“Down the Mine” – Orwell

One of the joys (or not, depending) of managing volunteers is that they often bring you things to read/see/admire that they feel should interest you.  In some cases, it’s their holiday photographs, but today it was an article by George Orwell.  I had no idea that Orwell had published an article entitled “Down the Mine” and it has some wonderful quotes explaining coal mining for the beginner.  My favourite is:

“Coal lies in thin seams between enormous layers of rock, that essentially the process of getting it out is like scooping the central layer from a Neapolitan ice.”

He is hugely sympathetic to the physical demands of the work of the miners, and praises their strengths and abilities.  All in all, one of the better items I have been presented with to read, and I can recommend the volume of essays, entitled “Inside the Whale and other Essays”, as a introduction to mining as it was in the 1930s.

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