The library at National Mining Museum Scotland holds a range of important publications on history, politics, science, technology and more. These are some selected highlights.
Corrie, Joe. The Image o’ God, (Porpoise Press, 1937). Signed first edition of collected poems by Joe Corrie – a Fife mineworker who started writing poems and short stories when he was unemployed, following the First World War. The collection includes powerful work such as the title poem and I am the Common Man.
During the 1926 General Strike, Corrie began writing short plays which were performed by the Bowhill Players at fundraising shows. He wrote his first full-length play, In Time o’ Strife, after the six-month lockout which followed the strike. The play portrayed the effect of the strike on a mining community and was performed by the Fife Miner Players to large theatre audiences thoughout Scotland and the north of England in the years 1928-31. Corrie went on to make his living as a writer of one-act plays for amateur groups competing for the Scottish Community Drama Association Award. His play, Hewers of Coal – performed by the Newbattle Burns Dramatic Society, won the national final in 1937.
Appendices to the Report of the Children’s Employment Commission (Mines), 1842, (William Clowes & Son (printer) 1842). In 1842, four commissioners were appointed to collect information about the condition and treatment of children working in Britain’s coal mines and publish a report on their findings. They interviewed a range of people working in mines, from the owners through to the youngest children. Their findings were shocking to Victorian society and the resulting report had a huge impact and led to the Mines and Collieries Act 1842 that banned children under 10, and all women, from working underground.
The two volumes of appendices that we hold contain evidence gathered in support of this hugely significant report. Some of the most striking images are contained within the section dealing with the East of Scotland. These images are still widely used to illustrate conditions for Victorian working children. Find out more here.
Sinclair, George. The Hydrostaticks; or the Weight, Force, and Pressure of Fluid Bodies, (George Swinton, James Glen and Thomas Brown (printer), 1672). This is the oldest book in our collection and is one of the earliest known works on fluid mechanics and it also contains a short history of coal. Sinclair has been credited as suggesting a practical method for draining water from coal mines in southwest Scotland.
Sinclair was a professor or philosophy and mathematics at the University of Glasgow and wrote widely on both subjects. However, he is now best remembered for his interest in demonolgy. Indeed, his writing about this caused significant controversy. You can read more about him here.