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  1. 1. The Miner’s OdysseyFred LeeWednesday, May 15, 13
  2. 2. Steam engine: How it operates Locomotives carrying coal1781, May 23THE PIONEERWednesday, May 15, 13
  3. 3. The sky is flawlessly painted with dark grey. It is once in a week, or even once in a month to see an azure sky. Life is very unfair forthe proletariats like me, only 11 years old, a young boy like me going out to work. My father has passed away from pneumonia, due toover-inhaling the coal dust. I can still imagine my father coughing out coal dust, which looked like the ashes of a burning paper. Imourned about his death. My father has left me to support a whole family, so I am very concerned about my future.I can hear the clinging sound of miners mining coal underground, and the cacophonies echoing from factories. The cacophoniessound like two hundred cockroaches crying at the top of their voice at the same time. My ears cannot rest for even a minute. Everyday isa nightmare, and a battle with heat, bugs, and explosions.Life is miserable and we, the workers; the proletariats of the society are desperate for wealth. Thanks to Alfred Tyler, the ruthlessand nonchalant idiot for all kinds of labor, including child labor! The miners are underpaid that they cannot even support their family.Recently, I heard that a Scottish inventor finalized the model of steam engine. What great news! What a savior of workers! Beforethe invention of the steam engine, horses had to drag wagons filled up with overwhelming amount of coal, limestone and iron. Poorhorses…dragging wagons for days and nights, starving to death. Sometimes, we had to carry the block of coal with our hands andtransport the heavy gosh-darned coal. I always had this feeling of something stabbing my heart whenever I see my mom and sis trying tocarry the coal blocks.As the oldest and the strongest person in the family, I have to take responsibility of my family-my mother and sis. My father barelywhispered this to me in his deathbed.I’m getting more and more curious on the finalized steam engine. I wonder what the steam engine looks like now, and how muchiron and coal it can transport.Paul, my best friend told me about the steam engine today morning. He told me that the steam engine are the locomotives thattransport coal and iron to one place to another, and is synonymous for increased production of coal and iron, and more money beingearned in a shorter amount of time. Basically, less labor, more money.”I hope there are no more breaks in the engine like last time, where the engine overheated, resulting to an explosion. Such a freakaccident led to another explosion in a nearby coal mine. I hope the steam engine can make our lives easier. At least now, my mom and sisdont have to carry the darn heavy coal around!Although this brilliant invention elates me, but the lives of workers are not going be much better, except not having to carry the coalby hand. Coal miners will still be underpaid, and numerous families will starve to death.Alfred has to be realistic here, that selfish idiot should experience what its like to be a coal miner. He has to know how hazardousthe working environment of the miners is. It’s like hide and seek with your eyes covered. He needs to know how every-single second is abattle with poverty, and battle with oneself.My mom sometimes tells me that there will always be a reward after hard work. She told me to not frustrate about being tired;because one day, my hard work will pay off.If I could make a dream come true, my dream is to have a day without a single person in my family to starve.Wednesday, May 15, 13
  4. 4. Having lunch in a stall Blast furnace1805, August 4UP ONE LEVELWednesday, May 15, 13
  5. 5. Alfred laughs, while workers cry. The world is very unfair. The discrepancy of proletariats and the rich are getting bigger.During lunch today, Paul and I were sitting inside a stall, where rats chased each other, and bats screeched. He told me that hewas told to move to work at the Blanaevon iron works. He seems to be elated about moving to work there, but I heard from my fatherhow a painstaking job it is to work in the blast furnace.Whatever happens, my father told me he would never recommend me to go to the Blanaevon iron works, ever since he wasmoved to work at the Blanaevon iron works.My father told me the Blanaevon iron works is a blast furnace that was first created in 1789. He said the creation of this furnacegreatly increased the production of sulfur rich iron, and was considered to be the first iron works furnace to ever be created.I also remember my father telling me who created this blast furnace. I remember my father saying that Sidney Gilchrist Thomasand Percy Gilchrist were the main inventors of the process of excavating iron ore, naming it the ‘basic-steel process’ or the ‘Gilchrist-Thomas process’. The ironworks was very important due to the ability to use cheap, low quality materials and produce high qualitysulfur iron ores and sell them world-wide. How fascinating! But the efficient it was, the harder the workers had to work. I wonder ifPaul would survive the hazardous environment around the Balanaevon iron works.Oh yes, I also remember my father telling me about numerous freak accidents that happened inside the Blanaevon Iron works.My father would always start this story with a short giggle. He told me how the blast furnace works is similar to learning ‘function’ inmathematics. Something goes in, creates something else, and finalizes it. Iron ore is produced out of cheap metals, and slides to a longcorridor. Then, one of the workers has to drag the iron block and pile it up inside a wagon, and that goes to the locomotives. Here wasthe story: One of the workers, who were receiving the iron block, was so weak that he got dragged