Miners gave their all in an age when lead was hard to find, dangerous to extract and yet capable of producing wealth beyond their wildest imagination. The mineral they sought may have been grey rather than glistening gold, but that mattered little in the pursuit of an elusive dream.
This much-needed book is a portrayal of miners rather than mining. It looks at a fascinating range of individuals from rich aristocrats to men who only ventured underground because they were utterly poverty-stricken. Their homes, health, religion and occasional leisure receive full coverage, as does the role of women and children. Special attention is given to key mining communities – most villages in Swaledale as well as Greenhow, Grassington and Hebden.
David Joy MBE is a former editor of The Dalesman who has written more than 40 books, mainly on the Yorkshire Dales and railways. Living in what was once a lead-mining hamlet, he has had a lifelong interest in the subject.