Learn about the Dearne pit ponies

The role of pit ponies in Dearne and Barnsley area pits has become clearer thanks to new information.

Wednesday, 15th June 2016, 11:43 am
Updated Wednesday, 15th June 2016, 12:38 pm
Woolley, 16th July 1963 Pony boy Eric Humphrey, with "Monarch", one of the miner's favourite pit ponies. Four miners are seen making friends with "Monarch".

A rare, handwritten book documenting the use of pit ponies in coal mines, and particularly Cortonwood Colliery, has been donated to Barnsley Archives and Local Studies.

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The lengthy document covers the first two years of the First World War, from 1914 to 1916. It details daily updates of the condition of each pony. The animals’ names are given and include Nelson, Jerry, Lion, Boxer and Dandy!

Phillip Spurr, Service Director, said: “We know that ponies were used underground in the coal mining industry until the mid-20th century, but it’s rare to find them documented in this way. This volume is a welcome addition to the collections of Barnsley Archives and Local Studies. It helps our customers to conduct more thorough research and better understand our local mining heritage.”

The book can be viewed in the Archives Discovery Centre in the town hall, alongside a selection of newly donated documents. Visit www.experience-barnsley.com or call 01226 773950.