Mining took place as early as the 1500's. Just before and throughout the 1850's coal mining became increasingly in demand. For example in the 1830's the annual output increased to over 30 million tons in Britain. During this time trade unions also began to form. In Canada large scale mining became more common in the 1830's and continued through the 1850's. Steam water pumps and railways were the major advancements used in Nova Scotia at this time. Nova Scotia was the main large supplier of Canadian coal up until 1945. Coal mining reached its peak just before the 1950's.
The above picture shows two workers shovelling coal, taken in 1953.