Nothing is as important as coal in the history of the North East - not a thing.
Yet before the domination of coal mining the Region was at the heart of the country's lead mining production.
The mining of coal lay at the heart of the history, prosperity and development of the large swathes of the North East of England for almost half a millennium. The importance of coal to the region did not dwindle until well in to the 20th century, yet as early as the 17th century the wealth generated by the coal trade had made Newcastle one of the most prosperous and politically and economically important towns of the realm.
Technological developments in pumping water, sinking shafts, and lifting coal allowed 'black diamonds' to be mined from ever deeper and ever bigger mines as the industry grew.
Map of the Newcastle upon Tyne Electric Supply Co Ltd (NESCo) and The County of Durham Electrical Power Distribution Co Ltd electric power distribution network, about 1907