In the United Kingdom surface coal mining began in 1942 in response to a national shortage of deep-mined coal. By the 1980s, when Dave Wootton began touring sites and taking photographs, the industry was firmly established with major operations and very large machinery. His fully captioned pictures cover the period from 1986 until British Coal Opencast (BCO) was privatised in 1994. There are panoramic shots showing the scale of operations and fine close-ups of individual machines of many kinds at work. He includes several walking draglines such as the 4000-ton 'Ace of Spades', the largest of its kind in Europe. Another record holder was O&K's RH300 hydraulic shovel beautifully photographed by Dave at its Godkin, Derbyshire workplace. Dave visited some two dozen sites in Derbyshire, Northumberland, Yorkshire, South Wales and elsewhere, capturing the full range of surface mining activities. The equipment was manufactured by famous names such as Caterpillar, Ransomes & Rapier and Demag. BCO used contractors - so Wimpey, Taylor Woodrow, Fairclough and others are all seen playing their parts. The surface-mining industry has changed considerably since 1994, meaning that this collection of photographs has great historic interest for enthusiasts. The author also includes a short history of BCO, some machine specifications and copies of publicity material.
Publication Date: 11/1/2012