Shropshire's Battle of Cinderloo told in new cartoon book

One of the most violent and tragic stories in Shropshire's industrial history is brought to life in a new book written and drawn by a retired train driver.

Book picture. A Tale of Coalport Bank by Jim Teague. Library code: book picture 2020. book 2020..
Book picture. A Tale of Coalport Bank by Jim Teague. Library code: book picture 2020. book 2020..

"A Tale of Coalpit Bank" tells in humorous and satirical cartoon form the events of 1821 and has been written and illustrated by Jim Teague from Shrewsbury.

In what became known as the Cinderhill Riots or The Battle of Cinderloo – an ironic echo of the Battle of Waterloo six years earlier – there was a pitched battle between over 3,000 striking miners and two Troops of the Wellington Yeomanry Cavalry amid the slag heaps at Old Park in what is now Telford.

On February 2, 1821, the colliers, many armed with staves, together with a number of women, gathered on what was known locally as Cinder Hill.

They were in tumult after the bosses had cut their wages by 6d a day and had marched on pits in the Madeley Wood and Dawley areas, damaged machinery, and twisted the arms of others to join them.

The mob assembled near the Old Park Iron Works with up to 800 on the principal hill, and 2,500 on the surrounding hills.

The book tells the story in cartoons.

The army was called and the Riot Act was read, to which the crowd reacted with fury. After waiting the statutory hour, the troops charged and, firing over their heads, arrested eight ringleaders and began to take them away.

They came under a barrage of stones and clinker thrown by the crowd. The troops opened fire, killing at least two of the rioters. In the aftermath, two men, Tom Palin and Samuel Hayward, were sentenced to death.

Hayward was reprieved but Palin was hanged at Shrewsbury jail on April 7 for "riotous assembly."

"A Tale of Coalpit Bank" is available for sale at £4.50 through the website of Cinderloo 1821 which is a group of local historians, artists, writers and others who are raising to raise awareness and commemorating the event in its 200th anniversary year of 2021.

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