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The south Yorkshire coalminers, 1870-1914 : a study of social and occupational cohesion Wolfe, Celia Mary 1974

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THE SOUTH YORKSHIRE COALMINERS 1870 - 19-4 i A STUDY OF SOCIAL AND OCCUPATIONAL COHESION by CELIA MARY WOLFE B.A. (Hons.), U n i v e r s i t y College of Bangor, 1971 Dip. Ed., U n i v e r s i t y of S h e f f i e l d , 1972  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n the Department of HISTORY  We accept t h i s t h e s i s a s conforming t o the required standard v  THE UNIVERSITY,OF BRITISH COLUMBIA October, 1974  In  presenting  this  an a d v a n c e d  degree  the L i b r a r y  shall  I  f u r t h e r agree  for  scholarly  by h i s of  this  written  thesis at  the U n i v e r s i t y  make  that  it  purposes  for  freely  permission may  representatives. thesis  in p a r t i a l  is  financial  Columbia,  British  by  for  gain  shall  Columbia  the  that  not  requirements I  agree  r e f e r e n c e and copying  t h e Head o f  understood  of  The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h V a n c o u v e r 8, Canada  of  for extensive  permission.  Department  of  available  be g r a n t e d  It  fulfilment  of  or  that  study.  this  thesis  my D e p a r t m e n t  copying  for  or  publication  be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t  my  ii ABSTRACT The coalminers as a s o c i a l and occupational group have always been r e f e r r e d to by h i s t o r i a n s as a "race a p a r t , " l i v i n g i n communities which were both p h y s i c a l l y and c u l t u r a l l y i s o l a t e d from other working-class groups.  In order t o  d i s t i n g u i s h and examine the s p e c i a l circumstances and charact e r i s t i c s which set them apart from the r e s t of the working c l a s s , the present t h e s i s s t r e s s e s a number of problems: male and female r o l e s ? the family? the s p e c i a l place of women i n the family? working and l i v i n g conditions? and the s p e c i a l a t t i t u d e s and outlooks that these c o n d i t i o n s f o s t e r e d . Although the sources examined are drawn from a l l c o a l f i e l d s , the study focuses on the r e l a t i v e l y new South Yorkshire c o a l f i e l d which has not yet been studied i n a systematic fashion.  During the l a s t three decades of the nineteenth  century and the e a r l y part of the twentieth century, the South Yorkshire c o a l f i e l d underwent i t s period of most r a p i d expansion.  While t h i s c o a l f i e l d was newer than the others,  i t s miners e x h i b i t e d s i m i l a r features to those of the older c o a l f i e l d s , and i t i s not my aim to prove that they were d i f ferent.  Rather, the South Yorkshire c o a l f i e l d i s used as  a model t o i d e n t i f y some s o c i a l aspects of l i f e i n a c o a l mining community. In a d d i t i o n , the study attempts t o contrast the e n v i ronment of the coalminers w i t h that of other working-class groups.  Demographic m a t e r i a l i s derived from the Census  Reports, and s t u d i e s of l i v i n g and working c o n d i t i o n s from Government r e p o r t s , eye-witness accounts of s o c i a l i n v e s t i gators, autobiographies of coalminers and personal memoirs,  iii contemporary newspaper r e p o r t s , and r e l e v a n t secondary works. Despite the i n f l u x of new immigrants  i n t o the new or  expanding coalmining towns and v i l l a g e s , they r a p i d l y came to e x h i b i t patterns t o be found i n older coalmining communities.  The most impressive mark of a coalmining town was i t s  d i s t i n c t i v e s o c i a l s o l i d a r i t y and cohesion.  These strong s o c i a l  bonds were engendered and maintained by a common i d e n t i t y produced by occupational dependency upon the p i t , and by the camaraderie iences.  f o s t e r e d by shared l i v i n g and working  exper-  The need f o r cooperation under dangerous working  c o n d i t i o n s , the communal struggle against an unfavourable environment, the economic i n s e c u r i t y of p i t - l i f e , the l i m i t a t i o n s enforced upon women by the lack of employment opport u n i t i e s , the t r a d i t i o n a l commitment t o large f a m i l i e s ! These f a c t o r s ensured a common pool of experiences and a common set of expectations.  The coalmining communities were  marked by a unique c u l t u r e and outlook on l i f e . These features of coalmining served t o i s o l a t e i t s populations even more from other working-class groups and o f f e r an explanation f o r the view which has been advanced by labour h i s t o r i a n s that the r a d i c a l i s m of the coalminers was r e s t r i c t e d t o t h e i r p a r t i c u l a r needs and i n t e r e s t s , and eschewed a t o t a l working-class s o l i d a r i t y , which was the goal of the organized.,working-class movement i n B r i t a i n .  iv PREFACE The turbulent tion of  history  of  unionized  Miners'  Association  -  Miners'  portance  i n the  the  or the  unique  been  Clegg, the is  case quite  into  of  of  Fox,  thesis, of  have  relied  themselves these I  do  the  a great  gain  the  of  or  im-  not  dis-  unionism,  These  topics  H.  A.  particularly  by F r a n k M a c h i n . to  most  their  Roy G r e g o r y ,  a n d more  sought  to  the  I have  in mining.  some  My  in  purpose  insights  situation  O n l y when t h e y  I refer  was  Despite  in politics  Arnot,  period  Yorkshire  struggles,  miners,  of  suit  the  the  p o l i t i c a l and  coalpurposes  unionizing  coalminers. the  qualitative  aspects  upon d e s c r i p t i o n s  and upon those  covered  P.  I have  heavily  illustrative  period  R.  families.  and contemporary this  labour  posi-  constituent  Britain.  l i v i n g and w o r k i n g  descriptions  have t o  powerful  coalminers  To s t r e n g t h e n I  and the  Great  Yorkshire  personal  activities  coalfields,  and A , , F . Thompson,  the  During the  coalfield  most  their  foremost  Yorkshire  of  w i t h by  known f o r  their  unionism.  the  of  been  and f o r  industrial relations  and t h e i r  this  was  the  different.  the  miners  role  of  a l l  history  dealt  A.  of  Federation  cussed  have  always  trade  "new u n i o n i s m , " t h e  strongly  the  have  political activities  i n the  the  coalminers  do n o t extent  of  from the  the  coalminers  from s o c i a l  investigators.  lose  their  let  observers material  i n my s t u d y ,  any  the  speak is  words for  taken  but  of  it  of  Value  the  is  outside  used  or  So  that  meaning,  coalminers  themselves. from  study,  Some the  o n l y when  of  time it  can  V  throw l i g h t  on the p e r i o d under c o n s i d e r a t i o n , and  f o r e of s p e c i a l i n t e r e s t or s i g n i f i c a n c e .  i s there-  Similarly material  i s drawn from a l l c o a l f i e l d s t o p r o v i d e a more complete background i n which the experiences of the Y o r k s h i r e c o a l f i e l d can be p l a c e d . F i n a l l y , the standard of l i v i n g of any  working-  c l a s s o c c u p a t i o n a l or s o c i a l group can only be s t u d i e d i n comparison w i t h the standards experienced by other c l a s s groups.  Consequently,  throughout  working-  the t h e s i s , I have  t r i e d t o i n c o r p o r a t e m a t e r i a l from other o c c u p a t i o n a l groups t o p r o v i d e a c o n t r a s t f o r the c o a l m i n e r s • e x p e r i e n c e s .  vi TABLE OF CONTENTS  T i t l e Page  i  Abstract  i i  Preface  iv  L i s t of Tables  vi 1  I  Introduction  II  The Standard of L i f e  17  III  Marriage, F e r t i l i t y , and Household Size  68  IV  Wives and Daughters  109  V  The Woman i n her S o c i a l and Domestic Role ....  135  VI  The Coalminer -- His Work  173  VII  The Coalminer -- His S o c i a l L i f e  219  v  VIII Conclusion  25^  Bibliography  262  vii LIST OF TABLES CHAPTER I TABLE I  To show the decennial increase i n the numbers of coalminers i n England and Wales, 1861 1911.  TABLE I I  To show the decennial increase i n the numbers of coalminers i n the West Riding of Y o r k s h i r e , 1881 - 1911.  TABLE I I I  To show the output of c o a l i n m i l l i o n s of tons i n Y o r k s h i r e , 1880 - 1913.  TABLE IV  To show the growth of population i n a sample of South Yorkshire c o l l i e r y towns, 1881 1911.  TABLE V  To show the b i r t h places of a sample of males enumerated i n Y o r k s h i r e , 1891.  TABLE VI  „To show the occupational concentration of coalminers i n a sample of Urban D i s t r i c t s i n South Y o r k s h i r e , 1901 - 11.  CHAPTER I I TABLE I  To show the numbers of f a m i l i e s and numbers of houses a v a i l a b l e i n a sample of West R i d i n g c o a l towns, 1891 and 1901.  TABLE I I  To show the b i r t h , death and i n f a n t death r a t e s f o r C a s t l e f o r d , 1902 - 1906.  TABLE I I I  To show the b i r t h , death and i n f a n t death r a t e s f o r Normanton i n 1906,  TABLE IV  To show the numbers of p a t i e n t s i n c e r t a i n I s o l a t i o n H o s p i t a l s i n the Yorkshire c o l l i e r y areas, 1911.  TABLE V  To show the average d a i l y wages of c o a l hewers and labourers by r e g i o n , 1888 and 191^.  TABLE VI  To show the average weekly r a t e s (net) of various grades of coalminers i n West and South Y o r k s h i r e , 1886.  TABLE V I I  To show the average d a i l y earnings of various grades of coalminers i n West and South Yorks h i r e , 191^.  viii TABLE V I I I To compare the t r u e weekly wage r a t e s i n f i v e major i n d u s t r i e s , 1886 and 1913. TABLE IX  To compare the average weekly earnings of male a d u l t workers i n v a r i o u s i n d u s t r i e s , 1913.  TABLE X  To show the number of E n g l i s h mining f a m i l i e s out of a sample of 124 who consumed q u a n t i t i e s of the f o l l o w i n g commodities i n 1890.  TABLE XI  To show the number of E n g l i s h mining f a m i l i e s from a sample of 124 who i n c u r r e d expenses f o r c e r t a i n non-food items, I890.  CHAPTER I I I TABLE I  To show the average ages a t marriage of bachel o r s and s p i n s t e r s i n o c c u p a t i o n a l groups, 1884 - 1885.  TABLE I I  To show the average age of the wife a t marriage, i n marriages of v a r y i n g d u r a t i o n and s o c i a l c l a s s , 1911.  TABLE I I I To show the c o n j u g a l status, of men and women i n three sample c o a l towns a t v a r i o u s ages i n 1891. TABLE IV  To show the t o t a l b i r t h s p e r 1,000 p o p u l a t i o n i n England and Wales, 1871 t o 1911.  TABLE V  To show the b i r t h r a t e p e r 1,000 i n the c o a l mining c o u n t i e s and England and Wales i n 1881 and 1901.  TABLE VI  To show the annual percentage decreases i n c l a s s f e r t i l i t y r a t e s , s t a n d a r d i z e d f o r age of marriage,  <€: TABLE V I I  To show the f e r t i l i t y c l a s s e s i n 1911.  of the e i g h t  social  TABLE V I I I To show t h e s t a n d a r d i z e d t o t a l and e f f e c t i v e f e r t i l i t y of marriages of v a r i o u s dates i n each s o c i a l c l a s s , as a percentage of the c o r r e s p o n d i n g r a t e s f o r occupied persons of a l l c l a s s e s j o i n t l y , 1911. TABLE IX  To show m o r t a l i t y of l e g i t i m a t e c h i l d r e n under one y e a r of age, a c c o r d i n g t o the o c c u p a t i o n and s o c i a l c l a s s of the f a t h e r , 1911.  TABLE X  -IX To compare the i l l e g i t i m a c y r a t e of the c o a l areas w i t h the n a t i o n a l average. Crude r a t e s .  PAGE  93  TABLE XI  To show the d i s t r i b u t i o n of the r e t i r e d males i n c e r t a i n occupations i n workhouses and asylums, England and Wales, 1911. 99  TABLE X I I  To show the percentage of aged paupers i n a sample of South Yorkshire c o a l towns, 1892.  100  To i l l u s t r a t e the age d i s t r i b u t i o n i n t a sample of mining towns, compared w i t h the r e s t of England and Wales.  111  TABLE I I  To show the number of females per 1,000 males i n England and Wales, 1861 t o 1911.  112  TABLE I I I  To show the population by sex of those c i v i l parishes i n the West R i d i n g whose expansion was due t o c o l l i e r y development, 1891 t o 1911  111*  To show the numbers of females a t various ages i n the f i v e sample Urban S a n i t a r y D i s t r i c t s , 1881 - 1901.  116  To show the numbers of males i n various age groups i n f i v e Urban S a n i t a r y D i s t r i c t ' s , 1881 - 1901  118  To t r a c e the progress of the 10 t o lk year age group i n 1891, t o 1901, i n four sample Urban S a n i t a r y D i s t r i c t s , from the Census Reports of those years.  120  CHAPTER IV TABLE I  TABLE IV  TABLE V  TABLE VI  TABLE V I I To t r a c e the progress of the 15 t o 19 years age group of 1881 t o 1901, i n f i v e Urban S a n i t a r y D i s t r i c t s from the Census Reports. Increase/ Decline i n brackets. 121 TABLE V I I I To show the p r o p o r t i o n per cent of men, boys, women and g i r l s employed i n various t r a d e s , 1886. TABLE IX  TABLE X  12^  To show the r a t i o of occupied females t o the t o t a l female population of a sample of South Yorkshire c o l l i e r y towns, 1901.  125  To show the p r i n c i p a l occupations pursued by women i n a sample of c o a l towns i n South Y o r k s h i r e , 1911.  126  X  PAGE  CHAPTER VI TABLE I TABLE I I  To of To of  show the numbers of coalminers at groups ages, 1891. show the numbers of coalminers a t groups ages f o r England and Wales, and Y o r k s h i r e ,  1911.  TABLE I I I To show the annual death r a t e s from a c c i d e n t s per 1,000 l i v i n g i n B r i t a i n , i n age groups. TABLE IV To show the p r i n c i p a l c o l l i e r y d i s a s t e r s i n B r i t a i n , 1856-1894. TABLE V To compare the m o r t a l i t y r a t e f o r coalminers w i t h the n a t i o n a l r a t e , 1908. TABLE VI To show the annual death r a t e s per 1,000 l i v i n g by ages, a t two periods. TABLE V I I To show the expectation of l i f e a t the age of 20 years i n c e r t a i n occupational groups, based on m o r t a l i t y f i g u r e s f o r 1900 t o 1902.  181  182 192 193 200 202 203  CHAPTER V I I TABLE I  TABLE I I  To compare prosecutions per 1,000 p o p u l a t i o n f o r drunkenness i n f i v e mining counties and a group of a g r i c u l t u r a l c o u n t i e s , f o r the year ending September 20th, 1864.  226  To compare the numbers of p r i s o n e r s from c e r t a i n occupational groups i n England and Wales i n 1901.  249  1 CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION  The history of the early development of the coal industry i n England i s d i f f i c u l t to trace, owing to the absence of records regarding the working of the mines and the men who wrought in them... To a certain extent the same might be said concerning the records r e l a t i n g to the s o c i a l l i f e of the working classes contained i n the press of our time. Although the workmen of today have attained a dist i n c t s o c i a l p o s i t i o n , have representatives i n the House of Commons, and trade unions, s o c i e t i e s , and powerful combinations, very l i t t l e beyond t h e i r public or p o l i t i c a l actions i s noted by the press of the country. An author writing a century hence on our s o c i a l history would f i n d but sparse notices of the manner of l i v i n g of the grimy t o i l e r s of the mine or workshop... he would have to search i n the remotest corners of l i t e r a t u r e to obtain even , a glimpse at the inner l i f e of a c o l l i e r . R.N. Boyd made t h i s comment i n 1892, and his words have largely held true.  