Of all industrial activities in these islands that of mining is perhaps the oldest. The extraction of the mineral wealth of the country — tin, iron, copper, gold, coal and so on — has been carried out since Roman times in most parts of the UK. The scale on which this was done in different periods and locations varied considerably. Coal mining, for example, as soon as it advanced beyond a quite primitive stage, involved fairly large units of exploitation with several hundred people employed, while tin mining in Cornwall was carried out often by fairly small family units of between thirty to forty individuals, lead mining falling mid‐way between these mo extremes and employing between 50 and 200 men usually. The principal lead mining areas in Great Britain were:  Durham and Northumberland (the North Pennine field)  the North and West Ridings of Yorkshire  the Derbyshire Peak  Flintshire  Cardiganshire and south west Montgomery and  the Lanarkshire and Dumfriesshire borders. Of these the Scottish field was the smallest, contributing about 5% of the total British output. Commonly a major problem facing those trying to exploit these mineral resources was the isolated location of many of the mineral areas. Employers had to attract workers to the mining location. To do this they found it necessary to resort either to the forcible pressing of paupers and felons, thereby instituting a form of serfdom to bind the worker to the mine for life and, effectively, to bind his children after him, or to providing conditions and amenities which would prove attractive to free workers.
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