I'm currently 80% of the way through a fascinating book I bought about ten years ago, but didn't get around to reading due to having a stack of books to read. It got put in one of my bookcases and forgotten about until a few weeks ago when I noticed it there and decided it was time I read it. The book is called “Black Diamonds — The Rise And Fall Of An English Dynasty” by Catherine Bailey. I not long ago finished another book (published this year) by that same author, “The Lost Boys”.
“Black Diamonds” is the tale of the Fitzwilliam family in the 20th century. The Earl Fitzwilliam owned Wentworth, the biggest private home in England, dwarfing even the various royal palaces and castles by a huge amount. Their wealth was based on coal, specifically the south-Yorkshire coalfields. However, unlike many others of the coalfield-owning aristocracy who treated their workers like slaves, the 6th and 7th Earl Fitzwilliam looked after their workers, even when times turned hard. They effectively ran their own welfare state for their workers and widowed families of workers who died in the coal mines, but eventually nationalisation of Britain's coal fields after WWII dealt a death blow to the Fitzwilliam empire and it all came crashing down.
As the old saying goes, “the bigger they are, the harder they fall.”