by the speed of the iron block, andbroke his back. I never got how this was so funny, but he always laughed whenever he talked about this incident.I wholeheartedly hope child labor is abolished in the Blanaevon iron works, because if children work there, this would be childabuse! I mean, seriously. How can children possibly carry the iron blocks?The industrial revolution seems a repetition of innovations and inventions. Some of these inventions definitely help humanbeings to do work easier and more efficiently, but others make life harder. The Blanaevon Iron works have a bit of both sides.The time is late evening, and I got to get ready for tomorrow’s harsh work. Back to the place where methane is trapped insidethe atmosphere, and where the only source of light is the Davy lamp. Worst of all, is going to work with my mom and sis.I find it very depressing that we are living in a house with only one room, a living room that is also used as a kitchen. Whenever Ilook at my mom and my sis’s dirty faces, I cry. Not literally, but inside my heart.I really don’t want my mom and sis to work with me. Seriously, they are girls!If I could make single a wish, I hope that my mom and my sister would live a happier life than they are living right now.Wednesday, May 15, 13
  6. 6. Women carrying coal Mines act protest1842, July 15REBELLION OF WORKERSWednesday, May 15, 13
  7. 7. ‘Mom, Claire, stop working! You shouldn’t be the ones working here!’ I shout inside my head, every time I see my mom and sisClaire trying to carry an 11-kilogram coal block on their own.If only my father was here, he would have at least done some of their work, since he was a strong man; and at night, make dinnerfor our family. To be truthful, he was a terrible cook.Now, it’s all my mother’s responsibility and priority to take care of us. I really miss my father’s meal. If only women didn’t haveto work, life would be much better for my mother and sis, and also for me.This was one of my dreams before 1842.My father told me that over 1185 women over 20, and 1165 girls under that age work inside the coal mine. My father always toldme this, and continued said that one day, a world would be a much better place, where people will unite as one, help each other, andhave smiles on their face. His prediction seems to take a long time before coming true.Actually, his prediction wasn’t wrong after all. There was a mines act, and Jennifer, one of my smart friends who participated inthe mines act told me that this is a constitution that stated that: No female was to be employed underground. No boy under 10 years oldwas to be employed underground. Parish apprentices between the ages of 10 and 18 could continue to work in the mines.Jennifer also told me the protest was rather violent. He told me the petition that citizens proposed was regarded as a rebelliontowards the government, so the military opened fire towards the citizens. Unfortunately, 20 were shot, and three injured. Jennifer wassafe.I asked Jennifer the reason why people took this action. The moment I asked him, I saw his face raging with red. He looked likecondemning me for not knowing such an important action. Jennifer told me that people; especially children are working underground,suffering from the hazardous environment. I learned that notorious amount of children and women are dying day by day. Even girls areworking underground, where bugs bite, and the heat press them down and make them hard to breathe. I was already 34, and I was suchan ignorant idiot who didn’t know what was happening to other people, and thinking that I was the only one who worked hard.This event symbolizes the terrible working conditions of the proletariats and the bourgeois, and somehow, a rebellion that wastaken place due to the nonchalant behavior of the coal mine owners (especially Alfred Tyler) towards women and children working incoal mines.Proletariats and bourgeois had numerous complains about Alfred Tyler, and finally, they have fully showed their lamentation, andsuccessfully changed the constitution!Right now, I feel like a huge stone that was placed inside my body, has flushed down, and disappeared. However, the notoriousAlfred Tyler will keep on bossing workers around, and selfishly collect money out of the workers. Damn!Yesterday was a day where Alfred cried, and workers laughed. Hooray! No more child labor! No more children and womenworking in hazardous conditions mining coal, inhaling the horrible methane gas!Wednesday, May 15, 13
  8. 8. Pendyrus Coal mineHarsh working conditions inside the coal mine1876, June 1HOPE AND MONEYWednesday, May 15, 13
  9. 9. Food is imperative for people to work and survive. Comparing this to the empire, coal is the main item that fuels the empire. Coalplays an important role of creating innovations and inventions to make peoples’ lives more efficient.Sometimes during my sleep, I dream of a day where nobody goes to the coal mine and work, and Alfred rages, as his face turnshot red, and he can’t make any money. Although my imagination is totally fictitious, but I wonder what if this really happens. I’mpretty sure Alfred would do something about this. My father would always tell me, that in order to gain something, there has to besacrifice. Maybe he was waiting for a day like this to come!Unfortunately, my imagination has a 0.3% chance of succeeding, since Alfred, that gosh-darned idiot would use his soldiers toforce us to go to work.’Today morning, Paul came to our house for breakfast, since four intoxicated men accidentally burned his house down. Idiots. Heasked for a stay in my house until he finds a new house to dwell in. Great.Paul told me that coal miners had to open as many mines as possible for the empire to flow well, and develop. It seems like morethan 6 mines opened in the past 8 months. The opening