Historic mining records online

Durham Miners' Association records spanning more than 60 years of coal mining in the North East are now available to browse on the internet.

Historic Durham mining records available online

The North East's coal mining past is an important part of our heritage, but how much do you know about its effect on the area where you live?

At the industry's peak, there were 400 pits, employing a quarter of a million people.

The records of the Durham Miners' Association from that time are held at Sunderland University.

Now for the first time, the whole collection is available on the internet. It is attracting interest from scholars all over the world. Lucy Taylor has been to see it.

How to use the North East's coal mining archive

Durham Miners' Association records, from meeting minutes to accident reports, have been uploaded onto the internet by researchers at Sunderland University.

They can be used by anyone interested in genealogy to trace relatives or ancestors in the North East, as well as students, scholars and people researching the area's heritage.

Mining archives
The records include compensation paid to widows and children of miners killed in accidents, with detailed records of names and ages. Credit: ITV

To find the archive, click the link here and search "digitised" in the top right hand corner. The whole collection is available, from 1876 to 1941.

Open the Special Collections page, and then search "digitised" to load the mining records Credit: ITV

You can also search each document for key phrases, such as the name of an area or the surname of a family member. First, load the document, then click "Ctrl + F" to open a search bar in the top right hand corner.

Searching for the name of an area will highlight all mentions of it in that document Credit: ITV

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Durham Miners' Association archives now online

Durham Miners' Association records spanning more than 60 years of coal mining in the North East are now available to browse on the internet.

Researcher browses mining archive
A researcher browses the very first volume of records, from 1876. Credit: ITV

The minutes of meetings, accident reports and balance sheets have been digitised by researchers at the North East England Mining and Research Archive (Neemarc) at Sunderland University. They will be of use to genealogists tracing ancestors from the North East, as well as students and scholars.

Mining archive
The whole collection, from 1876 to 1941, is now available on the internet Credit: ITV

The accident reports show how dangerous the profession was, with accounts of injuries suffered by miners, from those still in their teens to others well into their sixties.

The records also document the support offered by the Association - a branch of the National Union of Miners - to miners, including offering compensation to widows and children of men killed at work.