To Orwell Today,

I have just read on the Orwell Today website the poem DOWN THE MINE by Peter Cordwell.

I am a member of Killamarsh Heritage Society (in North East Derbyshire) and we are currently doing research on the history and heritage of the pits in our village (we had three pits - all now gone).

I am currently collecting poems with a coal mining theme - to perhaps put into a small booklet - which would be used to raise funds for our Society and I wondered if it would be possible for me to use the poem Down the Mine in the booklet - obviously crediting Peter Cordwell.

I wondered if you could let me have your thoughts please.

Best wishes,
Pat Bone

Greetings Pat,

Life's the pits -- instead of IN the pits -- for coal miners these days -- not only in the UK but in America as well.

I think it's a great idea to compile a booklet of poems about coal mining as part of the heritage of the pits in your area. I'll post your email and perhaps Peter Cordwell will be in touch with you.

All the best,
Jackie Jura

PS - I just did a bit of reading on your village of Killamarsh and the three pits there and learned the amazing fact that the coal from your forges made the steel for the 1866 telegraph cable under the Atlantic ocean between England and America -- which was one of the accomplishments of President Abraham Lincoln -- completed after his assassination. Lincoln had been responsible as well for the laying of the telegraph wire between Russia and America -- and all this -- and more -- while fighting a Civil War.

PPS - I sent Peter our posting and your contact info -- here's his response:

Hi Jackie,

Of course Pat Bone can use the poem/lyrics. I would be very proud to have it in their booklet.

By the way, 'One Georgie Orwell' is going down very well. We had four great nights at Greenwich Theatre in April last year and then it was featured at the Write Idea Festival in East London in November. Last week on June 25 (Orwell's 110th birthday) we had a wonderful night at Charlton House in SE London.

Am visiting people up north early in August. It would be great, if possible, to meet Pat Bone at their village!

Great to see you keeping up the good work.

Very best wishes,
Peter Cordwell

To Orwell Today,

Hi Jackie,

Great to hear from you.

Yes the Forge in Killamarsh was responsible for the cable.

I'm not sure if you have seen the Killamarsh Heritage Society website but you can find lots of information and photographs at KILLAMARSH CENTRAL

Best wishes,
Pat Bone

Greetings again Pat,

Thank you very much -- or as Orwell would say, "doubleplus" -- for sending the link to the Killamarsh Heritage Society website -- I'll be reading that with great interest in the coming days.

I've driven past Sheffield in the distance a few times when in England over the years -- and I always remember seeing the Sheffield imprint on knives -- and knowing that the best steel comes from there. Killamarsh isn't very far from Sheffield, I understand -- just south a few miles.

Orwell was a good friend to coal miners in his writings -- and, as we all know, he went down the shaft more than once -- knocked himself out cold one time when his head hit a beam.

King Edward VIII was also a much beloved friend to the coal miners of England and Wales -- he went down the shaft too -- so you coal miners are in very good company.

Speaking of poems -- even ones put to music -- I love the words and music to the 1966 song WORKING IN A COAL MINE

All the best with your project,
Jackie Jura

PS - I've ordered the book LINCOLN IN THE TELEGRAPH OFFICE (since learning about the connection between the Killamarsh coalmine and the Atlantic telegraph cable) because telegraphing was an integral part of President Lincoln's life during the Civil War years -- he practically lived at the telegraph office. It was located in the War Department building next door to the White House so he shuffled back and forth between there many times during the day and night -- keeping up with news about the battles and communicating with his generals.

History of the Atlantic Cable & Undersea Communications (from the first submarine cable of 1850 to the worldwide fiber optic network)

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Jackie Jura
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