Although much has been written about  the B r i t i s h coal industry and on the p o l i t i c a l and labour struggles i t generated, the paucity of personal records remains a problem f o r those who wish to explore the s o c i a l history of the miners. intractable.  Nevertheless, the problem i s not  Eye-witness accounts and autobiographies of  coalminers are available, as are Government reports and enq u i r i e s , census materials, and the observations of s o c i a l investigators.  It i s upon the basis of such sources that  2  t h i s thesis has been written. Many writers and observers have j u s t i f i a b l y described the coalminers as being a "race apart."  This judgement was  perhaps stimulated by the geographical i s o l a t i o n of the coalmining communities, f o r , as one observer noted, "miners mostly l i v e i n v i l l a g e s of t h e i r own, apart from the ordinary indus2  t r i a l l i f e of the country."  This i s o l a t i o n and physical  separation i n t e n s i f i e d f e e l i n g s of l o y a l t y among miners both to the community and to t h e i r occupational group.  "They  l i v e d . . . i n t i g h t l y - k n i t communities with a strong sense of solidarity.  In times of trouble they acted together, often  v i o l e n t l y . " ^•Not' unexpectedly, s p e c i a l attitudes emerged from t h i s physical and occupational i s o l a t i o n so that: Coal-miners have always been a class apart, with mentality and a s p i r a t i o n unlike those of the rest of the working class. This s p i r i t u a l i s o l a t i o n i s largely a r e f l e c t i o n of physical i s o l a t i o n . L i v i n g remote from the quick l i f e of the town, the c o l l i e r has developed speech and habits that e f f e c t i v e l y cut him off from his fellows, k A lack of occupational d i v e r s i t y contributed to the shared l i v i n g and working s i t u a t i o n which was so important to the maintenance of cohesion within the population of the coalmining communities: In communities l i k e these there was l i t t l e of the s o c i a l s t r a t i f i c a t i o n and variety of l i f e that i s usually found i n large i n d u s t r i a l conurbations. The t y p i c a l mining v i l l a g e was a dreary c o l l e c t i o n of box-like cottages, arranged i n monstrous rows, each i d e n t i c a l with the next. Almost everyone was related i n some degree to everyone else, and physic a l l y and psychologically these intensely close-knit s o c i e t i e s tended to be cut off from the rest of the world. 5  3  This study w i l l attempt t o demonstrate why the coalminers have been designated as an i s o l a t e d "race" and t o i d e n t i f y i n what ways t h e i r l i f e and work d i f f e r e d from that of other occupational groups.  The somewhat t r a d i t i o n a l and conserva-  t i v e a t t i t u d e s of the miners, which may be discerned i n many d i f f e r e n t f a c e t s of l i f e , supports the view that the c o a l mining communities tended t o be inward-looking almost t o the  point of being closed s o c i a l groups.  Examples and i l l u s -  t r a t i o n s w i l l be taken from d i f f e r e n t c o a l f i e l d s and from various sources t o add weight t o the t h e s i s .  I t must be  pointed out at t h i s stage, however, that there were many l o c a l v a r i a t i o n s and d i f f e r e n c e s i n l i v i n g and working s i t u a t i o n s between the d i f f e r e n t c o a l f i e l d s .  This t h e s i s cannot  attempt the mammoth task of i d e n t i f y i n g these l o c a l d i v e r gences.  Instead, common threads have been s e l e c t e d and some  g e n e r a l i z a t i o n s are advanced. Though examples w i l l be c i t e d from the major B r i t i s h c o a l f i e l d s , i n c l u d i n g the mining centres of Scotland, South Wales, the Midlands, Durham and Northumberland, the South Yorkshire c o a l f i e l d has been chosen f o r s p e c i f i c study. Development of the c o a l f i e l d s i n t h i s area received i t s greatest impetus i n the l a s t three decades of the nineteenth century and up u n t i l the F i r s t World War,  While much has  been w r i t t e n on the older c o a l f i e l d s of B r i t a i n , l i t t l e has been w r i t t e n about the mines of South Yorkshire which were developed l a t e r . the  My purpose i s t o e s t a b l i s h the o u t l i n e of  s o c i a l and working l i v e s of these miners, t o show what  bound them so c l o s e l y together, and t o i d e n t i f y the s p e c i a l  c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s and features which d i s t i n g u i s h e d them so dramat i c a l l y from other occupational groups, II The numbers of coalmining population expanded r a p i d l y throughout B r i t a i n i n the p e r i o d under study.  The f o l l o w i n g  f i g u r e s r e v e a l how q u i c k l y these numbers were i n c r e a s i n g f o r England and Wales alone, i l l u s t r a t i n g the scope and importance of the c o a l industry, TABLE I  To show the decennial increase i n the numbers of coalminers i n England and Wales, 1861 - 1911. ° 1861 1871 1881 1891 1901 1911 246,613 268,091 378,664 513,843 640,989 874,304  Miners i n coal Increase  1881-91 35.7  1891-01 24.7  1901-11 36.4  (Note: f i g u r e s f o r 1861 and 1871 include r e t i r e d coalminers.) Some of t h i s expansion was accounted f o r by the new developments t a k i n g place on the Yorkshire c o a l f i e l d .  The opening  up of new c o a l mines i n Yorkshire developed from west t o east, though c o a l p i t s had been i n operation i n c e r t a i n parts of Yorkshire throughout the eighteenth and e a r l y nineteenth centuries.  One of the most important of these e a r l y phases  of coalmining was located i n the Barnsley area from 1835 t o 1870.  However, the opening up of new c o l l i e r i e s and the  development of new communities a f t e r the e a r l y 1870's.  i n the Trans-Dearne area came  The most important seam was the  Barnsley Bed of both s o f t house and coking c o a l and hard  5  steam c o a l .  A c t i v i t y and population g r a v i t a t e d around t h i s  area a f t e r 1870,  I t was these newer developments which were  l a r g e l y responsible f o r the r a p i d increase i n output and mining population i n South Yorkshire f o r the next few decades: TABLE I I  To show the decennial increase i n the numbers of coalminers i n the West Riding of Y o r k s h i r e , 1881 1911. 7 1881 1891 1901 1911 Coal miners West Riding 55,680 75,958 94,110 136,399 Yorkshire 1881 - 91  Increase  1891 - 01  36.4  1901 - 11 43.5  23.9  The f i g u r e s f o r the increase in/the output of c o a l a l s o demonstrate the r a p i d development which was t a k i n g place i n Yorkshire during t h i s period.  These new  e x p l o i t a t i o n s were  so c r u c i a l to the c o a l industry as a whole that by 1900 Yorks h i r e and Nottinghamshire together dominated the B r i t i s h c o a l industry. TABLE I I I —  '  1880 17.5  To show the output of c o a l i n m i l l i o n s of tons r\ r\ ^\ —i /—\ -i —i O -  —  -  -  i  1885  1890  1895  1900  1905  1910  1913  18.5  22.3  22.8  28.2  29.9  38.3  43.7  I f we examine the population f i g u r e s f o r the f o l l o w i n g South Yorkshire coalmining communities, most of which are named by the census Reports as expanding s o l e l y because of c o l l i e r y development, then we can see t h i s r a p i d rate of expansion i n operation.  These p a r t i c u l a r communities are  of s p e c i a l i n t e r e s t since they are representative of those which t h i s study examines more c l o s e l y .  TABLE IV  Civil  6  To show t h e g r o w t h o f p o p u l a t i o n i n a sample o f S o u t h Y o r k s h i r e c o l l i e r y t o w n s . 1881 - 1911. 9  1881  Parish  Ackworth Bentley B o I t on- up on- De a r n e Castleford Conisbrough Crigglestone Crofton Cudworth Darfield Darton Denaby Featherstone G l a s s Houghton Grimethorpe Hemsworth Hoyland Nether Mexborough Normanton Purston J a g l i n Rovston Ryhill South E l m s a l l South K i r k b y Swinton Thurnscoe Wath-upon-Dearne Wombwell From t h i s  p o p u l a t i o n growth Castleford,  2,647 1,880  3,394 2,403  14,143  17,386 8,549  2,222  1,484  1,205  1,002 10,530 2,690  4,499  2,777 702 2,616  1.607  2,862 824  2,887 11,006 7,734 10,234  706  1.128  1,212 2.613  526  620  1,060  797  1,434  634  9.705 217 3,894 10,942  2.968 249 3,012 8,451  6,824 5,427 5,941  5,060 9,167  7,822  2,950 1,092  4,739 3,263  10,173 14,638  6,283 12,464  10;,>430 12,352 1,995  14,401  15,032 2,376  4.397  6.237  1,553  2,191  1,026 2,916 12.217  4,359 7,086  2,366  -nr6<;4 4,074  13,252  17,536  4,847  i t c a n be s e e n t h a t  took place  8,670 23,090 11,059 4,369 2,566  4,457 2,670  1,708 4.132 1,477  9.822 6,319 8,038  4,183 6,497  3,246 1,896 3.408 4,194  3,679  1,665  1911  3,828  3,416  2,960 1,044 1.631 3,247 1,049  table  1901  1891  i n Bentley,  .  7,331  the centres  of major  Bolton-upon-Dearne,  C o n i s b r o u g h , Cudworth, Denaby, F e a t h e r s t o n e ,  Hemsworth, Mexborough, R o y s t o n , Wath-upon-Dearne a n d Wombwell. These to  communities  sizeable  Crofton,  grew f r o m '.their r e l a t i v e l y modest b e g i n n i n g s  towns i n t h e s p a c e  Purston J a g l i n ,  of t h i r t y years.  R y h i l l , South E l m s a l l ,  Furthermore, South  and T h u r n s c o e were n o t h i n g more t h a n s m a l l v i l l a g e s but  had become s m a l l t o w n s h i p s by t h e end o f t h i s  The  p r o b l e m w h i c h must now be r a i s e d  of t h i s  population  increase.  owners d r a w i n g t h e i r  labour  i s that  i n 1881,  period.  of the o r i g i n  From where were t h e new force?  Kirkby  colliery  7 The f i r s t source of labour was of course the r e s i d e n t population i n the area of development.  In those  coalmining  areas where c o l l i e r y extensions were t a k i n g p l a c e , there would be a s m a l l , b a s i c mining population upon which t o b u i l d . However, i n areas of new development, the coal-owners would have t o depend f i r s t l y upon the r e s i d e n t a g r i c u l t u r a l population.  A great many of the coalmining population as a whole  had t h e i r roots i n a g r i c u l t u r e .  Originally their families  had been farm labourers, but the sons turned t o mining the land upon which t h e i r forebears had once worked.  Similarly  i n Y o r k s h i r e , i t i s safe t o assume that r e s i d e n t a g r i c u l t u r a l labourers l e f t t h e i r lowly paid farm work t o take up jobs i n the new c o l l i e r i e s i n t h e i r areas, which were o f f e r i n g i n c e n t i v e s of higher pay t o a t t r a c t t h e i r labour. Secondly, the f i g u r e s imply that the opening up of the South Y o r k s h i r e . c o a l f i e l d involved a major i n f l u x of immigrants and t h e i r f a m i l i e s —  miners from the o l d e r , stagnating or  d e t e r i o r a t i n g c o a l f i e l d s , those from poorly paid a g r i c u l t u r a l areas, and i n instances, workers from occupations comp l e t e l y divorced from coalmining.  The Census Reports i n d i -  cate that most of these immigrants d i d not t r a v e l very f a r . From 1871 t o 1891 when information on migration i s a v a i l a b l e , f  the m a j o r i t y of migrants t o Yorkshire came from the North Midland counties, L i n c o l n s h i r e , Lancashire and I r e l a n d .  1 0  Those from England therefore had, i n most instances, simply crossed the border from t h e i r native counties i n t o the mining  8  and i n d u s t r i a l d i s t r i c t s of Yorkshire,  The f o l l o w i n g t a b l e  shows the b i r t h places of a sample of males i n Yorkshire i n 1891, and i n d i c a t e s those areas from where most immigrants were drawn: To. showjthe b i r t h places of a sample of males enumerated i n Y o r k s h i r e , 1891. 11 B i r t h place  Numbers of males  Lancashire  33,670  Lincolnshire  31,647  Ireland  22,937  Durham  19,594  Derbyshire  17,675  Nottinghamshire  15,220  Staffordshire  14,880  Although these immigrants were enumerated f o r the whole of Y o r k s h i r e , and not s o l e l y the coalmining areas, i t can be assumed that many of them found t h e i r way t o the c o l l i e r y districts.  Those from L i n c o l n s h i r e represent perhaps those  a g r i c u l t u r a l workers who were seeking a b e t t e r l i v i n g i n the mining and manufacturing areas, while among those from Durham, Lancashire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and S t a f f o r d s h i r e would be found a number of miners who would be hoping t o f i n d b e t t e r working conditions i n the new c o l l i e r i e s than those they had l e f t behind.  There was but l i t t l e  influx  from the south because, " i t seems probable a l s o that southerners regarded the mining and manufacturing areas w i t h some  9  repugnance, p a r t i c u l a r l y the c o a l f i e l d s where demand f o r labour was greatest but patterns of work and l e i s u r e l e a s t 12  familiar."  Those migrants who d i d leave t h e i r homes and  employment however, f o r work i n the c o a l f i e l d s , were a t t r a c t e d by c e r t a i n t a n g i b l e inducements.  F i r s t l y , the wages paid  i n coalmining were higher than those which could be earned i n a g r i c u l t u r e or manufacturing  industry.  Low-rental  housing  was a v a i l a b l e and coalminers were allowed t o buy c o a l at concessionary r a t e s from the<pits.  F i n a l l y , there was an  increase i n mining l e g i s l a t i o n i n the l a t e r h a l f of the nineteenth century, and the improved working c o n d i t i o n s that r e s u l t e d c o n t i n u a l l y strengthened the a t t r a c t i o n s of c o a l mining. During t h i s same period there was a great migration of labour from the a g r i c u l t u r a l counties of western England i n t o the Glamorganshire c o a l f i e l d and here, B r i n l e y Thomas found that the greatest inducement t o migration was wages.  Infor-  mation and s t o r i e s of greater spending power f i l t e r e d back to prospective emigrants i n the a g r i c u l t u r a l areas from those who had l e f t before, and "the mere prospect of handling more 13  money was i n i t s e l f a l l u r i n g . "  y  The new c o l l i e r y communi-  t i e s had mixed populations, c o n s i s t i n g of the o r i g i n a l r e s i dents, immigrant miners from other f i e l d s , and those from other occupational groups.  