'Hold me close, under the sunset and let Gods reds and oranges soothe your eyes, like this is all a dream.'


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The many dangers these men experienced is a testament to their courage and fortitude or may be seen as an illustration of the social situation in mid Victorian Whitby. They invariably had large families to support, employment was hard to come by and life was expendable. The guiding top dogger also provided a 'roof' to the holes dug out of the cliffs but these cliffs are notoriously unstable and there is documented evidence of many having been crushed to death by falling rocks. Explosives were rarely used as this damaged the Jet but occasionally small charges were used and this practise also caused fatalities. Men were often lowered down the cliffs on makeshift rope harnesses resulting in further fatal accidents. They even deliberately brought the ceiling of their mines down so as to search through the shale debris! The increasing demand for the raw material and the ever-present dangers eventually prompted the mining inland. Here the sloping hillsides as opposed to the vertical sea cliffs and the long years of weathering which had softened the shales, presented a more attractive proposition.


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