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Durham e-Theses
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Hetton-Le-Hole: the genesis of a coalmining landscape 1770-1860

Sill, Michael (1974) Hetton-Le-Hole: the genesis of a coalmining landscape 1770-1860. Masters thesis, Durham University.



The thesis is concerned with the study of the growth of a major coal-mining settlement in the parish of Hetton-le-Hole in east Durham. By the use of cartographic, censal and documentary source material in conjunction with relict landscape evidence, the thesis firstly seeks to explore in detail the morphological evolution of the settlement in relation to the pre-mining landscape. A second section consists of an analysis of the occupation and social structure of the coal-mining households as well as their patterns of movement prior to 1851. The final section takes the form of a total reconstruction of the social and economic life of the community that existed at Hetton in 1851, some thirty years after the initial colliery sinkings in the parish Although the growth of the settlement was very rapid, particularly in the first ten years following' the opening of Hetton colliery in 1822, the plan of the mining settlement evolved subject to the constraints of the earlier rural landscape. In addition, the influence of the landowners and their relationships with the Hetton coal company, was considerable in determining the ultimate form of the settlement. 53.7% of the households in Hetton in 1851 were occupied by coalminers and their families, which were considerably larger than those of the non-coalmining element in the community; the mining families were highly mobile and had migrated in the thirty years before 1851 largely from contracting to expanding sectors of the Northumberland and Durham coalfield. Very few miners originated from rural parts of the North East or from other parts of the country. Within the community as a whole coal-mining dominated the economic life and provided the only large-scale high capitalized source of employment. Most of the remaining workers provided goods and services for the miners on a small- scale craft basis. Very few long-distance migrants lived in Hetton in 1851, save the Irish and the Scots. The former rarely worked in the collieries, but found employment by the provision of low-grade services. The latter in general were more highly skilled than the Irish. An analysis of the occupations throughout the settlement revealed a partial zonation, with the miners concentrated in rows built on land owned by the coal company; in no street however did the incidence of coalmining households fall below 25%. In summary, therefore, this thesis provides a detailed study of the evolution of a coal-mining landscape in one parish in east Durham.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1974
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 16:31

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