Big Pit: The Stories
“The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.”
Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings
Stories are the way in which we give meaning to our reality within the context of time, location and circumstances. It is the conduit that brings new ideas and fresh perspectives that make us think in different ways. It is the emotional appeal that drives our response, from surprise to joy, horror to anger, resolve to action. The storyteller binds our hearts and minds as the narrative unfolds.
“That instances occur in which Children are taken into these mines to work as early as four years of age, sometimes at five, and between five and six, not unfrequently between six and seven, and often from seven to eight, while from eight to nine is the ordinary age at which employment in these mines commences….. That when the workpeople are in full employment, the regular hours for Children and Young Persons are rarely less than eleven; more often they are twelve; in some districts they are thirteen; and in one district they are generally fourteen and upwards.” (The 1842 Report) http://www.museumwales.ac.uk/en/2191/
The Industrial Revolution was fuelled by coal. Steam engines consumed vast quantities to run the factory machines, steam trains and ships. The good news, Britain had enormous reserves; the bad news, it was lodged deep within the rocks. The economics were simple enough. The mines were owned by the landholders where the coal was found. The owners gained enormous wealth from selling their coal for a good sum to the factories, while paying their miners low wages. Health and safety were ignored and labour standards were non-existent.
Coal may have been the mechanism for growth, but the stories were the catalyst for progress. Word spread of the working conditions, the accidents and loss of life within coal mines. The public was outraged and a Queen ordered an inquiry.
Today, the stories are being told as they were over 100 years ago. Who is listening?
“All sorrows can be born if you put them in a story or tell a story about them.”