Miners plan to mark last pit closure
Preparations are being made to mark the 40th anniversary of the day when the last pit in the Somerset Coalfield fell silent.
It was on September 28, 1973, that the last load of coal was brought out of Kilmersdon and Writhlington Colliery. Part of the load can still be seen at Radstock Museum, where it lies in a pit truck.
The anniversary of the closure will be marked by the annual miners' reunion at the museum on Monday, September 9.
Mining in the Somerset Coalfield started in the 15th century and at one point the working pits stretched from Cromhall in the north to the Mendip Hills in the south, and from Bath in the east to Nailsea in the west, a total area of about 240 square miles.
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Most of the pits on the coalfield were concentrated around the Cam Brook, Wellow Brook and Nettlebridge Valley and around Radstock and Farrington Gurney.
Writhlington Colliery was first sunk in 1829.
Later it was linked with Kilmersdon and by 1967 it was producing 1,135 tons of coal a day, with a workforce of 670 men.
In John Cornwell's book Collieries of Somerset and Bristol, he writes that the mine had the lowest accident rate in the Somerset and South Wales region.
"It also recorded the lowest absentee percentage rates in the whole of the British mining industry and was well-known for its good record of being dispute-free, and its outstanding men/management relationships.
"This despite the fact that the Somerset Coalfield was very difficult to work, because of the complex geological structure. It was surprising that the coalfield kept working into the 1970s. It has been said many times that a Somerset miner could work anywhere."