After centuries of production, deep coal mining comes to an end in the UK today (Friday) as miners at a colliery in North Yorkshire work their final shift.
The Kellingley mine is the last of its kind in the UK to be operating, but production comes to a halt today, with 450 miners losing their jobs.
Unions described it as a “very sad day” for the UK and its mining history.
Keith Poulson, who has been in the mining industry for 39 years, branch secretary for National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), said: “It has been like being a convicted prisoner on death row.
“We can basically hear the governor coming down the corridor and he’s about to put the key in the cell door to take you to meet your fate.”
Phil Whitehurst, national officer of the GMB union, said: “The final 450 miners, the last in a long line stretching back for generations, are having to search for new jobs before the shafts that lead down to 30 million tons of untouched coal are sealed with concrete.”
At its peak in the 1920s, more than 1.1 million people worked in the UK’s coal industry. But since 2001 when the UK imported more coal than it produced, the industry has been in decline.