Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Coal mining: One Families Story

“If there is one type of man to whom I do feel myself inferior, it is the coal miner" 
George Orwell, The Road to Wigan Pier, 1937.

Like many families of South Staffordshire and Yorkshire the Taylor's lives were solely dependent on a living earned from the iron and coal mines. Miners were paid a pittance and they risked losing their lives every time they went below ground.

Although the development of the spinning frame and water frame by Richard Arkwright and the improvement of the steam engine by James Watt was seen as a great step forward for society as a whole, it also caused a greater demand for coal, and as a result coal mines got deeper and deeper and coal mining became more and more dangerous. In one year in an unnamed coal mine, 58 deaths out of a total of 349, involved children thirteen years or younger. With new coal mines opening and large new factories appearing whole families began to move into the towns looking for better paid work, better living conditions and a better life. Coal was many thing to many people, some became rich because of it, many died because of it but it was the mainstay of my Taylor families whole existence.

It was into the Staffordshire mining town of Brierley Hill that my ‘Taylor’ bloodline originates but to begin their story from this point would be leaving out much of what made them what they really were……or intriguingly ……weren't!

In the eight months between August 1880 and the April of 1881 one Eliza Kennett, mother of three illegitimate children, met one Joseph Taylor. This one catalytic event changed the Taylor family history has made us what we are today. All of Eliza’s illegitimate children were brought up to believe that Joseph Taylor was their father and we can have no doubt that he had a great affect on their lives, because of this his life story cannot go unmentioned.

It was on the hill farms of North Wales that Josephs family originate and they can be found there at the beginning of the 19th century.

The Taylor's family story continues on my website at

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