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Coal Mining in the East Neuk of Fife

John McManus

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Product Details
Hardback (BB)
22 Jun 2017
Dunedin Academic Press
200 pages - 234x156mm
Coal mining in the East Neuk of Fife was the means of providing industrial development in this area from medieval times until the twentieth century. The understanding of the rocks, their origin and how to exploit them to advantage forms the basis for this text. In the early days of the industry, the coals were recovered on the shorelines or on the valley sides where their excavation was relatively simple. The mining of the coals gradually gave rise to the need to dig deeper into the ground and the need for knowledge of the rocks became essential, how and why they formed as they did and how to cope with the difficulties presented by the turbulent events experienced in past geological times.. The welfare of the miners and their families also grew in importance as the industry grew and developed. John McManus surveys the geology and social history of the mines and the people who explored, owned and laboured under and above ground in an industry which began so many centuries ago, flourished all too briefly and ultimately declined in this area. With his lifelong interest and scholarly achievement in his chosen profession, John McManus takes the reader on a graphic and fascinating tour of the mining industry in this beautiful part of Fife shining a different light on aspects of its history which have, until now, remained less well known.
1. Introduction; 2. Geological Setting of the East Neuk; 3. Scotland Rocks, Bends, Breaks and Migrates; 4. Life Emerges from the Seas and Invades the Land; 5. Coal Formation; 6. Historical Framework for Mining in Fife; 7. On-Land Transport of the Coals: The Road Systems, The Railways of Fife, Round the East Neuk; 8. The Main Methods of Coal Extraction; 9. The Geology of the Coal-Bearing Successions: The Upper Devonian Deposits, The Strathclyde Group, The Lower Limestone Formation, The Limestone Coal Formation, The Upper Limestone Formation; 10. The Coal Seams and Mines of the East Neuk: Witch Lake and Castle Cliff, St Andrews, East of East Sands, St Andrews, Pittenweem Formation, Sandy Craig Formation, Inland Coals of the East Neuk, The Kellie Coals, The Pittenweem-St Monans Coalfield, Pathhead to Earlsferry, Earlsferry and Grange, Coalfields of the the Largoward District, Structures of the Broader Largoward Area; 11. The Coalfield Surveys by Dott and Forbes: The Rires-Balcarres Coalfield, Between the Radernie and Lathones Faults, Between the Lathones and Cassingray Faults, Collieries of the Largoward District, Lathallan, Gilston and New Gilston; 12. The Coals of the Limestone Formation: Falfield, Small Workings North-West of Lathallan, Cairn, The Appleton Basin, The Bonnyton Basin, Teasses Common, The Newbigging of Craighall Coalfield; 13. Closing Thoughts. Glossary. Bibliography. Index.
John McManus BSc, PhD, DSc, FRSE, graduated from the Royal School of Mines, Imperial College, University of London. He lectured, first in the University of Dundee, later in the University of St Andrews, where he was appointed Professor in 1993. John McManus has published more than 200 scientific papers and an earlier book on mining in Fife, Mining between Ceres and St Andrews (Windfall Books, 2010), he continues to research the history of the mining industry in East Fife.

‘John McManus is a geologist and former lecturer at the Universities of Dundee and St Andrews. This is clearly a subject that he knows extremely well and one that he is still actively researching. He presents what could have been a rather dry and dusty subject in a most engaging manner. Although firmly rooted in the underlying geology. John takes in the social history and the transport that is so much a part of any mining area.
But this is also a story of the people of the East Neuk, for it's the miners and their families that make the story really live. This is truly a memorial to those people and their endeavors. The story goes back several centuries and ended what seems like an age ago. but yet in reality within the lifespan of many who are still living today. But like the mining history of any area of the UK seems to be in the dim and distant past. for it's an age that will never again return.
This is one of very few books that review the history of a local coalfield that have been written by a geologist. The result is that account is rooted in the earth, quite literally. It gives things a slightly different perspective that's rooted in the realities of the coalfield and they are determined to a large extent by the geology. This is an extremely good read.’
Down to Earth

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