At last, a memoir of a mining village told with humour and pride. In the 1940′ and 1950’s coal mining in Britain was one of the mainstays of the economy. Pride in the national spirit created during the war years had not evaporated and when the mines were nationalised, the mining communities felt it was their duty to prove they were worthy of the trust the nation had put in them. That pride led to a culture of ambition to be educated to the highest degree and members of the community and local teachers, unmarried because possible marriage partners had been killed in WW1, nurtured that ambition and took pride in the children’s achievements.
The South Lanarkshire mines where the author grew up were in rural communities and children led a life of freedom among the hills and woodlands which is well described. The story goes on to tell, often humourously, how the author progressed from childhood and his own Tom Sawyer friend, through the high jinks, stunt and advice filled apprenticeship in hand got mining that existed in the fifties, to entrance to university.