Books
Peter Crookston

The Pitmen's Requiem

Peter Crookston's book offers a beautifully written journalist's account of a Durham mining village and the Great Northern Coalfield woven around the life of Robert Saint, the composer of Gresford, a brass band composition commemorating an earlier mining disaster in which 256 workers died. Crookston brings his formidable observational qualities and writing skills as a journalist to produce a gripping narrative with utterly compelling characters and a heart-rending culmination in the demise of the mining industry under assault by Thatcher. The story is told in a gentle, unpretentious way, frequently giving voice to the characters themselves, many of whom the author knew personally or got to know in preparing the book. Apart from capturing a critical moment in a disappearing world, the book offers a vantage point from which to reflect on our own culture, and what we have lost in post-industrial Britain: the loss of community which did so much to sustain and nurture those miners in their desperate plights. This is as much a history of culture and place as much as it is biography, a book that is at once an elegy and a tribute
232 printed pages
Original publication
2014

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