However, a s s i m i l a t i o n of the new  migrants i n t o the community d i d occur and s t a b i l i t y  developed  so that i n time the new community assumed those features and outlooks c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the coalminers:  10 ... as new p i t s were opened they drew c o l l i e r s from elsewhere t o work them. I f you t a l k t o men on t h e i r way to work... you w i l l discover that they or t h e i r predecessors came from Wales, Durham or the S c o t t i s h border. In some cases they s t i l l maintain l i n k s with t h e i r home counties, but i n general they have been a s s i m i l a t e d i n t o the p i t community and as such form an enclave w i t h i n the R i d i n g w i t h i t s own t r a d i t i o n s and customs, i t s own forms of speech and phrase, and i t s own l o y a l t i e s , as i n mining regions everywhere. I t i s i n many ways a closed community w i t h a f i e r c e l y independent outlook, and i t s own p r i d e . The miners' leader Jack Lawson moved from Cumberland to Durham as a c h i l d i n 1891 and found that despite d i f f e r ences i n county backgrounds, marriage and time o b l i t e r a t e d these d i f f e r e n c e s and made the newcomers one people with the  o r i g i n a l residents.  The second generation from immigrant  parents regarded themselves as Durham people.  Soon the miners  became "dominated by a communal s p i r i t " which was f o s t e r e d by the f a c t that everyone had t o work and struggle together against the hardships and s t r e s s that were presented by l i f e in a c o l l i e r y village.  Lawson s a i d that s u f f e r i n g played a  great part i n b r i d g i n g d i f f e r e n c e s between people. the  Indeed,  common struggle t o forge a stable community out of these  r a p i d l y developing towns, w i t h those miserable c o n d i t i o n s i n c i d e n t a l t o the "boom" towns such as j e r r y - b u i l d i n g , overcrowding, neglect of s a n i t a r y f a c i l i t i e s and d i s e a s e , must have contributed towards the development  of cohesion  and what Lawson c a l l e d "the communal s p i r i t . " In h i s twentieth century survey of t h i s phenomenon i n Canada, the s o c i o l o g i s t Rex Lucas found that new s i n g l e industry communities took just f i f t e e n years f o r s t a b i l i t y  11  and maturity t o develop.  During t h i s p e r i o d , the c h i l d r e n  of immigrants had i n t e r m a r r i e d and e s t a b l i s h e d t h e i r own famil i e s t o the extent that the new community was regarded as being "home." ^  Despite the i n f l u x of v a r i e d populations  t h e r e f o r e , the coalmining communities q u i c k l y assumed c e r t a i n c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , and i t i s these f e a t u r e s that the t h e s i s w i l l i d e n t i f y and examine. The development of these common c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s was  faci-  l i t a t e d by the f a c t that the coalmining communities were dominated by the coalmine, as the working p o p u l a t i o n as a whole depended i n some way upon c o a l .  I f a man was not d i r e c t l y  employed by the c o l l i e r y , then he was probably involved i n a trade which owed i t s existence t o the mine, such as the s e r v i c e t r a d e s , b u i l d i n g , t r a n s p o r t , or s i d e - i n d u s t r i e s such as glass or brick-making.  On the whole, whether the town  had these mixed i n d u s t r i e s or not, the mine exerted a powerf u l i n f l u e n c e over the whole population and i n times of d i s t r e s s such as s t r i k e s , lock-outs or slump, everyone was a f f e c ted t o a c e r t a i n degree.  The p o p u l a t i o n of a c o l l i e r y town  therefore shared s i m i l a r i n t e r e s t s .  In a s i n g l e - i n d u s t r y  c o l l i e r y town t h i s phenomenon was p a r t i c u l a r l y strong f o r : In a mining v i l l a g e i n those days there was nothing else except the p i t , A p i t was b u i l t t o l a s t perhaps a hundred years and the whole community was b u i l t up around i t . The miners' houses were b u i l t near the p i t and there was very l i t t l e e l s e i n the v i l l a g e except the post o f f i c e , a few shops, the miners' h a l l and so on, and the whole community had i d e n t i c a l i n t e r e s t s , a l l l i n k e d w i t h the c o a l which gave us our l i v e l i h o o d . 17  12  In Scotland, the French t r a v e l l e r and observer Paul de Rousiers found an i n d i s s o l u b l e union between the mine and the miner.  "He i s , i n f a c t , as much bound t o the s u b s o i l  as the s e r f of the Middle Ages was bound to the s o i l , and i s perhaps more e x c l u s i v e l y a miner than the s e r f was a labourer.  Consequently h i s i s p e c i a l i z e d character becomes -I o  very h i g h l y marked."  This union was strengthened by physi-  cal isolation for: Thus i s o l a t e d , thus penned up i n h i s mining v i l l a g e , the c o l l i e r has fewer opportunities than most other workers of q u i t t i n g the trade which he entered i n accordance w i t h the f a m i l y t r a d i t i o n , and i n which he i s tempted by habit t o remain. Here, then, i s a numerous population, compact and i n e r t , depending on the c o l l i e r y f o r i t s means of existence. 19 I f we examine a sample of coalmining communities i n South Y o r k s h i r e , then we can see t h i s occupational concent r a t i o n at work.  Most of the mining population l i v e d i n  small p i t v i l l a g e s which d i d not merit the status of an urban d i s t r i c t .  Thus we do not have the employment f i g u r e s  f o r these communities i n the Census Reports.  However, we  may assume that there was even l e s s occupational d i v e r s i t y i n these hamlets than i n the b u i l t - u p urban d i s t r i c t s c i t e d below.  13 TABLE VI To show the occupational concentration of coalminers i n a sample of urban D i s t r i c t s i n South Y o r k s h i r e . 1901 and 1911. 20 Total employed Coalminers  District  Other major employments  1) 1901 Featherstone Hoyland Nether Stanley Wombwell Worsborouerh 2) 1911 Bolton-uponDearne Darfield Featherstone  4,179 4,291 3,911 4,459 3.477  3,040 2,861 2,297 3,065 2,259  Building. Building. Building. Conveyance, b u i l d i n g . Engineering.  2,911 1,876 5,001  2,183 1,505 3,790  Hoyland Nether Royston Wath-uponDearne  5,116 2,244  3,569 1,619  Building. Food, l o d g i n g , pubs. B u i l d i n g , food, l o d g i n g , pubs. B u i l d i n g , food, lodging. Coal products, b u i l d i n g .  3,958  2,355  Wombwell  5,805  4,121  Railways, b u i l d i n g , chemicals. Railways, b u i l d i n g , g l a s s , food, lodgings.  In a l l of these towns, coalmining was the predominant industry, employing over f i f t y per cent of occupied males over t e n years of age. Other i n d u s t r i e s i n the towns were i n some way r e l a t e d t o coalmining and the f o l l o w i n g indust r i e s were those most f r e q u e n t l y mentioned i n the Census Reports as employing men ranging i n the lower hundreds: b u i l d i n g ) a g r i c u l t u r e ; food} drink; tobacco; lodging; r a i l w a y s ; coal products; glass and china; and general labouring.  This occupational concentration must be kept  i n mind throughout the t h e s i s .  14 III In i d e n t i f y i n g the features common t o coalmining communities, and i n attempting t o i s o l a t e the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s which set the coalminers apart from other occupational groups, the f o l l o w i n g subjects have been s e l e c t e d f o r c o n s i d e r a t i o n . F i r s t l y , we w i l l look a t the community as a whole and examine the standard of l i f e i n the c o l l i e r y towns.  The common l i v i n g  experience of the coalmining population served t o strengthen s o c i a l bonds.  Then the f a m i l y u n i t , marriage and f e r t i l i t y  w i l l be examined.  C e r t a i n features d i s t i n c t i v e of the c o a l -  miners emerge from a study of these questions.  A tradition  of coalmining became f i r m l y entrenched w i t h i n the f a m i l y . In time, a town produced i t s own s e l f - r e p l e n i s h i n g labour force from i t s myriad of mining f a m i l i e s . T h i r d l y , a study of women i n the mining communities reveals that there were few employment o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r them.  From t h i s f a c t , we may make c e r t a i n inferences about  the home l i f e of the miners, and attempt t o assess the woman's q u a l i t y as a housekeeper and mother.  F i n a l l y , a f t e r making  a c l o s e study of the woman, a s i m i l a r study w i l l be made of the man both i n h i s working l i f e and i n h i s s o c i a l r o l e . The shared working s i t u a t i o n of the men had a strong e f f e c t on s o c i a l l i f e and drew the community c l o s e r together. We have already noted that the miners were i s o l a t e d i n a geographical sense.  But by examining the above features  of the coalminers' l i v e s , we can see that there were not only geographical b a r r i e r s between them and other occupational  15  groups, but a l s o deep d i f f e r e n c e s i n c u l t u r e , a t t i t u d e s , l i v i n g and working experiences and i n the degree of cohesion among them.  The p i c t u r e that i s drawn i n the f o l l o w i n g pages  should pinpoint the s o c i a l reasons f o r these strong bonds of s o l i d a r i t y , and should go some way i n e x p l a i n i n g why  Roy  Gregory was able t o w r i t e of the coalminers t h a t , "miners the world over have much i n common w i t h each other and always have had.  The nature of t h e i r work, t h e i r p a t t e r n of l i f e ,  and the type of community w i t h i n which they l i v e bind them together, and a t the same time set them somewhat apart from 21  the r e s t of the i n d u s t r i a l working c l a s s . "  FOOTNOTES TO CHAPTER I 1  R.N.  2  Coal and Power. The Report of an Enquiry Presided over by the Rt. Hon. D..Lloyd George, (London, 1924), p. 8.  3  R. C h a l l i n o r and B, R i p l e y ,  4  From T.S. Ashton, "The Coalminers of the Eighteenth Century," Economic H i s t o r y , (January 1928), c i t e d i n K.G.J.C. Knowles, S t r i k e s — A Study i n I n d u s t r i a l C o n f l i c t . 1911 - 47 (Oxford, 1 9 5 2 ) , p . 164.  5  Boyd,  Coal P i t s and Pitmen  (London, 1968),  R. Gregory,  1914  p..44.  (London, 1892), pp.  The Miners.;''' A s s o c i a t i o n  The Miners and B r i t i s h P o l i t i c s , 1906 -  (Oxford, 1968),  pT^  6  From The Census Report f o r England and Wales. 1901? General Report. B.P.P* 1904-, C V I I I , and, The Census Report f o r England and Wales. 1911: General Report, B.P.?. 1917 - 18, XXXV, Table XXXIX, p. 118.  7  I b i d . , 1901, General Report, p. 106, and I b i d . , Census of 1911. V o l . X, B.P.P. 1913, LXXVIII.  8  B.R. M i t c h e l l and P. Deane, A b s t r a c t of B r i t i s h H i s t o r i c a l S t a t i s t i c s (Cambridge, 1971), pp. 115 - 116. B.P.P. -  B r i t i s h Parliamentary Papers  1-2.  16 9  Table compiled from: Census Report f o r England and Wales. 1891: Summary Tables. V o l . I I . B.P.P. lB"93 - 94, CV, Table 2, p..876? Census Report f o r England and Wales. 1901t Index t o Place Names, B.P.P. 1904. CVIII, and; Census Report f o r England and Wales, 1911: Index t o Place Names. B.P.P. 1912 - 13, CXII, p.593.  10  See, Census Report f o r England and Wales, 1871: General Report. Appendices, B.P.P. 1873. LXXI, P t . I I . Table 91, PP. 74 - 75: Census Report f o r England and Wales. 1881: County Tables. Y o r k s h i r e , B.P.P. 1883, LXXX, Table 11, p. 416; and, Census Report f o r England and Wales. 1891: County Tables. Y o r k s h i r e , B.P.P. 1893 - 94, CVI, Table 8, p. 442.  II  11'  I b i d . , Census f o r 1891.  12  E.H. Hunt, Regional Wage V a r i a t i o n s i n B r i t a i n . 1850 - 1914 (Oxford, 1973), P. 283. B. Thomas, " T h e Migration of Labour i n t o the Glamorganshire C o a l f i e l d (1861 - 1911)," Economica, (November, 1930), V o l . 10, p. 291.  13  P o r t r a i t of Yorkshire (London. 1965), p.189.  14  H.J..Scott,  15  See J . Lawson,  16  See R. Lucas, Minetown. M i l l t o v m . Railtown. L i f e i n Canadian Communities of Single Industry (Toronto, 1971).  17  A. Horner,  18  Paul de Rousiers, The Labour Question i n B r i t a i n (London, I896), p. 134.  19  Ibid..  20  Table compiled from: Census Report f o r England and Wales. 1901: County Tables. Y o r k s h i r e , B.P.P. 1902, CXXI, Table 35 (A), p. 258? and, Census Report f o r England and Wales, 1911: V o l . I . A d m i n i s t r a t i v e Areas. Yorkshire, B.P.P. 1912 - 13, CXI, Table 15 (A), p. 418.  21  R. Gregory, Op. C i t . . p. 53.  A Man's L i f e  I n c o r r i g i b l e Rebel  (London, 1932), p. 198.  (London, i960), pp. 96-97.  p. 134  17  CHAPTER I I THE STANDARD OF LIFE In an examination of the standard of l i f e i n coalmining communities, c e r t a i n controversies  become apparent.  There  are v a r y i n g opinions and observations which provide evidence to support both o p t i m i s t i c and p e s s i m i s t i c views of the l e v e l of comfort i n the c o a l towns, but a t the same time there are some features which can be pointed t o as being common t o the coalmining towns.  By examining housing, overcrowding, disease,  n u t r i t i o n and the l e v e l of wages, a p i c t u r e of l i f e i s presented which i n d i c a t e s that the coalminers experienced s i m i l a r l i v i n g conditions.  Both the working and l i v i n g s i t u a t i o n s  helped t o mould the miners and t h e i r f a m i l i e s i n t o a t i g h t l y k n i t s o c i a l group, and t o produce c e r t a i n common a t t i t u d e s i n the miners.  I The f i r s t v i s i b l e f a c t o r which l i m i t e d the r e s i d e n t s of the coalmining communities t o a shared l i v i n g experience was the d w e l l i n g which encompassed the household group. Housing i n the c o a l towns was l a r g e l y the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of the c o l l i e r y companies, and although standards v a r i e d from town t o town acoording t o the a t t i t u d e and wealth of the mineowner, each i n d i v i d u a l c o l l i e r y company provided i d e n t i c a l housing f o r i t s own miners.  This u n i f o r m i t y ,  vividly  captured i n the f o l l o w i n g d e s c r i p t i o n of a South Wales Community, r e i n f o r c e d the bonds of cohesion w i t h i n the mining  18 town or v i l l a g e : Everywhere there are the same long rows of drab, s t o n e - b u i l t houses, s l a t e - r o o f e d , b u i l t s t r a i g h t on to the pavement so as t o save space, each i d e n t i c a l the one w i t h the other — so that they look as i f they had been manufactured from some common mixture i n a g i g a n t i c machine whence they had emerged i n an endless stream, been cut o f f i n t o the lengths r e q u i r e d , and f l u n g down c a s u a l l y t o s t i c k where, and as best, they might. 1 Some of the worst examples of c o l l i e r y housing e x i s t e d , as might be expected, i n the older c o a l f i e l d s of Scotland and the North East.  Rows of one-room hovels with bare earth  f l o o r s and no foundations, b u i l t i n the eighteenth century, survived u n t i l the I860 s i n the North East, and even l a t e r ,  i n Scotland.  