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The rise and fall of the coal industry was one of the key drivers of Britain’s industrial, technological and economic history over three centuries and more.

Increasing mechanisation under the nationalised industry after WW2, and the managed retreat from large scale coal mining, presents a fascinating study in the history of engineering and technology.

Drs Pegg and Kanefsky had ringside seats in the cataclysmic changes in the industry from the late 1970s, both as researchers and managers.  This presentation focuses on how the previously sluggish mechanisation of mining under private ownership accelerated under state ownership, and analyses the key economic and technical drivers of increasing capital intensity.  As well as the better known underground mines, it also looks briefly at how the mechanisation of the opencast sector developed.

Large scale coal mining is of course now a thing of the past in the UK, and seems likely to remain so as geology, politics and economics combine against any revival, but is still a huge industry worldwide.

About The Lecturers

Dr Mark Pegg  MA(Oxon) D.Phil Cgr CCMI FCIPD

Mark teaches, consults and researches on strategy, leadership and team development. After Oxford University he worked in the UK coal mining industry in deep mines and headquarters where he was the Chairman’s personal assistant researching modern coal mining history. After working as a management consultant, he became a Director of a Business School and CEO of the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education with extensive experience in the UK, Europe, Middle East, Far East and Africa.  Recent clients included Rolls-Royce plc and the UK Senior Civil Service. He is a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Dr John Kanefsky PhD MBA

John studied and taught at the University of Exeter in the 1970s, and was awarded his PhD “The Diffusion of Power Technology in British Industry 1760-1870” in 1979.

He then joined the National Coal Board, first as one of the authors of their history of coal mining and co-curator of the COAL art exhibition then, until privatisation, in management at national HQ (focusing on capital investment and corporate affairs) and at Opencast HQ where he led on planning and licensing.  He was subsequently at the Coal Authority and thereafter had a varied career in the NHS and educational research before retirement.

He is now an Honorary Fellow of the University of Exeter.  His current research focuses on 18th century steam power and on Devon in the 18th and 19th centuries.

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