This is a true story covering territory rarely featured in history books - a dark time when women and children toiled underground in Victorian coal mines. Using extensive research, the book brings back to life the early Victorian mining community of Silkstone, South Yorkshire. It recreates the sad date of July 4 1838 when a freak rain and hail storm caused a narrow and shallow stream to burst its banks and flood the main passageway shaft leading to the Huskar Pit, resulting in the death of 26 children aged between seven and 15 years. News of the disaster finds its way into "The Times" and is read by Lord Ashley (later the Earl of Shaftesbury), and an offical enquiry is launched. Lord Ashley and the Commissioner of the Royal Commission on mines and collieries, Jelinger C. Symons, both visit and interview mine owners and workers, and descend into the mines to understand what conditions are really like, particularly for women and children. On August 10 1842 - over four years after the Huskar Pit disaster had brought the subject of women and children working in Yorkshire's coal mines to public attention - a bill was passed to change the country's labour laws regarding their employment.