As i n most p i t v i l l a g e s i n the nineteenth  century, water was normally provided by communal stand-pipes i n the s t r e e t , while outside earth c l o s e t s or p r i v i e s were shared by s e v e r a l f a m i l i e s .  Often, open sewers and drains  ran between the rows of cottages.  In some instances, a  second storey was added t o the o r i g i n a l c o n s t r u c t i o n and a cold water tap i n s t a l l e d i n s i d e a pantry t o the r e a r of the dwelling.  I n t h i s converted s t a t e , some of these cottages  survived i n t o the twentieth century. In 1924, the r e p o r t of a L i b e r a l Party enquiry i n t o the state of the c o a l i n d u s t r y was published.  I n h i s survey of  housing c o n d i t i o n s , the i n v e s t i g a t o r R.A. Scott-James confirmed that the worst types of coalminers' housing i n Scotland, Durham and Northumberland.  occurred  In Lanarkshire he  found that out of a t o t a l of 321,4-71 houses, 61,202 had just  19 one room and 155,285 had two rooms. i n long rows.  These houses were b u i l t  Upon those i n Rosehall, Lanarkshire, he observed  t h a t , " i n each of these s i n g l e rooms l i v e s a miner's f a m i l y . There i s no pantry.  The c o a l i s kept under the bed.  Water  has t o be obtained from a standpipe outside, used by a number of houses.  Conspicuously huddled together i n the yards are  2 f i l t h y huts f o r s a n i t a r y purposes,"  Of Consett he wrote,  "Here I saw houses w i t h a s i n g l e lower room and an upper room approached by a ladder. by a man,  One that I entered was  inhabited  h i s w i f e , and s i x c h i l d r e n , of whom the e l d e s t  were g i r l s of 21 and 23, eighteen."  and another was a boy n e a r l y  J  The ex-trade union leader Abe Moffat had l i v e d i n a cottage of t h i s type i n Scotland during h i s boyhood at the t u r n of the century.  His home had o r i g i n a l l y been b u i l t f o r  _ 50 at the end of the eighteenth century, and was a row of i d e n t i c a l cottages.  one of  There was no bathroom save f o r  a shared earth l a v a t o r y outside.  There was no gas or e l e c -  t r i c i t y and l i g h t i n g was provided by p a r a f f i n o i l . S t r e e t l i g h t i n g was not provided u n t i l 1906  when the miners f u r n -  ished t h e i r own from the p r o f i t s of t h e i r cooperative p u b l i c house.  Drainage was by means of an open, surface  where the c h i l d r e n f r e q u e n t l y played.  channel  The p r i v i e s and  ash-  p i t s were often not cleared f o r weeks at a time by the scavengers,  so that conditions i n the summer months were  p a r t i c u l a r l y bad when, as might be expected, disease  was  20 rampant.  He l a i d the blame f o r these poor l i v i n g conditions 4 upon the coalowners. More comfortable  l i v i n g conditions were t o be found  i n the subsequent rows of terraced housing which were b u i l t i n the c o l l i e r y towns throughout the nineteenth and e a r l y twentieth centuries. Though a e s t h e t i c a l l y depressing, the terraced house d i d provide more space and b e t t e r f a c i l i t i e s than the s u r v i v i n g s i n g l e storey cottages.  Portland Row i n  S e l s t o n , Nottinghamshire was a row of terraced housing which was t y p i c a l of many of the c o a l f i e l d s . ^  I t was b u i l t i n  1823 but survived w e l l i n t o the twentieth century.  I t was  comprised of 47 b r i c k houses with outside c o a l houses and earth l a v a t o r i e s . They were the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c "two-up, two-down" houses, with a s k u l l e r y or back k i t c h e n , a l i v i n g room and a pantry under the s t a i r s .  U p s t a i r s , there were  two bedrooms, with a f i r e p l a c e i n one of them.  Facilities  w i t h i n the house included a cold water tap and sink i n the s k u l l e r y , a c o a l - f i r e d copper f o r b o i l i n g c l o t h e s , and a black leaded cooking range which became a standard item i n the miner's home i n the second h a l f of the nineteenth century.  I t had a b o i l e r f o r hot water, an open f i r e grate  and an oven.  With r e g u l a r concessions  of c o a l from the  employing p i t , the mining f a m i l y was i n an advantageous p o s i t i o n both f o r cooking and heating f a c i l i t i e s when compared t o other working-class  f a m i l i e s , f o r whom the p r o v i -  s i o n of c o a l was an expensive n e c e s s i t y . R. A. Scott-James concluded i n the 1924 L i b e r a l Party i n v e s t i g a t i o n that the most s u p e r i o r miners' dwellings  21  constructed before the F i r s t World War were t o be found i n those areas of most recent c o l l i e r y development, i n Derbyshire and Yorkshire.  specifically  However, although these houses  compared favourably w i t h what he had seen i n the North East and Scotland, he was not e n t i r e l y s a t i s f i e d w i t h the e f f o r t s of the c o l l i e r y developers.  A shortage of housing l e d t o  general overcrowding i n these areas, where populations were seen t o double i n a matter of t e n years.  Furthermore,  with a population expansion on t h i s s c a l e , s p e c u l a t i v e and " j e r r y " b u i l d i n g ' were a l l too common. The extension of an o l d mine or the opening up of a new one, which was occurring i n the Y o r k s h i r e , Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire c o a l f i e l d s a t the end of the nineteenth century, often l e d t o the p r o v i s i o n of a b e t t e r type of miners' housing, s e r v i c e s and ameneties i n order t o a t t r a c t labour from other c o a l f i e l d s .  On the other hand, the h i s t o -  r i a n of B r i t i s h town planning, W. Ashworth, claims that i n instances t h i s l e d t o no improvements a t a l l , or t o a worse7  ning of e x i s t i n g c o n d i t i o n s . ' In r u r a l or semi-rural areas, the mining companies had t o set up a l l basic u t i l i t i e s such as water-supply and waste-disposal, and t o provide ample accommodation f o r the miners and t h e i r f a m i l i e s .  Although  there were some attempts t o b u i l d healthy and comfortable l i v i n g p l a c e s , u s u a l l y the mining company d i d not have the c a p i t a l t o spare t o provide adequate f a c i l i t i e s .  In these  cases, the c o l l i e r y company l e f t the p r o v i s i o n of housing to a speculative b u i l d e r , laased the dwellings from him f o r  22  20 or 30 years and sub-let them t o i t s employees. economy were the major concern of the b u i l d e r s .  Speed and Consequently,  houses were often poor i n q u a l i t y . Furthermore, a c o l l i e r y company i n the e a r l y stages of developing a mine was often unable to provide f a c i l i t i e s such as shops, schools, churches and r e c r e a t i o n a l amenities, and development i n these spheres was l e f t to the coalminers themselves.  One observer went so f a r as t o say that housing i n  the coalmining d i s t r i c t s was " i n f e r i o r to the general run of working-class housing i n c o n s t r u c t i o n , standards of accommodation and i n s a n i t a r y arrangements.."  Some improvements  can be traced i n the l a t e r nineteenth century, but i n Derbys h i r e f o r example, some of those newer mining v i l l a g e s  "which  9  had been h a s t i l y b u i l t and c a r e l e s s l y planned" ' at t h i s time, were almost as bad as the older d e t e r i o r a t i n g mining v i l l a g e s . In the same county, as l a t e as 1936, S.J. B a r t l e of Chesterf i e l d was reported i n the Derbyshire Times as s t a t i n g before the Church Assembly t h a t , "The houses of many miners were nothing more than hovels.  He b e l i e v e d no c l a s s of workmen .  were herded together so much i n what should be l o v e l y country v i l l a g e s as the miners."  1 0  E.H. Phelps Brown noted that  these conditions were prevalent on a n a t i o n a l scale at the t u r n of the century, and that good housing estates were the +  . 1 1  exception. In 1947, however, F. Zweig conducted a survey of the p r e v a i l i n g l i v i n g and working conditions on the B r i t i s h c o a l f i e l d s , and he had a more o p t i m i s t i c view of the housing situation.  Although slums and hovels d i d e x i s t , e s p e c i a l l y  i n the older c o l l i e r y d i s t r i c t s , "modern and large c o l l i e r i e s nearly always have decent and spacious housing, with a good lay-out both of the c o l l i e r y and the v i l l a g e . " pre-1914 houses which were s t i l l i n existence i n the 194-O's 1 2  T h o s e  were of the four-room type with a k i t c h e n , l i v i n g room and two bedrooms, w i t h p r i v i e s , open a s h - p i t s , c o a l houses and stand-pipes i n the back yards.  Zweig pointed out that these  houses had been a great inducement i n the recruitment of labour f o r though t h e i r appearance was ugly, they were the height of comfort compared to the cottages of the farm labourers. During the period of c o l l i e r y development i n the l a t e nineteenth century, one common feature of coalmining tov/ns was back-to-back housing, whereby three w a l l s of a house were shared with the surrounding houses. b u i l t i n long rows.  These were normally  In 1910 a Government Report was  published  which commented upon the detrimental e f f e c t s of t h i s type of housing. ^ 1  The Report i n v e s t i g a t e d t h i r t e e n i n d u s t r i a l  towns i n the West R i d i n g of Yorkshire between 1898 and  1907,  and concluded that m o r t a l i t y r a t e s were g e n e r a l l y f i f t e e n to twenty per cent higher from a l l causes i n back-to-back housing, when compaired to housing with through v e n t i l a t i o n . With only one door and one set of windows i n t h i s cheaper type of house, the lack of v e n t i l a t i o n led to excessive r a t e s of chest diseases, such as b r o n c h i t i s and pneumonia, and those diseases "associated with d e f e c t i v e growth and 14  ment of the young c h i l d . "  develop-  24 Previous i n v e s t i g a t i o n s had shown s i m i l a r patterns of disease, and i n 1907,  Dr. Darra Mair studied the e f f e c t s of  back-to-hack housing i n the c o l l i e r y town of Whickham i n County Durham.  He discovered over a period of t e n years an  excess of m o r t a l i t y from a l l causes of 27 per cent and an excess of i n f a n t m o r t a l i t y of 50 per cent i n back-to-back houses, over those, houses w i t h through v e n t i l a t i o n . ^ •' In the 1910 Report, the Medical O f f i c e r of Health, Arthur Newsholme concluded that back-to-back houses, even i n Healthy surroundings, were decidedly l e s s healthy than houses with through v e n t i l a t i o n .  F u r t h e r , t h i s type of housing  e n t a i l e d a d d i t i o n a l inconveniences, f o r : The absence of a back-yard made i t necessary i n the older back-to-back houses to place the c l o s e t s or p r i v i e s and ashpits i n groups, e i t h e r on one side or at the end of a row, w i t h the r e s u l t that the c l o s e t and ashpit accommodation belonging t o a house may be very f a r removed from i t and, at the same time, often inadequate, while the p r o x i m i t y of the groups of c l o s e t s and a s h p i t s to some of the houses i s extremely objectionable. 1° George Orwell's impressions of back-to-back housing i n Yorkshire and other i n d u s t r i a l areas were a l s o unfavoura b l e , and he recorded from h i s observations of t h i s l i v i n g s i t u a t i o n t h a t , "A f i f t y yards' walk t o the l a v a t o r y or the dust-bin i s not e x a c t l y an inducement t o be c l e a n , and i t i s worth considering what i t i s l i k e f o r a c h i l d to grow up i n one of the back a l l e y s where i t s gaze i s bounded by a row of l a v a t o r i e s and a :wall." 17 A Board of Trade i n v e s t i g a t i o n of 1908  i n t o working-  c l a s s housing and r e t a i l p r i c e s provides a d e s c r i p t i o n of housing conditions i n two South Yorkshire c o l l i e r y towns--  25 Castleford and Normanton -- i n the period with which we are concerned.  Both of these towns had grown rapidly at the  turn of the century i n response to development by c o l l i e r y companies and the development of housing which accompanied t h i s population expansion may be taken as t y p i c a l of the growth experienced by the South Yorkshire c o l l i e r y communit i e s at t h i s time.  The following figures demonstrate how 18  the population had grown between 1861 and 1901. NORMANTON  CASTLEFORD Population 1861 - 3,876 1871 - 6,268 1881 - 1 0 , 5 3 0 1891 -14,143 1901 -17,386  Percentage Increase 67.9 34.3 22.9  Population 1861 563 1871 - 3,448 1881 - 8,038 1891 - 1 0 , 2 3 4 1901 -12,352  Percentage Increase 512.4 133.1 27.3 20.7  55 per cent of the population of Castleford l i v e d i n four-roomed houses i n 1906, with a kitchen, l i v i n g room and two bedrooms, which were rented at rates of between 4 s . 6 d . and 5 s . 6 d . per week.  Three-roomed houses were less common  and s l i g h t l y cheaper to rent at 3 s . 3 d . to 4 s , 6 d . per week. Newer four-roomed housing on the outskirts of the town, with separate yards, an indoor water supply, small skullery, watercloset and coal house rented at 5 s . 6 d . per week, but were usually occupied by c o l l i e r y foreman or better paid families. The Board of Trade investigators described Castleford i n the  following way: In the central part of the town houses are packed c l o s e l y , often i n narrow streets and courts, and show considerable v a r i a t i o n i n structure and design. Many of these houses are old, and the character of  25 cv the accommodation hardly s a t i s f i e s modern r e q u i r e ments. On the o u t s k i r t s of the town the general character of the working-class accommodation i s rather b e t t e r ; the houses are of more recent date, and are more c a r e f u l l y designed. The usual b u i l d i n g m a t e r i a l throughout the town i s d u l l red b r i c k , o c c a s i o n a l l y r e l i e v e d by stonework around doors and windows. Except i n the case of newer p r o p e r t i e s water i s seldom l a i d on i n the houses, but i s supplied by a tap i n an open yard at the back, shared by a row of cottages. Water c l o s e t s are infrequent, except i n the case of the newer houses which, i n some instances, are a l s o f i t t e d with baths. P r i v i e s and a s h p i t s , placed i n the yards and shared by s e v e r a l households, are the r u l e . Gas i s i n general use. 19 Back-to-back housing of two or three storeys was of "considerable importance" i n C a s t l e f o r d , being constructed i n rows of twelve.  Those with three storeys had one room  on each f l o o r , while the two s t o r i e d houses had one l i v i n g room on the ground f l o o r and two bedrooms above.  In 1901,  11.2 per cent of the population of C a s t l e f o r d l i v e d i n overcrowded conditions (of two or more persons t o a room), while the n a t i o n a l average of overcrowding was, i n urban d i s t r i c t s , 8,9 per cent. Conditions were s l i g h t l y b e t t e r i n Normanton where c o n s t r u c t i o n had almost kept apace with p o p u l a t i o n growth. Here, the percentage of overcrowding was 9.31 n d was only a  s l i g h t l y higher than the n a t i o n a l average.  