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The Markham collieries were named after Charles Markham. The Markham family were prominent in the history and development of the Staveley Coal and Iron Company. The Markhams proved to be effective in negotiations and dealings with the Duke of Portland, the Duke of Devonshire and William Arkwright. In 1882 the Staveley Coal and Iron Company obtained a lease for 5000 acres of coal reserves from William Arkwright. The term of the lease was 63 years. Three years after obtaining the lease, the Markham No 1 Colliery was in full production. Markham No 2 Colliery was sunk shortly afterwards into the Deep Soft seam at a depth of 1512'. In 1926, coal miners took part in the 'General Strike' brought about due to the proposals to reduce miner's pay and increase their working hours. Although the General Strike was officially over on 11 May 1926, the minder's were not happy with their settlement and continued to strike. For several months the miners held out, but by October 1926 hardship forced men to begin to drift back to the mines. By the end of November most miners had reported back to work. However, many were victimized and remained unemployed for many years. Those that were employed were forced to accept longer hours, lower wages and district agreement. 'Coal Picking' went on during the strike as local people (including miners) could not get any coal.