THE rich seams of coal under Lancashire were mined even in medieval times, but it was during the Industrial Revolution when they fanned the flames of progress.

Transported, albeit slowly, via barge along the Leeds Liverpool canal, it was coal that fired the county's success and prosperity, driving the mill and factory steam engines, the trams and then the locomotives.

There were particularly good seams beneath Burnley and the town's coalfield once numbered 16 pits, which produced millions of tonnes of coal a year.

As time marched on, one by one they closed, as seams dwindled or were no longer viable to hew out of the earth.

Burnley's last deep mine to close was Hapton Valley, where the first shaft, that became known as Spa Pit, had been sunk in 1853, followed in 1908 by two more new shafts, which became so well established that men were moved from the old pit to the new.

Hapton Valley survived the closure of Bank Hall, close to the centre of town and kept working for another 11 years until the risk of mining near flooded workings was considered too great and it was closed by the NCB in 1982.

In this image from the Telegraph archives, Gavin Cunningham is seen, alongside fellow miners, clutching the last piece of coal commercially mined there on the last day of working.