The i n v e s t i -  gators found housing conditions t o be "generally good" with an abundance of garden a l l o t m e n t s , a fourteen acre park and r e c r e a t i o n grounds.  Some three-roomed back-to-back houses  had been p r o v i d e d with the usual inconvenience of an outside communal water-supply and s a n i t a r y f a c i l i t i e s . rented from tween 3s. 6d. and 4s.  6d. per week.  These  But the  most common type of d w e l l i n g , which housed almost f i f t y  26 per  cent  of the  population,  i n t o rows o f 12 week.  They  t o 24,  was  the  f o u r - r o o m e d house  c o s t i n g 5s.  and  Od.  t o 5s.  built  6d.per  had:  ... as a r u l e , (an) abundance o f a i r s p a c e a r o u n d them, owing t o t h e f a c t t h a t t h e r e i s a c o n s i d e r a b l e amount of l a n d n o t y e t b u i l t upon. They a r e b u i l t o f d u l l r e d b r i c k , a r e p l a i n f r o n t e d , and have sometimes a s m a l l f o r e c o u r t , and g e n e r a l l y ' a s p a c i o u s b a c k y a r d common t o t h e row. On t h e ground f l o o r t h e r e i s a p a r l o u r , i n t o which the s t r e e t d o o r opens, and a t t h e b a c k t h e k i t c h e n c o n t a i n i n g b o t h c o p p e r and s i n k . Between t h e f r o n t and b a c k rooms i s a c c e s s t o t h e c e l l a r , and t o t h e s t a i r s l e a d i n g t o t h e two bedrooms. A g a i n , Normanton had  a s u p e r i o r type  more h i g h l y p a i d , c o n s i s t i n g o f t h r e e yard  and  w a t e r c l o s e t , and  The  rents  t a k i n g the  and  average rent  Normanton i n 1906  then rents  the  Riding.  5?  week.  from  other  a l l observers  i n a row  childhood  i n Nottinghamshire  twentieth  century,  "When i t r a i n e d t h e  house  in  for Castleford 2  housing  groups.  i n these  which looked  towns o f t h e  regarded the  light.  For  e a r l y years  out .upon a row  a l l e y between t h e  two the  West  miners'  instance,  o f company h o u s e s  i n the  But  1  traditionally  occupational  textile  i n such a favourable  G.A.W. T o m l i n s o n l i v e d  and  e s p e c i a l l y when compared t o  neighbouring  However, n o t  high  respectively.  c o m m u n i t i e s were  favour,  i n the  surroundings  and  of Trade regarded the  communities w i t h conditions  per  average r e n t s  were 53  in colliery  Board  6d.  f o r a working-class  cheaper than those asked The  6s.  the  bedrooms,;a s e p a r a t e  f o r a l l t h e s e h o u s e s were n o t  a b a s e o f 100,  London a s  cost  o f home f o r  of of  in his the ashpits.  a s h - p i t s became a  bog  27 and  I was  not  summer t h e  allowed  t o go  s t e n c h from  out.  When i t was  hot  t h e a s h - p i t s w o u l d make me  i n the sick  and  22 I d i d n ' t want t o go In  1930's  the  the housing  out." George O r w e l l was  c o n d i t i o n s of t h e w o r k i n g - c l a s s  house i n M a p p l e w e l l , ley,  creation  a small coalmining v i l l a g e  cited near  this Barns-  c o a l o w n e r s were s l o w t o become i n v o l v e d i n t h e o f m o d e l towns.  i n s p e c t i o n and belong an  Improved h o u s i n g  ted  t o the post F i r s t  W o r l d War  i m p r o v e d t y p e were b u i l t  on t h e  shire ties  1919.  era.  Twelve thousand  u n d e r government and 6,460 o f t h e s e  expanding Y o r k s h i r e , Derbyshire  coalfields.  The  new  facilities.  i n t o t h e new  housing  The  planners  being  construc-  Nottinghamthe  space,  e s t a t e s t o a v o i d t h e crowded  o f pre-1914  housing.  homes  coal  ameni-  gardens  i n c o r p o r a t e d open  24 b l o c k " appearance  and  developments boasted  of bathrooms, hot water, e x t r a l i v i n g public  u n d e r government  f i n a n c e d w i t h t h e a i d o f government s u b s i d i e s  company s p o n s o r s h i p a f t e r  and  and  by  as one o f t h e p o o r e r e x a m p l e s : Two up, one down. L i v i n g room 14 f e e t by 12 f e e t . S i n k i n l i v i n g room. P l a s t e r c r a c k i n g and c o m i n g off walls. Gas l e a k i n g s l i g h t l y . The u p s t a i r s rooms e a c h t e n f e e t by e i g h t f e e t . F o u r beds ( f o r s i x p e r s o n s , a l l a d u l t ) , ... Room n e a r e s t s t a i r s has no d o o r and s t a i r s have no b a n n i s t e r , so t h a t when you s t e p out o f bed y o u r f o o t hangs i n v a c a n c y and you may f a l l t e n f e e t on t o s t o n e s . D r y r o t so bad t h a t one c a n see t h r o u g h t h e f l o o r i n t o t h e room b e l o w . . . E a r t h r o a d p a s t t h e s e c o t t a g e s i s l i k e a muchheap and s a i d t o be a l m o s t i m p a s s a b l e i n w i n t e r . Stone l a v a t o r i e s a t end o f g a r d e n s i n s e m i - r u i n o u s c o n d i t i o n . 23 The  of  equally appalled  spaces  "barrack-  28 T h e r e had b e e n the  F i r s t W o r l d War  two  major  king  Village  pany b u i l t  a whole new  A cooperative and  the Brodsworth Main colliery village  a set of p u b l i c  facilities b a t h s was  Markham.  1912, The  653  houses  Victoria  houses  a l o n g improved  fishing  cost 3d.  had been b u i l t .  County  Com-  l a k e and  lines. park  were p r o v i d e d , and t h e c o s t  and were l e t t o t h e m i n e r s a t 5s. By  sin-  Colliery  borne by the promoter  The  each  t h e Woodlands  b u i l t , and, a f t e r  s t o r e , workmen's c l u b ,  other public  scheme, A.B.  I n 190?,  success.  n e a r D o n c a s t e r was  p i t i n 1906  i t s new  i n Yorkshire before  t o s e t up model c o l l i e r y v i l l a g e s ,  experiencing considerable Colliery  attempts  History  _200  2  of the  each t o  t o 6s.  of  9d.  build  a week.  ^  of Y o r k s h i r e  o f 1912  noted  that: A p l e a s i n g f e a t u r e o f t h e modern c o l l i e r y p r o p r i e t o r i s the d e s i r e t o provide b e t t e r accomodation i n r e g a r d t o h o u s i n g t h a n has h i t h e r t o b e e n a t t e m p t e d . At D i n n i n g t o n , B r o d s w o r t h , B e n t l y and M a l t b y model v i l l a g e s a r e b e i n g e r e c t e d , and i n s t e a d o f t h e l o n g d e p r e s s i n g rows o f h o u s e s so commonly met w i t h i n t h e B a r n s l e y and W a k e f i e l d d i s t r i c t s , t h e m i n e r s ' houses a r e b e i n g b u i l t i n b l o c k s of e i g h t or t e n w i t h g a r d e n s and wide s t r e e t s . 26 However, i n h i s s u r v e y o f i n d u s t r i a l n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y , W. notable  efforts,  does  little  "the  majority  account  Ashworth  concluded that  " t h e p r o v i s i o n made f o r them  credit  t o the s o c i a l  despite  these  (the miners)  have no p l a c e  i n any  27  A study of housing c o n d i t i o n s view  i n the  o u t l o o k o f t h e t i m e , " and  of m i n i n g communities  of model v i l l a g e s . "  encompassing  villages  l e a d s f i n a l l y t o a grand  o f t h e community as a w h o l e .  One  markedly  29  common f e a t u r e of the mining communities p h y s i c a l appearance.  The observer was  was  their  immediate  s t r u c k by an a l l - e n v e l o -  p i n g image of drabness a f f o r d e d by an atmosphere  heavy w i t h  smoke where, "the p o l l u t i o n of the a i r i s such as t o reduce c l o t h e s , houses and s t r e e t s t o drab u n i f o r m i t y . " 28 dominant  p h y s i c a l f e a t u r e was  s u r f a c e of the c o l l i e r y . i n the town and,  The  the s p o i l or s l a g heap a t the  T h i s c o u l d be seen from any p o i n t  "to the observer the s p o i l heap i s the 29  p h y s i c a l symbol  of l i f e and work."  by the d e p r e s s i n g appearance  F. Zweig was  appalled  of the c o a l towns i n h i s survey  for: ... i n many i f not i n most p l a c e s the surroundings are marked by u g l y , b r u t a l and b l e a k i n d u s t r i a l i s m , as can be seen i n some v i l l a g e s i n South Y o r k s h i r e or i n North S t a f f o r d s h i r e , Durham, Northumberland or Lancashire. There are f r i g h t f u l landscapes dominated by the hideous grey s l a g - t i p s which look l i k e g i a n t d u s t - b i n s w i t h d i r t and f i l t h a l l round. With t h e i r agglomeration of rows of stumpy houses, wires and r u b b i s h widespread, ashes, mud and weeds, they make an awesome impression of s o u l l e s s p l a c e s d e s e r t e d by God. JO It  can be seen t h e r e f o r e , t h a t there are both favour-  able and dismal accounts of the c o l l i e r s ' housing and ronment.  envi-  The q u a l i t y of housing depended t o a great extent  on the a t t i t u d e s of the coalowners and t h e i r w i l l i n g n e s s t o lay  out c a p i t a l f o r the decent accommodation of the work  force.  But, housing g e n e r a l l y i n the c o l l i e r y towns might  be c o n s i d e r e d adequate when compared t o t h a t of other indust r i a l groups.  C e r t a i n l y , the miners' l e a d e r J , K e i r Hardie  experienced worse l i v i n g c o n d i t i o n s i n the Glasgow dock a r e a  30 where f i v e  f a m i l i e s JBhared  the  same w a t e r c l o s e t  in his  31 tenement home.  This type  J  f a v o u r a b l y w i t h the  house o f t h e  Brophy i n S t . Helens rooms and  hard  t o keep warm." ^  a similar  "was  i n the  five  the mining  of d w e l l i n g c o n t r a s t e d coalminers*  1880's.  so s o l i d l y and 32  tightly  p o p u l a t i o n o f a community was  native housing,  the  vista.  shared  l e a d e r John  H i s m i n e r ' s house built  But w h e t h e r h o u s i n g  e n v i r o n m e n t and  un-  was  had  i t was good  not  or poor,  bound t o g e t h e r  With l i t t l e  living situation  o r no  by  alter-  served  t o draw  the  p o p u l a t i o n t o g e t h e r u n d e r a s e t o f common e x p e c t a t i o n s ,  and  u n i f o r m i t y of  outlook.  Though s t a n d a r d s area,  one  i n mining Reports  constant  of housing  f e a t u r e p r e v a i l e d i n the  d i s t r i c t s --  of England  and  n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y and coalmining of  overcrowding.  Durham were by  Of t h e s e  o f more t h a n  d i s p l a y i n g the  and  two  In 1891,  11.23  Wales l i v e d  persons  per  f o l l o w i n g percentages  N o r t h u m b e r l a n d --  38.69;  of  Durham --  of  the  the rates  and  cent  of  i n overcrowded  t o a room.  The  three  most o v e r c r o w d e d c o u n t i e s were a l l c o a l m i n i n g a r e a s , showed t h e  Census  highest  c o u n t i e s , Northumberland  f a r the worst.  the p o p u l a t i o n of England conditions  second h a l f  up u n t i l t h e F i r s t W o r l d War, out a s  to  l i v i n g conditions  Throughout the  Wales d u r i n g t h e  counties stand  overcrowding.  might v e r y from a r e a  and  overcrowding: 34.03;  West R i d i n g  16,49, and  the  generally,  i t would appear t h a t the c o a l - b e a r i n g c o u n t i e s  are those  Census e n u m e r a t o r commented t h a t ,  --  where t h e  N o r t h u m b e r l a n d and  crowding of d w e l l i n g s Durham, i f t h e  i s most  "Speaking  severe.  f i g u r e s a r e t o be t r u s t e d ,  31  are f a r away the worst i n t h i s respect," 33 J J  Ten years l a t e r i n 1901, the percentages of overcrowding had f a l l e n s l i g h t l y i n these counties, but were s t i l l high:  Northumberland -- 32.09;  Durham -- 24.48; West R i d i n g  -- 10.32 while i n c e r t a i n North East mining towns, the average numbers of persons per inhabited house were as f o l l o w s : Gateshead -- 8.01;  Newcastle --. 8.03;  South S h i e l d s -- 8.12;  34  and Sunderland -- 6.80.  J  The enumerators commented i n  t h i s instance t h a t : • Speaking g e n e r a l l y - - i t may be noted that i n those counties i n which Coal Mining i s a p r e v a i l i n g industry much overcrowding p r e v a i l e d i n 1901, f o r example, i n the Rural D i s t r i c t s of C h e s t e r - l e - S t r e e t , Lanchester and Easington, s i t u a t e d i n the County of Durham, the proportions of overcrowded persons t o t o t a l population were as high as 37» 38 and 39 per cent r e s p e c t i v e l y . 35 S i m i l a r l y i n 1911, t h i s p a t t e r n emerged, .'whereby i n some urban d i s t r i c t s of Northumberland and Durham overcrowding reached proportions of f o r t y per cent and i n some West R i d i n g towns exceeded twenty per cent.  In the r u r a l d i s t r i c t s  of the f i r s t two counties, the percentage of overcrowding was 37.6 while the next highest r u r a l proportions were i n Wakefield r u r a l d i s t r i c t (18.2 per cent) and Hemsworth, (16.2  per c e n t ) , both i n the West Riding.  The o v e r a l l  proportion per cent of the population l i v i n g i n the r a t i o of more than two persons t o a room was as f o l l o w s i n c e r t a i n areas i n 1911s England and Wales N'br thumb e r land Durham London West Riding  _^ 9.1 30.0 29.2 17.8 10.1  32 I n an nally But  o c c u p a t i o n a l group  so l a r g e ,  some d e g r e e  a housing shortage  where f a m i l i e s were  of overcrowding  and  M.  found two  in this  family  each. few  t o take place.  Hogg i n t h e i r  living  he  expected.  57  of f a m i l i e s 1925,  l a t e as  A.L.  so  into  one  Bowley  o f S t a n l e y i n C o u n t y Durham, one  family  496  dwellings,  houses c o n t a i n i n g t h r e e  families  were u s u a l l y y o u n g m a r r i e d c o u p l e s  children.  shared the  As  town 4,106  d w e l l i n g s and  Sub-tenants  o r no  survey  colliery  might  l e d a l s o t o a s h a r i n g of houses,  t h a t a c e r t a i n amount o f " d o u b l i n g - u p " d w e l l i n g had  traditio-  T h e y n o r m a l l y r e n t e d one  bedroom  with and  room:  The whole a r r a n g e m e n t s a v o u r s more o f a g e n e r o u s s h a r i n g of unavoidably wretched c o n d i t i o n s than o f a n a t t e m p t t o make r e a s o n a b l e b a r g a i n s o f d e f i n i t e r e n t f o r d e f i n i t e accommodation. The c o n d i t i o n s a r e o f c o u r s e o f t e n t h e more b u r d e n some b e c a u s e men f r o m t h e same house a r e on d i f f e r e n t s h i f t s and t h i s c a u s e s much d o m e s t i c d i s t u r b a n c e . 38 1913»  After  w i t h more t h a n 79  per cent  living  areas one  of overcrowding  p e r s o n p e r room.  were c l a s s e d  Under t h i s  o f t h e p o p u l a t i o n o f S t a n l e y was  i n crowded c o n d i t i o n s i n  1925»  while  as  those  definition,  classified  26-|  per cent  as of 3<  the p o p u l a t i o n l i v e d But  this  i n the r a t i o  s i t u a t i o n was  not  In a f o l l o w - u p t o the L i b e r a l with housing conditions, investigation districts  o f two  limited  county.  t o a room. ^  t o the North East.  