National Libraries Day 2016



To celebrate National Libraries Day 2016 (#loveyourlibrary), the Miners’ Library is drawing attention to its Oral History Collection. This collection is often utilized by historians and researchers at the Library but may not be as familiar to some of our other students and borrowers. This is why, beginning on February 6th, we have prepared a selection of clips from the extensive collection so that anyone can get a flavour of the collection and the variety of stories told within it. This selection, along with some informative posters and photocopied transcripts, will be available in the reception area of the library for those interested in learning (and hearing) more.

The Miners’ Library began its Oral History Collection as a result of two Coalfield History Projects that ran from 1971-4 and 1979-82. The projects were tasked with collecting a broad range of sources that included oral testimony . Over 1175 hours of audio and video interviews were recorded as a result of these projects, which documented the lives of ordinary men and women. The interviews offer insights into the individuals struggles of these people, as well as affording glimpses into the larger social, cultural and political contexts in which they lived. Subsequent recordings have been added in the years since the original projects, adding to the breadth and scope of the collection.

The interviews vary in length. Some last for several hours while others are around forty-minutes.Reflecting the bi-lingual nature of the coalfield, approximately 10% of the interviews were conducted in Welsh. Many prominent figures in the south Wales coal industry have been interviewed, such as Dai Francis, Emlyn Williams, Phil Weekes and Will Paynter.

Please let us know if you would like further information on the South Wales Coalfield Collection.

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