The miners of the pre-mechanisation age used hand tools to sink shafts and extract the minerals. The hard physical work resulted in high mortality and life expectancy was low. Thin coal seams encouraged the use of child labour. The only memorials to many of these men, women and children are the shafts and open workings which present the current land owner with unwanted stability and personnel hazards.

It is my belief that the investigation and treatment of the mining features should be carried out with respect for these workers, collectively known as the Old Men, who worked underground in past centuries, in appalling conditions and at great personal risk. Accordingly, the investigation and treatment of their legacy should be careful and thoughtful, un-rushed, and of the highest quality.