Party report  o f 1924  dealing  t h e D e r b y s h i r e T i m e s made i t s own  i n t o the housing s i t u a t i o n  of t h a t  persons  i n the  colliery  33 It  concluded  that:  Shocking overcrowding i s quite general. The f i r s t t h i n g t h a t s t r u c k our r e p r e s e n t a t i v e i n every p a r t o f t h e d i s t r i c t was t h e d i f f i c u l t y experienced, p a r t i c u l a r l y i n the poorer quarters, i n f i n d i n g a house w h i c h d i d n o t s h e l t e r a t l e a s t two f a m i l i e s u n d e r v e r y cramped c o n d i t i o n s . . . How some o f t h e p e o p l e w o u l d e x i s t were i t n o t t h a t t h e men a r e on d i f f e r e n t s h i f t s does n o t b e a r t h i n k i n g o f . ^ As i t i s , i n some c a s e s t h e y go t o bed i n r e l a y s . For Reports houses.  t h e West R i d i n g  colliery  i n d i c a t e a degree  towns a l s o , t h e C e n s u s  o f o v e r c r o w d i n g and s h a r i n g o f  In the f o l l o w i n g t a b l e , s t a t i s t i c s  which demonstrate t h e n e c e s s i t y  of sharing  South Y o r k s h i r e  coalmining  1891 a n d 1901.  I t c a n be s e e n t h a t t h e r e  than a v a i l a b l e housing. this  communities  are recorded houses  i n certain  i n t h e Census  years  were more f a m i l i e s  The most common t y p e  p e r i o d was t h e f o u r - r o o m e d t e r r a c e  TABLE I  Q  o f house i n  house.  To show t h e numbers o f f a m i l i e s a n d numbers o f h o u s e s a v a i l a b l e i n a sample t o w n s . 1891 a n d 1901. 41  C i v i l Parish or Township.  1) 1891  Ackworth Ardsley Castleford Normanton Royston Sharlston Stanley Tickhill Wombwell  Inhabited Houses  o f West R i d i n g  Families or Separate Occupiers  ~~~ZZT  Population  489 845 2,557 1,818 480  504 880 2,631 1,857. 491  2,780  2,847 444  1,987  2;', 047  15,576 1,588 10,942  2,349  2,375  12,352  374  405  432  2,647 4,494 14,143  10,234 2,613  2,256  2) 1901 Normanton Castleford Hemsworth Ryhill Hoyland Nether Wombwell Mexborough  17,386  1,152  3,369 1,174 319  2,405  2,441  12,464  2,570  13,252 10,430  3,3^3  297  2,541. 2,080  2,112  coal  6,283 1,553  34  Overcrowding i n South Yorkshire was described by George Orwell i n the 1930's i n h i s observations of housing i n Barnsley House i n Peel S t r e e t . Back-to-back, two up, two down and a l a r g e . c e l l a r . L i v i n g room ten f e e t square with copper and sink. The other downstairs room the same s i z e , probably intended as parlour but used as bedroom. Upstairs rooms the same s i z e as those below.... Distance t o l a v a t o r y 70 yards. Four beds i n house f o r eight people -- two o l d parents, two adult g i r l s (the eldest aged 2 7 ) , one young man and three c h i l d r e n . Parents have one bed, eldest son another, and remaining f i v e people share the other two. 4-2 Despite these c o n d i t i o n s , the wives of the coalminers had a r e p u t a t i o n f o r b a t t l i n g against circumstances i n order to improve t h e i r homes: Nothing so much astonishes the observing v i s i t o r who comes f r e s h t o the c o l l i e r y d i s t r i c t s of the north as the order and c l e a n l i n e s s , the t i d i n e s s and t a s t e with which the pitmen's wives, under very adverse circumstances, manage t h e i r housekeeping ... When i t i s remembered that there was but one room, which had to do duty as k i t c h e n , bedroom, s k u l l e r y and p a r l o u r , the marvel i s that there was e i t h e r the desire or the a b i l i t y t o evoke order and beauty out of such unpromising m a t e r i a l , ^3 Paul de Rousiers, who v i s i t e d the Lothian c o a l f i e l d i n the 1890*s found one two-roomed cottage i n which a f a m i l y of nine l i v e d .  But, "the most s u r p r i s i n g t h i n g i s that the  house i s clean and i n good order, i n s p i t e of the l i m i t e d space and the number of c h i l d r e n , . . my v i s i t s were sometimes unexpected, and never r e s u l t e d i n any of those s u r p r i s e s which are so t r y i n g t o housewives who are more jealous of 44  good r e p u t a t i o n than deserving of i t . " One e f f e c t of overcrowding which miners' wives could not s u c c e s s f u l l y overcome was disease.  The spread of disease  was f a c i l i t a t e d under these cramped conditions i n which the i s o l a t i o n of i n f e c t e d persons was not p o s s i b l e .  Conditions  35  i n which, t o c i t e one example, fourteen people were found to sleep i n one room,  y  were hardly conducive t o the con-  tainment of i n f e c t i o u s diseases such as smallpox, measles, whooping cough, s c a r l e t f e v e r , d i p t h e r i a and e n t e r i c fever. On 5"th March,  I898,  the Derbyshire Times reported t h a t , "a  doctor who was c a l l e d t o attend a Clay Cross f a m i l y , found s i x c h i l d r e n i n one bed. The mother, anxious t o prevent the spread of i n f e c t i o n , had placed three who were s u f f e r i n g from s c a r l a t i n a a t one end of the bed and three who had 46 typhoid fever at the other."  C e r t a i n l y , the spread of  t u b e r c u l o s i s was f o s t e r e d , i t has been claimed, by overcrowding.  " I t w i l l be borne i n mind that t u b e r c u l o s i s was  r i f e at the time the i n f e c t i o n .  (1901)  with no a n t i - b i o t i c s t o s t e r i l i z e  The considerable sharing of bedrooms, i f  not of beds, implied by t h i s overcrowding must have done 47 much t o f o s t e r the spread of i n f e c t i o n . " Death rates from i n f e c t i o u s diseases were f a r greater i n urban areas than i n r u r a l counties f o r "the herd condit i o n s of urban l i f e g r e a t l y f a c i l i t a t e the transmission of 48 i n f e c t i o u s disease."  A Local Government Board Report  i n t o P u b l i c Health i n 1909 a l s o concluded that though death rates from i n f e c t i o u s diseases were d e c l i n i n g at t h i s time, high r a t e s s t i l l p e r s i s t e d i n overcrowded areas, and crowding acted as a c a t a l y s t f o r disease.  Further, the highest  instances of i n f a n t m o r t a l i t y (of over 125 deaths per 1,000  36  b i r t h s ) occurred mining c o u n t i e s  i n those c e n t r e s  of overcrowding —  of Nottinghamshire, L a n c a s h i r e ,  Glamorgan-  s h i r e , Durham, S t a f f o r d s h i r e , the North and West 49 of Y o r k s h i r e , Warwickshire and Monmouthshire. p a t t e r n was  confirmed i n 1913  the  Ridings This  i n Newsholme's Second Report  t o the L o c a l Government Board, when the M e d i c a l of H e a l t h named these same c o u n t i e s and  Officer  i n c l u d i n g Northumber-  land, as d i s p l a y i n g the h i g h e s t r a t e s of i n f a n t m o r t a l i t y i n the country. I f we f o r d and  ^°  take a c l o s e r look at our model towns of C a s t l e -  Normanton, t h i s higher death r a t e can be seen i n  operation.  The  f o r these two  f o l l o w i n g t a b l e s show the v i t a l  communities d u r i n g our p e r i o d .  i s c l a s s e d as a s m a l l town, and  statistics  Castleford  i t s r a t e s are compared  with  the average f o r a l l s m a l l towns i n the 1908 Board of Trade survey. TABLE I I na+.P  Rate oer 1.000 Average of Castleford s m a l l towns  Birth  1902 1903 1905 1906  i n f a n t death r a t e s  1 Death Rate T5er 1.000 Castleford Average of s m a l l towns  47.8  27.3  19.7  15.3  36.9 38.9 37.5  27.5 26.9 26.5  18.0  15.6  41.2  1904  10  To show the b i r t h , death and f o r C a s t l e f o r d . 1902 - 1906.  27.4  16.1  14.6  16.9  14.4 14.5  14.9  years  1896 1905  38.3  17.0  ,  37 I n f a n t i l e Death r a t e per 1,000  Births  Date  Castleford  Average of small towns  1902 1903  153 183 183 172 152  135 135 154 132 138  185  -  1904 1905 1906  10 years 1896 -  1905  In the case of C a s t l e f o r d , the b i r t h r a t e s and i n f a n t death r a t e s are s i g n i f i c a n t l y above the average f o r a l l other small i n d u s t r i a l towns i n the Boards*  survey.  The o v e r a l l  death r a t e i s s l i g h t l y h i g h e r than average f o r C a s t l e f o r d , but the Report added t h a t , decennial  period  (I896 -  "the g e n e r a l death-rate i n the  1905)  does not d i f f e r m a t e r i a l l y 52  from t h a t p r e v a i l i n g i n the West R i d i n g t e x t i l e towns." TABLE I I I  f o r show Normanton 06.53 To the b i ritnh ,1 9death and i n f a n t death r a t e s  1906  Normanton  England and Wales  Death r a t e per 1,000  14.8  15.4  Infant deaths per 1,000 b i r t h s  135  133  B i r t h r a t e per 1,000 population  36  27  The M e d i c a l O f f i c e r of H e a l t h , from whom these f i g u r e s were taken, r e p o r t e d was  t h a t the s t a t e of h e a l t h i n Normanton  g e n e r a l l y good as i n d i c a t e d by the s l i g h t l y lower than  average death r a t e . l i a r pattern  However, as might be expected, the fami-  of a h i g h e r b i r t h r a t e and i n f a n t m o r t a l i t y  r a t e can be seen once more.  The l i n k between a h i g h e r than  38 average b i r t h r a t e and i s made below.  consequent high i n f a n t death r a t e  F u r t h e r causes of t h i s high p a t t e r n of i n -  f a n t i l e m o r t a l i t y must be drawn from the a c t u a l l i v i n g c o n d i t i o n s i n the mining communities. W r i t i n g g e n e r a l l y about the causes of i n f a n t m o r t a l i t y , A r t h u r Newsholme was  r e p o r t e d as commenting i n 1913  that:  The g r e a t e r p a r t of t h i s heavy m o r t a l i t y at the beginning of the century (and of subsequent improvement) i s a s s o c i a t e d w i t h the hazards of i n f e c t i o n t o which the newly born are s u b j e c t e d . As t o s p e c i f i c f a c t o r s , Newsholme was l e d t o s t r e s s the i n t e r r e l a t e d complex of poverty, u n c l e a n l i n e s s , overcrowding, a l c o h o l i c indulgence and d i s e a s e , poor water supply, u n s a t i s f a c t o r y food s t o r a g e , conservancy d i s p o s a l as d i s t i n c t from w a t e r - c a r r i a g e of e x c r e t a , i n e f f i c i e n t scavenging, but most of a l l the abandonment of b r e a s t f e e d i n g without adequate cause. 54 The mining communities were, as a l r e a d y noted, to  subject  overcrowding and poor s a n i t a r y p r o v i s o n s , which were  f a c t o r s beyond the c o n t r o l of the i n h a b i t a n t s .  The  rush of  s p e c u l a t i v e b u i l d i n g which accompanied the opening up  of  the Y o r k s h i r e c o a l f i e l d at the t u r n of the century l e d e i t h e r to  a complete n e g l e c t of v i t a l  facilities,  or t o the  i o r a t i o n of a l r e a d y poor s a n i t a r y p r o v i s i o n s .  deter-  Existing  and  newly c r e a t e d l o c a l a u t h o r i t i e s d i d not have the  resources  to  villages  d e a l with the problems of h e a l t h i n towns and  which were r a p i d l y expanding. The  constant  i n f l u x of an  immigrant p o p u l a t i o n c a r r y i n g i n f e c t i o n s and immunity, combined with a g e n e r a l ignorance with d i s e a s e , had communities.  its toll  little of how  or no to deal  on the g e n e r a l h e a l t h of the  new  39 The  d e s i r e f o r r a p i d and economical b u i l d i n g l e d , as  we have seen, t o the c o n s t r u c t i o n of back-to-back t h e i r attendant e v i l s .  houses w i t h  R e s p i r a t o r y d i s e a s e s among the aged,  i n f e c t i o u s d i s e a s e s and "developmental  diseases" i n children  were more p r e v a l e n t than u s u a l i n t h i s type of housing, and Dr. Darra Mair concluded i n 1910, t h a t , produce  "The c o n d i t i o n s which  such e f f e c t s are many and complex, but i t can s c a r c e l y  be doubted  t h a t i n the e a r l i e s t p e r i o d  of the home, e s p e c i a l l y perhaps  of l i f e ,  its facilities  f r e s h a i r and s u n l i g h t must e x e r t a powerful  the nature f o r obtaining  influence."  A s i m i l a r c o n c l u s i o n was drawn i n 1911 when the h i g h e r than average  death r a t e i n the mining and i n d u s t r i a l c o u n t i e s  was " l a r g e l y t r a c e a b l e t o unhealthy c o n d i t i o n s of houses and work p l a c e s . " During the 1890*s i s o l a t i o n h o s p i t a l s were developed i n the Y o r k s h i r e c o a l r e g i o n s , and we f i n d them mentioned i n c e r t a i n c o a l m i n i n g communities i n the Census Reports or 1901 and 1911.  In 1901, the I n f e c t i o u s Diseases H o s p i t a l  at B r i e r l e y had 13 inmates, while t h a t a t A r d s l e y near 57 B a r n s l e y had a t o t a l  of 77 p a t i e n t s ,  the most populated h o s p i t a l s .  y >  These were by f a r  Those I s o l a t i o n H o s p i t a l s  at Sandal, Outwood, ( S t a n l e y ) , P o n t e f r a c t , G l a s s Houghton, Whitwood and Conisbrough,  and the Smallpox  Hospitals at  Normanton, Purston J a g l i n , Monk B r e t t o n , Balby and Mexborough had v e r y few, or no p a t i e n t s a t a l l .  However, t h e i r v e r y  e x i s t e n c e i n these d e v e l o p i n g coalmining.communities  probably  40 i n d i c a t e s t h a t t h e r e was a need f o r p l a c e s t o house v i c t i m s of i n f e c t i o u s d i s e a s e . In 1911 . w i t h the growth of p o p u l a t i o n and i n c r e a s e d e f f o r t s t o stem the spread  of i n f e c t i o n , we f i n d g r e a t e r num-  bers o f p a t i e n t s i n these s p e c i a l i s e d h o s p i t a l s . TABLE IV  Thus:  To show the numbers of p a t i e n t s i n c e r t a i n I s o l a t i o n H o s p i t a l s i n the Y o r k s h i r e c o l l i e r y a r e a s . 1911. 58  Ac kt on Pontefract East and West Ardsley Wath-uponDearne Conisbrough Brierley  Number of patients  Institution  Name of l o c a l i t y -  I n f e c t i o u s Diseases Hospita] Isolation Hospital  37  Isolation Hospital  21  Infectious Infectious Infectious  12  30 38 43  Diseases H o s p i t a l Diseases H o s p i t a l Diseases Hospita]  We can conclude, t h e r e f o r e , t h a t the :coalmining. fc-omm\in_t i e s were marked by a h i g h r a t e of overcrowding of inadequate  housing and l a r g e r than averaged  which were c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the coalminers.  as a r e s u l t sized  families,  Overcrowding,  combined w i t h c o n d i t i o n s s p e c i f i c t o a q u i c k l y d e v e l o p i n g a r e a , such as poor s a n i t a t i o n , the i n f l u x o f immigrants, and n e g l e c t by l o c a l a u t h o r i t i e s , were r e s p o n s i b l e f o r a h i g h r a t e of d i s e a s e and i n f a n t m o r t a l i t y . Although  housing  standards were not as a p p a l l i n g i n  the newer Y o r k s h i r e c o l l i e r y communities as i n the o l d e r , deteriorating fields,  i t i s d i f f i c u l t t o d i s p u t e t h a t the  added f a c t o r s of d i s e a s e and overcrowding life  expectancy.  served t o minimize  A t o t a l assessment i s , however, n o t  p o s s i b l e u n l e s s the other c r i t e r i a by which the standard of l i v i n g i s measured —  wage r a t e s and d i e t —  are considered.  41 II The for  difficulties  coalminers  i n respect  i n v o l v e d i n determing a c t u a l wage r a t e s  d u r i n g t h i s p e r i o d are m a n i f o l d ,  of wages must, t h e r e f o r e be  and  of a g e n e r a l  conclusions nature.  