There's a long tradition of mining in Scotland. Dangerous and labor intensive work. A number of my ancestors were miners so when I found http://www.scottishmining.co.uk/ I was happy to see a decent site related to the subject.
Early miners, and their families, were "bound" to the colliery and owner by an Act of Parliament set in 1606. This basically meant a miner could not move from one colliery to another without written consent from his "master". If he did try he could be reclaimed within a year and a day.
Owners of mines could also apprehend those they considered to be beggars and vagabonds and put them to work in the mines.
Young children did not receive much in the way of formal education, usually being removed from school between the ages of 7-9.
There's an interactive museum, The Scottish Mining Museum, at Newtongrange near Edinburgh http://www.scottishminingmuseum.com/ which I've been told is an interesting place to visit. Look in the links section of the web site for lots of information and places to contact.
The largest collection of coal mining records can be found at http://www.nas.gov.uk/guides/coalmining.asp
The photograph is from "The Industries of Scotland Their Rise, Progress, and Present Conditions" by David Bremner (1869).