Distributed for University of Wales Press
This is the first comprehensive study of one of the most distinctive voices of the south Wales coalfield.
Considered by Raymond Williams to be ‘the most effective writing about mining life in South Wales’, the work of B. L. Coombes portrays coal-mining and coalfield society in south Wales in the first half of the twentieth century. Born in England in 1893, Coombes began to work in the mines before the First World War, coming to prominence as a miner-writer in the late 1930s. His autobiography, These Poor Hands, was published in 1939 and was followed by two further books, Those Clouded Hills and Miners Day, as well as by hundreds of shorter pieces of fiction and non-fiction
Drawing on new archival sources as well as on Coombes’s published work, this volume examines the man, his writings and the society of which he was a part.
“ . . . interesting and, at times, moving monograph . . . ” –Labour History Review
“. . . an admirable illumination of a hitherto much neglected author. Covering the 1930s and 1940s, and thus encapsulating a way of life that has disappeared, Bert Coombes’ concern for the reality of the miner’s lot provides a record of great interest to the social historian.” –Social History Bulletin
“It is the great virtue of these complementary books [B. L. Coombes and With Dust Still in His Throat: A B.L. Coombes Anthology] that they reveal so much more of Coombes the man and his writings . . . Bill Jones and Chris WiIliams are, like Coombes, industrious workers and limpid writers. They reveal new aspects of Coombes and give a fresh assessment of his work.” –Planet
“ . . . a very lucid acccount of Bert Coombes’s career that is both chronological and analytical . . . The clarity of the text reflects excellent scholarship.” –Welsh History Review