The Pit of Nations: Black British Coal Miners

Depictions of Britain’s industrial history tend to focus on white working class communities, and the contribution of black men to Britain's coal mining history is often under represented. Over decades, African Caribbean coal miners stood shoulder to shoulder with white British, European and Asian miners, toiling underground to help fuel the UK economy. Some even died in the process. The photographs focus on miners who worked at the Gedling Colliery in Nottingham. During the Windrush generation of postwar migration from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and other Caribbean islands, thousands came to Nottingham and, attracted by the wages, signed up to work at Gedling Colliery. The colliery became known as “The Pit of Nations” due to the diverse nationalities of its workforce. The making of these new portraits coincides with the 70th anniversary of the arrival of SS Empire Windrush to Tilbury Docks, Essex in 1948 carrying passengers from the Caribbean who went on to help shape the British social, cultural and political life we know today.

The Pit of Nations: Black British Coal Miners was commissioned by Nottingham based social historian Norma Gregory, as part of a wider project which recorded the stories of British coal miners of African Caribbean heritage.