If you take a boat out and look back at the Whitehaven coast, you can see 250 years of mining history in one snapshot. Saltom Pit was the first under-sea mine to open, and Haig Pit was the last one in Whitehaven to close.

In 1729 Saltom Pit saw the start of deep, under-sea mining, and the start of mining as an identity for Whitehaven. For the next 200 years, pitheads spread along the coast, and tunnels spread out below the sea. Haig Pit was sunk between 1914-18, named for the field marshal.

Whitehaven grew into a major coal mining town during the 18th and 19th centuries; back to back housing and pithead buildings came to dominate the elegant Georgian planned town. Whitehaven was prosperous, although the mines were known as some of the most dangerous in the country.

Haig Pit was sunk between 1914-18 and was the last deep coal mine in Cumbria when it closed in 1986. It was the end of the mining era in Whitehaven.

Coal mining, 1979, Whitehaven, Cumbria

August 1979