By Anthony Annakin-Smith. University of Chester. £19.99. Available from the publisher
www.chester.ac.uk/university-press and the usual booksellers from 29 November 2019
The early Neston collieries operated for almost 100 years and were notable in many ways, for example for the devastating acts of sabotage committed by one mine owner on the neighbouring works, for the use of canals for hauling coal deep under the Dee Estuary, and for introducing the earliest steam engine in west Cheshire. There are also links to famous names such as George Stephenson and Nelson’s future mistress, Emma, Lady Hamilton.
The extensively illustrated book gives a comprehensive review of every aspect of the early Neston collieries – not just how the mines operated but also, for example, the social background of the colliers including their health, children, education and living conditions; the operation of the land and sea trades which saw Neston’s coal shipped as far as the Americas; and the network of links to Chester, Wales, Lancashire and beyond which enabled the mines to survive. Comprehensive research into the life of every known Neston collier means that there is a wealth of information on the often pitiful lives of the men and children who worked at the mines. Events are placed in the context of the profound changes which were affecting Britain during the Industrial Revolution.
The book will appeal to those with an interest in industrial, social or local history as well as to family historians.
Our member Clive Tolley has just published this volume of his collected essays on Bede and the early kings of Northumbria.
You can order copies directly from the publishers http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page466.html
Clive also has a limited number of copies at £11, available for collection at one of our meetings.
Click here to e-mail Clive
Click here to download a copy of the front cover of this publication
By Tony Wilmott & Dan Garner
Hardback, 496 pages, Published by Oxbow Books, ISBN:9781785707445
This is the first of two volumes dealing with the major research excavations on the Chester Amphitheatre in 2004–2006. The amphitheatre was discovered in 1929 and partially excavated in the 1970s, after which the northern half was laid out as a public monument. Subsequent questions about the future of the site and the original interpretation prompted the recent work which was part funded by English Heritage and the (then) Chester City Council. The first amphitheatre was built in the 70s AD. It had a stone outer wall with external stairs and timber framed seating, the structure of which can be reconstructed. The second amphitheatre was built concentrically around the first, sealing deposits relating to the behaviour of spectators and the economy of spectacles in the first building. Amphitheatre 2, probably built in the later second century, was the largest and most impressive amphitheatre in Britain, featuring elaborate entrances, internal stairs and decorative pilasters on the outer wall. Although heavily robbed, sufficient survives to enable a confident architectural reconstruction to be proposed. Arena furniture hints at the type of spectacles that took place here. Beneath the seating banks of the amphitheatres evidence for prehistoric settlement was recovered – the first substantial prehistoric archaeology to be found in Chester. Occupation began with a Mesolithic phase, followed by a Middle Iron Age agricultural settlement and finally Late Iron Age cord-rig ploughing. This fully integrated volume tells the story of the site from the Mesolithic to the end of the life of the amphitheatre. It contains full stratigraphic and structural detail, including CGI reconstruction of Amphitheatre 2, artefactual and ecofactual evidence, and takes account of the findings of all excavations on the site since 1929. A second volume will deal with the robbing and reuse of the amphitheatre in the post Roman period, and the development of the medieval and post-medieval urban landscape of the site.