These d i f f i c u l t i e s r e v o l v e around r e g i o n a l v a r i a t i o n s i n wage rates;  the complex system of paying  work r a t e s ; rents;  both day r a t e s and  a d d i t i o n s t o wages such as f r e e c o a l and  deductions;  trade f l u c t u a t i o n s and  number of wage earners  and  short-time;  dependants per f a m i l y ;  the f a c t t h a t no comprehensive survey of c o a l m i n i n g ever made a t any  one  time.  i n v e s t i g a t i o n s i n t o miners* The  We  and  piecelow the finally  wages  have t o r e l y r a t h e r on  was  isolated  pay.  consensus of o p i n i o n on t h i s s u b j e c t seems t o be  t h a t i n the p e r i o d under study, the coalminers  as a whole  were a r e l a t i v e l y w e l l - p a i d group of workers.  Even e a r l i e r  Adam Smith had recorded  i n The  Wealth of Nations t h a t  the  S c o t t i s h miners r e c e i v e d three times as much pay as the common l a b o u r e r , while  i n 1832  Cobbett was  w r i t i n g about Sunderland  that t You see n o t h i n g here t h a t i s p r e t t y ; but everyt h i n g seems t o be abundant i n v a l u e ; and great t h i n g i s , the working people l i v e w e l l . . . The pitmen have twenty-four s h i l l i n g s a week; they l i v e r e n t - f r e e , t h e i r f u e l c o s t s them n o t h i n g , and t h e i r doctor c o s t s them n o t h i n g . . . they l i v e w e l l , t h e i r houses are good and t h e i r f u r n i t u r e good; and... t h e i r l i v e s seem t o be as good as t h a t of the working p a r t of mankind can r e a s o n a b l y expect. 59 I t was  a l s o about t h i s time t h a t people c o u l d say about  the miners, " C o l l i e r l a d s get gowd and get npwt but b r a s s . "  60  silver,  Factory  lads  42 The miner's wage was supplemented i n instances by the t a n g i b l e advantages of free or low cost f u e l , medical care, free housing i n the North East c o a l f i e l d , and low r e n t a l housing i n other c o a l f i e l d s .  However, the weekly wage was  a l s o subject t o c e r t a i n deductions which, though they v a r i e d from d i s t r i c t t o d i s t r i c t , could claim a small though s i g n i f i c a n t p o r t i o n of the wage.  For instance, i n 1923  i n Stanley,  County Durham, Bowley and Hogg found the f o l l o w i n g deductions from pay i n operation:  62.  Health and unemployment insurance Health and R unemployment insurance Permanent e l i e f Fund Infirmary - Aged Miners* R e l i e f Doctor Checkweighman and p i c k sharpening Hewers only Water (Tenants of c o l l i e r y houses) Trade Union county l e v y , 6d. i n 11 Candles or lamp o i l .  S. d. 1 2 10 82 0 2 0 6 0 10 t o 1 0 0 6 0  8  Even a f t e r a d d i t i o n s and deductions are taken i n t o account, the wages of i n d i v i d u a l households v a r i e d according to the number of earners w i t h i n one f a m i l y and the number of paying lodgers.  In 1890, the United States Labor Commission  included w i t h i n i t s Report, a survey of 124 E n g l i s h mining 62 f a m i l i e s from a number of coalmines i n B r i t a i n .  (No  i n d i c a t i o n i s given i n the Report of where these f a m i l i e s l i v e d and worked.)  The family incomes v a r i e d according t o the work  performed by the f a t h e r and the number of supplementary wage earners i n the family. approximately 1271  The whole range of incomes was from  per annum where a f a t h e r and three c h i l -  dren worked, down t o the lowest f i g u r e of £52 per annum i n the case of a s i n g l e breadwinner, i n t h i s instance a lowly paid surface worker.  In only 14 cases out of the 124 f a m i l i e s  43 did  the combined incomes of the c h i l d r e n outmatch the s i n g l e  income of the f a t h e r , thus s u p p o r t i n g the assumption f a t h e r of a household The average  t h a t the  was g e n e r a l l y the c h i e f breadwinner.  earnings of a s i n g l e breadwinner were  _79 5s. Od. per annum.  T h i s average  rose t o _103  ^  approximately 4s. Od. per  annum when the earnings of a whole f a m i l y , i n c l u d i n g  those 64  from c h i l d r e n and boarders were taken i n t o c o n s i d e r a t i o n . Despite the v a r i a t i o n s i n earnings from one f a m i l y t o another a c c o r d i n g t o f a m i l y circumstances, the normal miner's f a m i l y , l i k e t h a t of any wage-earner's went through  certain  common phases of p r o s p e r i t y and poverty. Thus: When the f a m i l y was f i r s t s e t up, the husband would probably be a t the height of h i s e a r n i n g c a p a c i t y , and h i s wage had o n l y two t o support. Within f i v e years there might be f i v e mouths t o f i l l , and c l o t h e s f o r three growing c h i l d r e n t o f i n d , but no g r e a t e r income: a household t h a t had had a s m a l l margin f o r comforts before c o u l d be plunged i n poverty now, c o u l d be a c t u a l l y short of food. As the c h i l d r e n grew up, the o l d e r ones began t o earn, and t h a t brought some r e l i e f . As they l e f t home, a room might be l e t t o a l o d g e r , and the householder would now have climbed out of p o v e r t y again. But the e a r n i n g power of a manual worker o f t e n began t o d e c l i n e before he was f i f t y ; illness would i n c r e a s e w i t h age; t h e r e was no age of r e t i r e m e n t , but the time was coming when the husband would not be able t o work any more. 65 We have s e v e r a l t a b l e s and r e c o r d s of c o a l m i n e r s ' earnings for  the n i n e t e e n t h and e a r l y t w e n t i e t h c e n t u r i e s .  A l l point  towards a p a t t e r n whereby the a c t u a l and r e a l incomes of the coalminers rose q u i c k l y d u r i n g the l a t t e r h a l f of the n i n e t e e n t h century, and i n f a c t o u t s t r i p p e d the r i s e i n earnings of  other working c l a s s groups a t t h i s time,  " I t would appear  44  that the wage p o s i t i o n of c o l l i e r s had improved r e l a t i v e to that of other workers during the second h a l f of the nineteenth century..." and "...  by the e a r l y years of the twentieth  century, ... c o l l i e r s were considerably b e t t e r paid even than s k i l l e d craftsmen," ^  This increase i n earnings i s demon-  s t r a t e d i n the f o l l o w i n g t a b l e drawn up by E.H.  Hunt.  He  reviewed the major works on wage v a r i a t i o n s i n B r i t a i n and concluded that t h i s t a b l e shows, "what are probably the most r e l i a b l e f i g u r e s of mine wages a v a i l a b l e , " but  admitted  r e s e r v a t i o n s about t h e i r use i n drawing general conclusions, f o r they were drawn from only two TABLE V  surveys.  To show the average d a i l y wages of c o a l hewers and labourers by r e g i o n 1888 and 1914^ 6"7 f  Region Northumberland Durham Cumberland Lancashire North Wales Nott inghamshire and Derbyshire Nth. S t a f f o r d s h i r e Cannock Chase Sth S t a f f o r d s h i r e Warwickshire Leicestershire Somerset Forest of Dean South Wales Lanarkshire West Yorkshire South Yorkshire Great B r i t a i n (weighted average)  1888  1914  Hewers Labourers 3s. 4d. Id. 3s. 9d. 5s. Od.  Hewers Labourers 6s. Od. 9s. Id. 8s. l i d . 5s. 9d.  4s. 5s. 4s.  5d. 2d.  Id.  3s. 3s. 2s.  2d. 4d. 8d.  8s. 8s. 8s.  2d. 7d.  Od.  5s. 8d. 5s. lOd. 5s. 5d.  5s. 4d. 4s. lOd. 5s. Od. 4s. 6d. 5s. Od. 4s. 3d. 3s. 3d. 4s. 6d. 4s. lOd. 4s. 7d.  3s. 5d. 3s. Od. 3s. Od. 3s. 4d. 3s. Od. 3s. 6d. 2s. 3d. 2s. lOd. 2s. lOd. 3s. 2d.  9s. lOd. 9s. Id. 8s. 6d. 7s. Id. 10s. Id. 7s. Od. 5s. 9d. 6s. 9d. 9s. 4d. 8s. 3d. 8s. l i d . 10s. 3.  5s. 8d. 5s. 7d. 5s. 7d. 5s. lOd. 6s. 2d. 5s. lOd. 4s. 4d. 4s. 6d. 5s. 9d. 6s. 6d. 6s. 3d. 6s. 8d.  4s.  3s.  Id.  8s. lOd.  5s. 9|d.  Not a v a i l a b l e N ot a v a i l a b l e 9d.  45  The ahove f i g u r e s a l s o demonstrate the wide v a r i a t i o n s to be found between the d i f f e r e n t c o a l f i e l d s .  For instance,  i n 1888, the hewers on the small Somersetshire c o a l f i e l d earned over two s h i l l i n g s per day l e s s than t h e i r counterparts i n Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. I n 1914,  the South York-  s h i r e hewers and labourers l e d the f i e l d i n wage r a t e s , showing the monetary advantages of working i n a developing area.  At t h i s time,  the South Yorkshire c o l l i e r y  companies  were s t i l l t r y i n g t o a t t r a c t labour t o t h e i r expanding enterprises. Hunt i s f i r m i n h i s opinion that the c o l l i e r s were r e l a t i v e l y w e l l paid.  I n Warwickshire f o r instance, an un-  s k i l l e d labourer i n a c o a l mine earned 6&. 2d. per day, or 37 s h i l l i n g s a week i n 1914, whereas the farm labourer i n the same county earned 13 s h i l l i n g s per week a t t h i s time. Although he produced no r e l i a b l e s t a t i s t i c s f o r Yorkshire i n the e a r l i e r p e r i o d , he considered the miners there t o be among the highest paid of a h i g h l y paid occupational group. "In 1876 the e d i t o r of the Beehive wrote t o Thomas Brassey? ' In the c o a l trade the highest wages are earned i n North68  umberland and Yorkshire'". We do have some wage f i g u r e s , however, f o r Yorkshire i n t h i s e a r l i e r period from the 1886 Census of Wages of the Board of Trade.  These show the f o l l o w i n g average weekly  wages f o r various grades of coalminers, a f t e r deductions:  46 TABLE VI  To show aveage weekly wages (net) of v a r i o u s grades of coalminers i n West and South Y o r k s h i r e , 1 8 8 b . 6 9  Deputies,  etc.  Coal hewers P u t t e r s and  trammers  Rippers The  reliability  s.  d.  29  3  28  0  22  9  29  1  of these  s.  d.  Pumpmen  23'  3  General l a b o u r e r s (underground)  20  6  Banksmen ( s u r f a c e )  20  11  f i g u r e s has been c h a l l e n g e d  by J.W.F. Rowe, an a u t h o r i t y on the matter. only nine per cent  They  of the underground workers i n Y o r k s h i r e .  Furthermore, the wage v a r i a t i o n s between the two West and  South Y o r k s h i r e were concealed  figures.  covered  Since the c o l l i e r s  i n the  came under two  areas  composite  separate  and  independent Employers* A s s o c i a t i o n s , they were covered two  completely  these two  d i f f e r e n t wage c o n t r a c t s .  areas  i n a separate  of  by  Figures exist f o r  form f o r 1914  only, and  are  shown below: TABLE VII  To show the average d a i l y earnings of v a r i o u s grades of c o a l miners i n West and South Y o r k s h i r e , 70  1914.  Daily rate in  1914  West Y o r k s h i r e d. s.  South Y o r k s h i r e d. s.  Coal g e t t e r s : Piece r a t e  8  11  10  Day wage  7  5  7  11  Putters  5  6  7  2  7  3  8  Firemen  8  2  8  10  Labourers  6  3  6  8  Stonemen  (Rippers)  3  47  Rowe used the years 1886 and 1913 as the p i v o t a l points i n h i s work on wages.  1886 was a year of trade r e c e s s i o n  while 1913 was a peak year f o r miners' wages.  He gives the  f o l l o w i n g as true average weekly wages f o r coalminers i n 71 B r i t a i n i n these two years: 1886  1913  s.  d.  s.  d.  Piece work c o a l g e t t e r s  24  6  50  4  Putters, f i l l e r s , etc.  20  8  36  10  Labourers  18  0  33  0  When comparing these f i g u r e s with the wages i n other trades, however, the rates f o r coalminers have t o be averaged over f i v e year periods-- 1886 t o 1891 and 1908 t o 1913 -- t o take i n t o account the f a c t o r s of r e c e s s i o n and p r o s p e r i t y . By doing t h i s , Rowe was able t o draw more accurate wage comparisons with other trades, shown i n the f o l l o w i n g t a b l e . I t w i l l be noted from t h i s t a b l e that the coalminers compared favourably with t h e i r counterparts i n four other major industries. TABLE V I I I  To compare the true weekly wage r a t e s i n f i v e major i n d u s t r i e s , 1886 and 1913. 72  Occupation 1) SKILLED Bricklayers Coal-getters Mule spinners Turners (engineering) Engine-drivers ( r a i l ) 2) SEMI-SKILLED Painters Putters and F i l l e r s (coal) Grinders (cotton) Machinemen (engineering) Railway guards  '1886  s.  31 29 32 29 39  28 24 21 22 27  1913  d. 1 1  6 9 7  8 6 2 3  6  s. 38 46 41 38 42 34 34 29 30 30  d.  11  6  5 2 11 7  0  5 7 9  48 TABLE V I I I - continued Occupation 3) UNSKILLED Labourers ( b u i l d i n g ) Labourers (coal) Women weavers Labourers (engineering) Goods porters ( r a i l )  1886 S. d.  1913 s. d.  19 21 18 17 20  25 30  4 4 0 11 0  9 6 21 11 21 10 22 1  (Note: wage dates f o r coalminers5 1886 represents the average f o r 1886 t o 1891* 1913 represents the average f o r 1908 t o 1913.) From t h i s t a b l e i t can be seen that i n a l l three l e v e l s of s k i l l , the coalminers increased t h e i r wage r a t e s f a s t e r than any of the other occupational groups i n the i n t e r v a l from 1886 t o 1913, and by 1913 were among the highest paid workers i n these major i n d u s t r i e s .  Furthermore, the i n -  crease i n the wage r a t e s of the coalminers i n t h i s period reached a p a r i t y with the increase i n the cost of l i v i n g , which i s discussed below. F i n a l l y , t h i s p i c t u r e of r e l a t i v e l y high wages among the coalminers i s supported by a comparative  t a b l e issued  by the Mining A s s o c i a t i o n i n 1924: TABLE IX To compare the average weekly earnings of male adult workers i n various i n d u s t r i e s . 1913 73 Industry  s.  d.  Coalmining B u i l d i n g trade P i g - i r o n manufacture Iron and s t e e l manufacture Engineering and boiler-making Shipbuilding Railways Cotton manufacture Woolen and worsted manufacture Linen Bleaching, dyeing and p r i n t i n g Boot and shoe manufacture Pottery B r i c k making  35 32 33 36 32 33 29 30  11 10* 11 2 11 9 10*  28 24 30  28  31 27  8  7 6 2 9  0 7  H-9  Here a g a i n , i t can be seen t h a t c o a l m i n i n g ranked a b l y i n the wage l e v e l s of working-class  occupations.  favourAmong  the c o a l m i n i n g c l a s s e s as a whole, those miners of South Y o r k s h i r e were among the most h i g h l y p a i d and they were r e a p i n g some of the p r o s p e r i t y of t h i s expanding f i e l d . In the l a t e 1880's, the f a t h e r of the t r a d e , u n i o n i s t John Brophy earned  e i g h t s h i l l i n g s per day as a hewer i n the  p i t s of S t . Helens, which was "With only about one-tenth heat, there was  c o n s i d e r e d to be a good wage.  of h i s pay going f o r r e n t and  p l e n t y to take care of our needs, as long 74  as work was  regular."  However, t h i s i n s e c u r i t y which  Brophy h i n t e d a t has to be taken i n t o c o n s i d e r a t i o n when examining the wages of miners.  Income was  threatened  by  s t r i k e , a c c i d e n t , i l l n e s s or short-time work when c o a l s t o c k - p i l e d and trade was was  little  poor.  was  When t h i s occurred there  the miner's wife c o u l d do t o supplement the  f a m i l y income, g i v e n the employment s i t u a t i o n i n the c o a l towns. For the Brophy f a m i l y : The t e r r i f y i n g t h r e a t t o our s e c u r i t y was i l l n e s s . My f a t h e r had one long siege of pneumonia, brought on by bad working c o n d i t i o n s . His pay stopped, of course, and as my mother nursed him through the long weeks, we got poorer and poorer. Our few belongings began t o go i n t o the pawn shop... The union gave us a s m a l l sum, but most of our h e l p came from my grandmother and other r e l a t i v e s , though they had l i t t l e t o spare. I t was months before we recovered from the e f f e c t s of that- i l l ness. We c o u l d l i v e d e c e n t l y when there was r e g u l a r work, but we had no r e a l s e c u r i t y , nor was there any margin f o r savings. 