A NEW book delves into the history behind the early coal mines in Neston.
Written by local historian Anthony Annakin-Smith, The Neston Collieries 1759-1855: An Industrial Revolution in Rural Cheshire is based on extensive new research and looks at the early period of mining at Neston which coincided with a time of industrial and social change in Britain.
Published by the University of Chester Press, the book contains illustrations and looks at devastating sabotage, the use of underground canals, links to famous figures such as railway engineer George Stephenson and Lord Nelson's mistress Emma Hamilton who are all linked to the mines.
Antony told the Globe: “There were two early mines at Neston leading to immense rivalry.
"One had its steam engine smashed and then the works were blown up and flooded by the neighbouring business.
Author Anthony Annakin-Smith pictured with his new book, The Neston Collieries 1759-1855: An Industrial Revolution in Rural Cheshire
“The mines had extensive links with Chester, North Wales and Lancashire as well as sending coals to Ireland, Europe and even America and the Caribbean."
Child labour was routine at the Neston mines with records stating children as young as nine worked there with 27 dying in accidents such as falling down shafts.
Anthony said: "Life was grim but the mines were at the forefront of developments in many ways.
“They introduced the first steam engine in west Cheshire, before any in Chester, used canals deep under the Dee Estuary to convey coals and were amongst the first to bring in a form of medical insurance for workers.
"George Stephenson wanted to bring a railway to the mines.”
The book also looks at the lives of the miners' families who lived in squalor.
Emma Hamilton, who rose to the top of Georgian society, was born into this poor mining community.
Anthony added: "I hope the book will appeal to a wide range of people.
"Whether you are interested in local history, industrial or social history, or family history you should find much of interest.”
To get your copy of the book visit www.chester.ac.uk/university-press or call 01244 513305.