Unveiling a mine of Sunderland heritage

Heritage online: Dr Stuart Howard beside the pit wheels at Herrington Country Park.
Heritage online: Dr Stuart Howard beside the pit wheels at Herrington Country Park.
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DIG deep into our heritage as Sunderland University unveils one of the most definitive mining archives online.

The North East England Mining Archive and Research Centre (NEEMARC), founded by Sunderland academic Dr Stuart Howard along with mining institutions, has digitalised volumes of the National Union of Miners (NUM) Durham Association minutes books.

The books, hosted on the University of Sunderland website, chronicle the records of the most powerful union in the country.

They are now online and cover from 1876 to 1942 and they are the first NUM materials anywhere to be digitised.

The archive paints a picture of the political, economic, social and cultural life of the industry.

There is a raft of vital information for researchers interested in trade union proceedings, debates, health and safety records, geology, mining technology reports and legal records. The archives also cover the many accidents in the industry.

The volumes are now available online for historians, academics, universities, students and the general public to view without having to leave their desks.

Dr Howard said: “North-East England cannot be understood outside of its mining history. This dedicated archive therefore represents the most important thread in the region’s modern history.

“It was formed by the co-operation of the region’s mining institutions and the University of Sunderland as evidence of the extraordinary history and culture of North-East England and for the benefit of posterity. We hope a wide range of people are at once informed and moved by it.”

Dr Kevin Yuill, who oversaw the digitising of the archives, said: “The result of this means the minute books are there for anyone to see. Historians can conduct primary research without leaving their desks. Students, amateur historians and genealogists alike have access too.”

For more information and to view the archives, visit: http://leektar.sunderland.ac.uk/calmview/ and search “digitised”.