Britain’s last deep coal mine, Kellingley in Yorkshire, worked its last shift underground yesterday. Kellingley began production in April 1965 and up to 900 t/h of coal could be raised to the surface through one of two 800 m deep shafts. It was mining the ‘Beeston’ coal seam and its closure leaves further accessible reserves in the ‘Silkstone’ coal seam. It brings to an end a history of British deep coal mining covering many centuries.As Wikipedia explains, the Industrial Revolution, which began in Britain in the 18th century, and later spread to continental Europe, North America, and Japan, was based on the availability of coal to power steam engines. International trade expanded exponentially when coal-fed steam engines were built for the railways and steamships during the Victorian era. Coal was cheaper and much more efficient than wood fuel in most steam engines.In 1905, only the US mined more coal than the UK, producing almost 351 Mt that year, compared with Britain’s 236 Mt. The UK was a world leader and this generated a coal mining equipment industry that also lead the world. There had been more than 1,000 coal mines in the UK during the first half of the 20th century, but by 1984 there were only 173 still operating. And, as of today, there are no deep mines operating. The equipment companies largely failed to move with the times and most disappeared or were sold to US or German companies and competitors.