There is 12th Century written evidence for the existence of a mining industry in the area for both coal and iron, which occur in quantity in the local shale and coalfields. The usual method of extraction was through digging of bell pits. This was mainly a small-scale operation, the minerals being obtained by first sinking a shaft and then working outwards from the base of the shaft in all directions until it proved to be unsafe. These distinctive shapes resulted from the subsequent collapse. With narrow coal seams, small children were sent down the mine and worked under poor conditions with early morning starts to a 12 hour shifts.
During periods of industrial unrest, the miners dug shallow pits to take poor quality coal from close to the surface. The picture shows such activity from the 1912 Miners Strike.
Iron Age Bloomery
Investigations by Bradford University have suggested that iron melting took place from the Iron Age (700BC). Remains from Roman iron working have also been found locally.