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1893 Hauliers' Strike - Case Study

Research title

Geology, Visualization and the 1893 Hauliers’ Strike: an Interdisciplinary Exploration.


Dr Catherine Preston

Project type




Geology & History

Physical Geography, Human geography, Civil Engineering, Archaeology.

Publishing Institution

School of Earth & Ocean Sciences, University of Cardiff.


Abstract from the thesis: The overarching purpose of the thesis is to explore the interaction between the geological structure of the South Wales coalfield and the development of nineteenth century coalfield society. Through a detailed study of a single event, the 1893 Hauliers’ Strike, and the use of modern 3D mapping and visualisation techniques, the thesis aims to explore how the geology and landscape of South Wales influenced not just the geographical extent and nature of the coal industry but also the experience and responses of the human society which grew up around that industry.

Although Welsh historians have been aware of the implications of the coalfield’s geology for the economic conditions under which the industry operated they have paid less detailed attention to its implications for unity and co-operation amongst the workforce. The emergence of modern mapping techniques, more specifically Geographic Information Systems (GIS), allows testing for the presence of divisive geological influences on human action at a particular point in time. This thesis argues that the strike of 1893 and indeed the history of the coalfield generally cannot be fully understood unless geology is considered. It also argues that GIS offers a powerful way of re-imagining past events and landscapes which enhance the historical research process.

The thesis is divided into two parts. The first considers the challenges and potential benefits for historical research of the adoption of geological insights and GIS visualisation techniques. The second section will provide a detailed study of the 1893 Hauliers’ Strike. Chapters in this section include: an overview of the strike and its historiography; an exploration of the traditional explanations of the strike; evidence for geology as a divisive force acting on the workers’ behaviour; and the role of the landscape in the promotion and maintenance of the strike.


Preston, C. E. (2010) Geology, visualisation and the 1893 hauliers’ strike: an interdisciplinary exploration. University of Cardiff, Doctoral Thesis.

Acknowledgements & References

Supervisors: Prof Peter Brabham and Prof Bill Jones, University of Cardiff. This research was funded by a Cardiff University Richard Whipp fellowship designed to promote novel inter-disciplinary research topics within Cardiff University.


Blaengarw 1947

Blaengarw 1947

Coal seam structure

Blaengarw 1947

Data sources

Blaengarw 1947

Rhondda Valley Deep Coal Mines

Rhondda Valley Deep Coal Mines

South Wales Coal Mines

Rhondda Valley Deep Coal Mines

Central Coalfield Valleys Geology

Central Coalfields Valleys Geology

Rhondda Railways by 1913

Rhondda railways by 1913