of the coal mines and people gathering to work inside the coal mines look likeants chasing for food that has been dropped on the ground.I also heard that the Pendyrus Coal mine recently opened, and it is one of the largest coalmines ever opened. Although the coalmine is far away from where I live right now, but I am planning to move to the Pendyrus coal mine, since Paul told me the coal minersare more benevolent towards workers, and pays twice as much money as the other mines. Yes! This is the chance to accumulate somemoney, and go out for a dinner with my family!Sometimes, I imagine everyone in my family smiling with elation, smiling of wealth, and smiling with real happiness.I have been thinking too much about my future hope, but the important thing is the present. In order to achieve all my goals, Ineed to work harder, and harder. Saying of hard work, I wonder why I had to be born in such a filthy, and poor family. Why do I haveto suffer from extreme poverty? WHY FATHER! WHY MOTHER! Why do poor people have to work their butt off, while rich peoplelie down in recumbent positions and relish their lives?What do the rich people do, work? No. Support the empire? No. All they do is eat and buy jewelry to beautify appearances. Nowonder why all of those lazy pigs are so fat.I guess its just mood swings that I have often from extreme stress. Oh God, please help me!God, please help my family to end up smiling of wealth and elation.God, please help the children to not get abused by child labor.God, please let my family have a blissful life.God, please keep our family healthy.Wednesday, May 15, 13
  10. 10. Explosion of coal mineLife of the poor1896, July 12THE ENDWednesday, May 15, 13
  11. 11. My ears lagged and froze for a moment. The ground roared and the sky bounced. The world was spinning in circles, and I felldown. It felt like trying to balance on a pogo stick.I am old and weary, have no strength to even walk properly. The wind was shrewd. It bit off my skin. When I was younger, thiskind of cold was nothing. After a few minutes, I finally woke up and noticed that I was lying recumbently on a plain, and the sky wasstill spinning.When I was just about to have breakfast, Paul came over, and told me about what the explosion wa. He told me that the number 8pit exploded, and also caused havoc in number 7 pit, which killed 57 miners, most of whom were making their way to the bottom of theshaft after a night shift. He also told me that eighty horses were perished.Then in number 7 pit, the force of the explosion brought down heavy falls of roof and side, cutting all expectations of life. Its justlike a domino effect. I hope number 6 pit does not get affected by the explosion in pit number 7.I knew that explosions often happen in coal mines, but this one was a huge one. How poor, how sad would the families of thevictims be?That Alfred Tyler, he doesn’t even seem to care about this incident. I bet he is only worried about losing the coal inside the coalmines, not the workers. I read from the newspaper that people are getting rescued.Of course, the economy flagging was obvious. Since the coal mines were the ‘food’ and the ‘energy’ of the endless innovations,Alfred had to repair the surrounding infrastructures and the coal mines.Paul told me he was sure that after a few days from the incident, the families of the victims of the explosion will come out out andhold posters and pamphlets, protesting against Alfred to pay for the deaths of the miners. Paul predicted that they were going to protestfor three days, until the guards push the protestors out of the road, and force them into their homes.The appalling freak incident seemed to receive a spotlight of the empire. Everybody knew this incident, and this was the maintopic of a conversation. There were sounds of people crying, which seemed to go on forever. The empire flooded with tears, and peopleshowed lamentation towards the deaths of the miners.Alfred Tyler, I had enough of this guy. There were days that I showed hatred towards him, and there were days I wished to chophis head off. But now I notice, that I would have been like him too. If I was born in a wealthy family and owned coal mines, I wouldhave lived in somewhere clean, never near where the coal mines were, and would have lived a happy life. The world is supposed to beunfair, and people are just living as they are supposed to.I have more days to die than more days to live. I’m thinking of my will, and my final letters to my future generations.Wednesday, May 15, 13
  12. 12. Colliery, Lewis Merthyr. "Welcome to Rhondda Heritage Park." The Rhondda Heritage Park. Rhondda Cynon Taf, n.d.Web. 14 May 2013.Prior, Neil. "How 1896 Tylorstown Pit Disaster Prompted Safety Change." BBC News. BBC, 28 Jan. 2012. Web. 14 May2013.Gareth. "Rhondda Valley Place Names Tylorstown from My Tribute to the Rhondda."Rhondda Valley Place NamesTylorstown from My Tribute to the Rhondda. LSJ Services, n.d. Web. 14 May 2013.Published by (1851 English and Welsh Census(London, TNA/, 1952) , Web site showingcopies of original enumerator schedules), CEN 1851 ho 107 1849 141 4. (1901 English and Welsh Census(London, TNA/, 2002) , Web site showing copies of original enumeratorschedules), CEN 1901 rg 13 5019 105 3. (1871 English and Welsh Census(London, TNA/, 1972) , Web site showing copies of original enumeratorschedules), CEn 1871 rg10 1962 30 5.(1861 English and Welsh Census(London, TNA/, 1962) , Web site showing copies of original enumeratorschedules), CEN 1861 rg9 1320 page 4."Ancestors of John Day." Ancestors of John Day. Millenia, 6 Mar. 2013. Web. 14 May 2013.Steam Engine. 1948. Photograph. Steam Engine. Web. <>.Badkar, Mamta. "Devastating Photos Of Indias Illegal Coal Mines." Business Insider. Business Insider, 4; Oct. 2012. Web. 14 May 2013. <>.Wednesday, May 15, 13