UK collection 10 photos of coal mining pit ponies c.1930

$300.00 CAD

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Undated, late 20s, early 30s. Appear to all be press photos. Several seem to be from same location, the Harton Coal Co. farm at Marsden (Durham).

Majprity have copyright stamps on back:


Stamp and text on back:

  • King George V and other men in top hats, examining pit pony with cart on rail. “King in Yorkshire” “King inspects pit pony” 16,50 x 21,50 cm
  • Man holding harness of two ponies “Coal Strike” “Pit ponies brought to the top at Sheffield” 16,50 x 21,50 cm
  • Man sitting in coal car being pulled by pony “Training pit ponies for work at the Harton Coal Co. farm at Marsden” 16,50 x 21,50 cm

Whitburn Colliery was a coal mine located about three miles south of South Shields, North East England, located on the North Sea coast. Marsden was originally a small village, consisting of farms, a few cottages and a lighthouse at Souter Point. Local industry consisted of a small limestone quarry.

With only stamp:

  • Man feeding horses in stalls 16,50 x 21,50 cm paper has crinkles on left and bottom sides
  • Man in uniform looking at pony in stall with harness on for pulling car 16,50 x 21,50 cm
  • Man feeding horse from bucket 16,50 x 21,50 cm paper has crinkles on right/left sides

Blank back:

  • Two men both holding harness, beside of pony pulling coal car for training 16,50 x 21,50 cm
  • Two men jogging, one holding harness, beside of pony pulling coal car for training 16,50 x 21,50 cm
  • Two men jogging, one holding harness, beside of pony pulling coal car for training 16,50 x 21,50 cm
  • Three men harnessing car to pony for training 20 x 25.5 cm. light horizontal creases

(Red text is an electronic watermark that is not physically part of the photo for sale)


A pit pony, otherwise known as a mining horse, was a horse, pony or mule commonly used underground in mines from the mid-18th until the mid-20th century. The term "pony" was sometimes broadly applied to any equine working underground.

The first known recorded use of ponies underground in Great Britain was in the Durham coalfield in 1750. Following the drowning deaths of 26 children when the Huskar Colliery in Silkstone flooded on 4 July 1838, "A report was published in The Times, and the wider British public learned for the first time that women and children worked in the mines. There was a public outcry, led by politician and reformer Anthony Ashley Cooper, later Lord Shaftesbury," who then introduced the Mines and Collieries Act 1842 to Parliament which barred women, girls and boys under 10 (later amended to 13) from working underground, leading to the widespread use of horses and ponies in mining in England, though the Act did not end child labour in British mines.

At the peak of this practice in 1913, there were 70,000 ponies underground in Britain. In later years, mechanical haulage was introduced on the main underground roads replacing pony hauls, and ponies tended to be confined to the shorter runs from coal face to main road (known in North East England as "putting") which were more difficult to mechanise