Joseph Thorne was born in South Wales and grew up in Gwaelod-y-Garth, where he was fascinated by the ruins of the Lan mine and other nineteenth-century industrial landmarks scattering the landscape. Now, with a PhD on late-Victorian literature and culture, he has researched the period extensively.
He first became interested in the story of the Lan explosion when he saw the Deeds of Lease for Ty’n-y-Coed (now Wood Cottage), the home of the Phillips family. Joseph was fascinated that Abraham Phillips had signed the transaction for the cottage with an X, even though he must have been able to write as the Overman at the Lan. This got Joseph interested in the Phillips family and what had happened to them in the weeks after that fatal explosion in December 1875. The Lan Colliery pit may have been overgrown, lost and forgotten, but it lived again in his imagination.
Gabriel Beristain acclaims Joseph as a talented writer. His script communicates the human stories of this tragedy, giving voice to the people often brushed aside when we dramatise Victorian lives. Their stories are told with a twenty-first century sensitivity – there is a contemporary twist to the language; the female protagonists have a strong presence in this male-dominated world; and romantic relationships are represented in all their complexities.