and 18th – both sessions 7 – 9pm

Tickets are £20 (society members £18) – which covers both sessions. Pre-booking is required, because joining instructions will be sent by email to all attendees in advance. Bookings therefore close one day before the event.

To be able to join this online course, you will need a computer device which has speakers and a microphone. Ideally, also a webcam. You need to be able to access your emails from this device. First-time users will be asked to download a small piece of software, this will be sent to you in advance. Technical help is available for those who need further assistance, please contact

To book – scroll down. 


Mon 11 Mar


19:00 - 21:00




Zoom Video Conference


The Centre - Berkshire FHS


  • Dr Richard Marks
    Dr Richard Marks

    Richard is a published historian based in Berkshire who specialises in industrial, military, and railway history and also the history of science. His current areas of research are industrial development in the Victorian period, the development of the railway and canal systems in Britain in the mid to late 19th Century and the history of British Rail. He has a PhD in economic history. Richard’s book about British Rail Engineering was published by Pen and Sword in early 2024 and a new book is due out later in 2024 about the Wantage Tramway Company.