Mick went to Chaucer Comprehensive School and left without any qualifications. His working life went from making nuts and bolts at a factory in Stannington, through various steel works and engineering companies. At British Steel Corporation’s Tinsley Park Works he became active in the Transport and General Workers Union, chairing the branch during the three month long national steel strike. When the works closed in 1985 he went back to education at Shirecliffe College, gaining a City & Guilds certificate with a distinction for his course work and went on to Northern College, Barnsley, to do a two year Diploma course in trade union and industrial studies, then on to Sheffield Hallam University where he gained a BA (Hons) degree in Social & Cultural Studies.
It was whilst volunteering at the Hillsborough Community Development Trust, that he edited two 1980s local history group books into a single volume with a view to getting it published to raise funds for the Trust. The Complete Hillsborough by Her People was eventually published in 2006. In 2010 he retired from his last job as a Community Development Worker for Barnsley MBC. He now lives in Dunford Bridge.
He is currently finalising his third book on the Sheffield riots of the 18th and 19th centuries.
The story of the Sheffield Outrages is a significant and important aspect of Sheffield's social history: a time anonymous threatening letters, hamstrung horses, arson attacks, beatings, rattenings, bombings, shootings and murders in order to defend rights of workers. This telling of story of the story is not just about the infamy of William Broadhead and the saw grinders, but a way of life in 19th century Sheffield, conflict between hard-working skilled men and their exploitative masters, and a time of transition in industrial relations and the development of trade unionism.
Inundation captures the heartbreak, death and destruction the huge wall of water caused when Dale Dyke dam ruptured in the early hours of Saturday 12th March 1864. The book is very well illustrated throughout and includes things like contemporary correspondence between an eleven-year-old and her grandmother about that fateful night.
‘Damn bad place Sheffield,’ said King George Ill, reflecting on the town’s reputation as a hotbed of radicalism with revolutionary tendencies, a reputation it maintained for much of the 19th century, augmented by the numerous times that the Riot Act was read to the Sheffield mob. Yet few Sheffield riots were in the name of revolution. They were more to do with social inequalities, injustice and deprivation, only the Chartists’ rising and connections with the Pentrich rising came close to revolution. The price of provisions, the lack of democracy, oppression and perceived assaults on social norms by new religious movements were the dominant causal factors of social disorder in the Sheffield of the 18th and 19th centuries, the protagonists being coal owners, market traders, magistrates, politicians, the police, the militia, resurrectionists, Wesleyans, Mormons and Salvationists. A personal dispute and an attempted robbery also brought out sections of the Sheffield townsfolk in protest and riot. Some of the events in this book will be familiar to the student of Sheffield’s history, some of the events will amaze them, all of the events detailed in Insurrection will fascinate the general reader.