National Archives Records of the Mines Inspectorate and Predecessors: these pertain to the creating bodies’ responsibilities in relation to safety, health and welfare in mines and quarries, including enquiries into mine disasters.
Initially lists of metalliferous mines were published in the Report of the Inspector of Mines for each district. These were compiled from the annual returns required by s. 10 of The Metalliferous Mines Act 1872 as amended by The Metalliferous Mines Act 1875. The owners of slate mines in Merioneth argued that their underground quarries should not be classed as mines. Following the case of Sims v. Evans heard in the Queen’s Bench in June 1875 in which this argument was defeated slate mines were also included in the list. The publication of the lists was separated from the Inspector’s Report in 1882 and thenceforth the lists were published separately under the auspices of the Home Office annually up to and including 1938. Lists were also published in 1945, 1948 and 1950.
For the first two decades of the Inspectors’ Lists the contents varied considerably between districts. Standard information included name and address of owner, name of mine, approximate location and mineral(s) worked. The agent or manager’s name was commonly included in later years. Some Inspectors started to give the numbers employed at individual mines in 1877, but this information was omitted in some districts and was sporadic in others until 1894, from which year it became universal (it had always been given for Cornwall, Devon, North Wales and the Isle of Man).
The titles under which this information have been published are shown below. Collectively these publications are generally referred to as ‘Home Office List of Mines’ and are recorded as such in the Bibliography.
|Published as an appendix to Minerals Statistics of Great Britain and Ireland for the year 18… , Robert Hunt F.R.S. Keeper of Mining Records: ‘Memoirs of the Geological Survey of Great Britain and of the Museum of Practical Geology’ (commonly Hunt’s Mineral Statistics). The list entries for the year contained name of mine, mineral(s) worked, names of owner and manager and occasionally date of closure or similar information.
|Mines and Minerals: Summaries of the Reports of the Inspectors of Mines to Her Majesty’s Secretary of State, and Mineral Statistics of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, including Lists of Mines and Mineral Works for the year 1883. Prepared by H.M. Inspectors of Mines.
|Mines and Minerals: Mining and Mineral Statistics of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland including Lists of Mines and Mineral Works for the year … . Prepared by H.M. Inspectors of Mines by direction of the Secretary of State for the Home Department.
|As previous with the addition of ‘Home Office’ at top of title page.
|As previous but subtitled ‘Part III’.
|Mines:List of Mines worked in the year 18… under the [various] Acts. Prepared by H.M. Inspectors of Mines.
|Mines: List of Mines in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the Isle of Man: For the Year 1894. Prepared by H.M. Inspectors of Mines.
|Mines: Year … : List of Mines in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the Isle of Man. Prepared by H.M. Inspectors of Mines.
|Home Office: Mines: Year 19… : List of Mines in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the Isle of Man. Prepared by H.M. Inspectors of Mines.
|Mines: Year 19… : List of Mines in Great Britain and Ireland and the Isle of Man. Prepared by H.M. Inspectors of Mines by direction of the secretary of state.
|Mines: Year 19… : List of Mines in Great Britain and the Isle of Man. Prepared by H.M. Inspectors of Mines by direction of the secretary of state.
|Mines Department: List of Mines in Great Britain and the Isle of Man. Prepared by H.M. Inspectors of Mines by direction of the secretary of state.
|Not published owing to enemy action.
|Mines Department: List of Mines in Great Britain and the Isle of Man.
|Ministry of Fuel and Power: List of Mines in Great Britain and the Isle of Man: 19…
|A list continued to appear at intervals, but not annually.
In the years for which Lists were given by both Hunt and the Inspectors there are discrepancies between the two.
Regulation of the metal mining industry by statute did not occur until 1872 when the Metalliferous Mines Regulation Act of 1872 was passed. Each Inspector of Mines appointed under this Act was assigned to a district and under section 20 of the Act each Inspector was required to make an annual report which was to be laid before Parliament. This reflected the arrangements of an earlier date for the inspection of coal mines and the first year in which the Inspectors’ reports contained any reference to metal mines was in that for 1873 published in 1874. The District Inspectors’ reports were laid before Parliament as Command papers until and including 1914. It is possible that District Inspectors reports for subsequent years may be in the Public Record Office.
Until the passage of the Quarries Act of 1894 the Lists of Mines contained details of “openworks” which in North Wales were almost exclusively quarries. With the passage of the Act there started another series being ‘A List of Quarries working under the Quarries Act’ and again these were published under the auspices of the Home Office starting with a list for the year 1895. The list was published annually up to and including that for 1914 and thereafter for 1916, 1918, 1920, 1922, 1925,1928, 1931,1934, 1937, and a final undated typescript list some time after 1944.
The majority of these are references to the Annual return of Joint Stock Companies delivered to Parliament by the Registrar of Companies. To follow up one of these references use the Index of Parliamentary Papers for the relevant period under the title Joint Stock Companies.
This is The Report of the Departmental Committee upon Merionethshire Slate Mines; with Appendix; 1895 [C.7692] XXXV.393
Until the end of the twentieth century this publication carried a large section devoted to accessions to the Manuscripts Department and formed the only finding aid to the collections. Accessions recorded in the annual reports can be located by the Library enquiry desk staff.
This major collection of some thirty six boxes of papers and deeds from the offices of a firm of solicitors in Machynlleth was acquired by the Library in about 1940 and still lies uncatalogued. Wilkinson went through all the boxes and attempted to record where material of mining or quarrying interest can be found.
The National Library of Wales newspaper archive (searchable online) is a useful resource, particularly for notices of sales of quarries etc. and reports of inquests into fatal accident inquests.
Information on limited companies may be found in The National Archives and The London Gazette, both of which are searchable on-line.