75 A f a m i l y faced d e s t i t u t i o n i n the case of the death an only breadwinner, and mining,  t h i s was  i n a dangerous c a l l i n g such  an ever-present t h r e a t .  But the  of  as  coalmining  50  family was not only subject to the r i s k of personal misfortune through death, injury, or i l l n e s s .  There was always the  constant threat of short-time work i n the summer months when trade and home consumption f e l l off.  At these times, a  man  might only work f o r two or three days i n a week, and his wages f e l l accordingly.  Rowe found that from 1895 to.1913» hewers  worked an average of 5.22 days per week over the year, when the normal working week was  s i x days.  This meant that a  man  expected to lose between f i v e and ten per cent of his potent i a l earnings each year, through short-time and trade f l u c tuations.  When whole p i t s lay idle through s t r i k e , lock-  out, or disaster, an entire community which depended upon coal for  i t s l i v e l i h o o d could be plunged into poverty and debt  at worst, and extreme f r u g a l i t y at best. The l e v e l of wages i n coalmining was  such as to l i m i t  this occupational group to a set of common expectations. There was a common desire to earn just enough money for surv i v a l and to provide for leisure pursuits, for the t r a d i t i o n a l standard of l i v i n g of the miners did not revolve around the a c q u i s i t i o n of material goods.  There was no stimulus f o r  competition or s o c i a l display i n the mining communities. family's status was well known to a l l in a community where wages and income were no secret: In that long grey street... every family knew the essential f a c t s about every other family's l i f e ; the peculiar economic organisation of the p i t s made t h i s inevitable. Every Wednesday evening... (the) assistant checkweighman of the Miners' Lodge made up the p i t 'averages'. This was a record, f o r  A  51  union purposes, of the production of every c o a l face i n the p i t and of the earnings of every man engaged on those faces. The income of every mining f a m i l y , i n so f a r as i t was derived from the mine, was known t o everybody. The pretensions of urban l i v i n g were impossible here. No f a m i l y could assume higher standards than i t s income warranted without i n c u r r i n g r i d i c u l e . Here, perhaps, i s part of the reason why miners made t h e i r demands on l i f e as a community, not as i n d i v i d u a l s . 7 7 There were aspects of wage and income l e v e l s i n the mining communities t h e r e f o r e , which d i d draw the population together under common standards and expectations.  This  standard was high by comparison w i t h other working-class occupational groups..  A f u r t h e r i n d i c a t i o n of t h i s r e l a -  t i v e l y high income l e v e l i s the f a c t that r a t e s of pauper r e l i e f i n the coalmining areas were c o n s i s t e n t l y the lowest i n the country.  Furthermore,  i f we consider the d i e t and  budgets of the c o l l i e r c l a s s by comparison w i t h other work i n g - c l a s s groups, an even more favourable income l e v e l may be discerned.  Ill  In 1913 A.L. Bowley and M. Hogg conducted  their f i r s t  survey of f i v e i n d u s t r i a l towns, i n c l u d i n g Stanley i n County Durham.  They found l e s s poverty i n t h i s coalmining community  than i n the other four towns, (Bolton, Warrington, Reading and Northampton), where just 6.1 per cent of the population f e l l under the poverty l i n e , (compared t o 26 per cent i n  52 Reading f o r example.)  Taking Rowntree's l e v e l of poverty,  whereby a working man needed to spend a minimum of 3s.  9d.  per week on food, they found that poverty existed i n eleven coalmining families out of a sample of 203  families.  In  eight of these cases, poverty was due to the death, absence, i l l n e s s , or advanced age of the natural head of the family. The investigators concluded that i n 1913,  "miners* wages were  generally s u f f i c i e n t to support a moderately  large family."  We may take the conclusions of t h i s survey to be t y p i c a l of the general standard of l i v i n g i n the c o a l f i e l d s before the F i r s t World War.  Unless some misfortune b e f e l l a family,  the coalmining family was generally able to maintain and feed i t s e l f , by the standards of the time. If we compare the consumption of food i n coalmining families with that i n families of other occupational groups among the working-class, we f i n d them to be i n a favourable position on the whole.  For most occupational groups, bread  was unquestionaly the major staple, and the degree of dependency of a family upon bread i n i t s diet r e f l e c t e d i t s earning powers, so that higher paid families could afford a more varied diet and depended to a lesser degree upon t h i s staple.  We can see t h i s pattern at work at an early date  when comparing a coalmining family with that of a farm labourer.  "A Northumberland miner i n 1825,  with hi a week,  purchased 30 lbs, of bread f o r a family of f i v e (for 6s. and was also able to afford a pound of meat each day."  3d.) At  53 the same time, "A  Suffolk labourer with f i v e children, three  of whom were i n work, had a t o t a l household income of 13s. 79 and devoted nine s h i l l i n g s of i t to bread." ' Even i n 1862,  9d.  7  t h i r t y per cent of a l l families s t i l l  r a r e l y or never tasted fresh meat.  Farm workers, the most  poorly paid of labourers, s t i l l depended e s s e n t i a l l y on bread, consuming \2\ pounds per adult per week, with only one pound of- meat per week., 8 0 +  From the 1850's we have the following budget of a coalmining family of Northumberland, where three sons worked in addition to the father. work was -f>  T  t  15 3s. 81  The family income for a fortnight's  7 d . , and the outley per fortnight was  follows: Outlay per fortnight Mutton 14 lbs. Flour 5 stones Maslin (mixed grain) 3 sts. Bacon 14 lbs. PotatoesOatmeal Butter 21bs, Milk 3d. per day Coffee l j lbs. Tea i lb. Sugar 31bs.  s, 8 13 7 9 2  d. 9 0 6 4 3 6 0 0  6 3 1 6 2 0  as  Outlay per fortnight s. Candles Soap 1 Pepper, s a l t , mustard Tobacco, beer 4 Plus, shoes at 9s. per month 4 Clothes, Stockings, etc. 17 Sundries _2 14 5 s .  TOTAL This family was at the peak of i t s earning power and further aided with free rent and f u e l .  d 6 8 6 0_  was  It enjoyed the rare  luxury among working class families at t h i s time of a balanced budget, despite the r e l a t i v e l y heavy indulgence It  i n meat.  i s notable that the family did not buy bread, but ate  home-baked bread. communities.  This was a t y p i c a l feature of  coalmining  6 6 6 0  54 I f we compare t h i s d i e t with that of another  contemporary  group of workers, then the r e l a t i v e luxury of t h i s budget becomes more apparent.  The f o l l o w i n g was the average weekly  d i e t per f a m i l y of the silk-weavers of S p i t a l f i e l d s , Macclesf i e l d , Bethnal Green and Coventry.  I t i s understandable why  they were described as being " i n s u f f i c i e n t l y nourished, and of feeble h e a l t h " . The average weekly d i e t of the s i l k - w e a v i n g f a m i l y i n the mid-nineteenth century. 82 Bread Potatoes Sugar Fats Meat Milk Tea  9 l lbs. 2 lbs. 7| oz. 4|- oz. 2 lbs. 1.1 p t s . 2 oz.  S i m i l a r l y , i f we examine conditions at the end of the nineteenth and e a r l y t w e n t i e t h centuries when standards of n u t r i t i o n had improved, we f i n d that the coalminers had r e tained t h e i r r e l a t i v e l y comfortable l e v e l s of nourishment. In 1904, a survey by the Royal S t a t i s t i c a l Society found that the wage earning c l a s s e s consumed on the average of 107 pounds of meat, 8.5 g a l l o n s of m i l k , t e n pounds of cheese and f i f t e e n pounds of b u t t e r per head, per year. ^  In 1906,  the average wage earning f a m i l y brought home 45 s h i l l i n g s per week which at that time would have bought the f o l l o w i n g items: The average weekly d i e t of a wage earning f a m i l y i n 1906. 32 l b s . bread and f l o u r 3 l b s . r i c e , t a p i o c a , oatmeal 17 l b s . potatoes 9 l b s . meat',,-, ( i n c l u d i n g 1* l b s . bacon) 3/4 l b s , cheese 12 eggs 21bs b u t t e r  55 The a v e r a g e w e e k l y d i e t o f a wage e a r n i n g f a m i l y i n 1906. - c o n t i n u e d 10 p t s f r e s h m i l k 5 l b s . sugar i lb.tea p l u s , s m a l l q u a n t i t i e s o f jam,, marmalade, t r e a c l e o r s y r u p , f i s h , currants, r a i s i n s , f r u i t , vegetables, p i c k l e s , condiments, c o f f e e and cocoa. From t h e e v i d e n c e we have o f t h e d i e t s families  during this  did not f a l l  p e r i o d , i t appears  below t h i s average  t h i s weekly d i e t  mining 150  Commission  families  sion's  g e n e r a l l y they Even b e f o r e  indulged i n a  The 1890 s u r v e y c o n d u c t e d  found  that  each  on f o o d .  o f t h e 124 E n g l i s h  The v a r i e t y  i n the following t a b l e ,  by t h e  of. a p p r o x i m a t e l y of t h e i r  drawn f r o m  diet i s  t h e Commis-  Reports  TABLE X  To show t h e number o f E n g l i s h m i n i n g f a m i l i e s o u t o f a sample o f 124 who consumed q u a n t i t i e s o f t h e f o l l o w i n g c o m m o d i t i e s i n 1890. 85 Number o f consuming f a m i l i e s out o f t o t a l o f 124 Commodity  Commodity Beef Hog p r o d u c t s Meat (not s p e c i f i e d ) Poultry Fish Eggs Milk Butter Cheese Tea The fied  coalmining  level.  i t s t u d i e d spent an average  5 s . Od. p e r y e a r  demonstrated  that  was drawn up, t h e c o a l m i n e r s  regimen of t h i s nature. U.S. L a b o r  national  of  from  staple this  None 113 124 None 21 114 119 121 2 120 foods  table.  t h e r e was a d i s t i n c t  of this  Number o f c onsuming f a m i l i e s out o f t o t a l o f 124  Coffee Sugar Molasses Lard F l o u r and meal Bread Rice Fruit Potatoes Vegetables sample  19 120 10  109  124 13 4  6  118  96  o f c o a l m i n e r s c a n be  identi-  A l l f a m i l i e s a t e meat o f some k i n d , t h o u g h absence o f beef and p o u l t r y .  56  Eggs, milk, butter, tea, sugar, lard, home-baked bread and potatoes were consumed by a large majority of the families, and the large number of families buying vegetables (or growing t h e i r own?) i s s i g n i f i c a n t i n a period when vegetables were generally lacking i n the regular working class diet. The consumption of cheese was n e g l i g i b l e . Some years l a t e r i n 1905, there was a similar pattern of food consumption i n the South Yorkshire c o l l i e r y towns of Castleford and Normanton.  The Board of Trade Report of  1908 found that i n these coalmining towns: R o l l bacon i s the variety i n most demand, and the favourite q u a l i t i e s of tea are those sold at from Is. 6d. to 2s. per l b . The bread i s , for the most part, home-baked, and the predominant price of household f l o u r was Is. 4d. per 14 l b s . at the end of 1905. 86 This enquiry into the "Prevailing prices of groceries" in October of 1905 revealed that the commodities which were most important to the coalminers' diet at t h i s time were, tea, sugar (loaf, white granulated and demerara), bacon (Streaky and r o l l ) , eggs, cheese, butter (imported), 87  potatoes, f l o u r and milk.  Again the coalminers appeared  to be i n a more fortunate position than many of t h e i r contemporaries at the turn of the century.  While the miners enjoyed  t h i s r e l a t i v e l y varied diet, Joseph Arch described the diet of Warwickshire farm labourers i n 1898 as consisting mainly of barley bread.  But, "even barley loaves were a l l too scarce  ... the food we could get was of very poor quality, and there was f a r too l i t t l e of i t .  Meat was r a r e l y , i f ever, to be  seen on the labourer's table... In many a household even a  57  morsel of bacon was considered a luxury."  88  As l a t e as 1912 Mrs. Pember Reeves found labourers i n London who earned as l i t t l e as from 18s. to 24s. each week. She discovered extreme cases where l i f e was barely maintained on two penny worth of food per day, f o r each member of a family.  Moreover, the cost of f u e l f o r cooking p r o h i b i t e d  the p r o v i s i o n of hot food and as a r e s u l t , an important item 89  of the d i e t was bread and d r i p p i n g . i n an advantageous  The coalminers were  s i t u a t i o n w i t h t h e i r l i b e r a l supply of  cheap or free c o a l and the p r o v i s i o n s f o r cooking i n t h e i r own homes.  In an occupational group such as the c o l l i e r s  where the wife remained at home i n the m a j o r i t y of f a m i l i e s , home-cooking and baking put them at an obvious advantage over other urban working c l a s s groups, f o r : ... urban l i f e n e c e s s a r i l y meant a greater dependence on p r o f e s s i o n a l s e r v i c e s of bakers, brewers and food r e t a i l e r s g e n e r a l l y , p a r t l y because l i v i n g conditions were overcrowded and i l l - e q u i p p e d f o r the p r a c t i c e of c u l i n a r y a r t s , p a r t l y because many wives worked a t f a c t o r y or domestic trades and had l i t t l e time or energy l e f t f o r cooking. The kind of food which most commended i t s e l f was, t h e r e f o r e , that which needed l e a s t p r e p a r a t i o n , was t a s t y , and, i f p o s s i b l e , hot, and f o r these reasons bought bread, potatoes b o i l e d or roasted i n t h e i r j a c k e t s , and bacon, which could be f i r e d i n a matter of minutes, became mainstays of urban d i e t . Tea was a l s o e s s e n t i a l , because i t gave warmth and comfort to c o l d , monotonous food. But soups and broths, stews and puddings, became f o r many inhabitants of the new towns the Sunday f e a s t , f o r only on the day of r e s t was long p r e p a r a t i o n and cooking p o s s i b l e . 90 F i n a l l y , to obtain a f u l l e r p i c t u r e of the standard of l i f e of the mining f a m i l y , we must consider expenses other than those f o r food.  From the U.S. Labor Commission's survey  58  of 1890 i t appears that the coalminers i n f a c t had s e v e r a l a d d i t i o n a l expenses.  The survey found that the average f a m i l y  spent approximately 1>34 5s.  Od. per year on non-food items.  These included the f o l l o w i n g : TABLE XI  To show the number of E n g l i s h mining f a m i l i e s from a sample of 124 who incurred expenses f o r c e r t a i n non-food items. 1890. 91  Item Rent Coal L i g h t i n g (mainly o i l » some gas.) P i t expenses Clothing: Husband Wife Children Taxes Property Insurance L i f e Insurance Labour organisations  Number of families affected out of t o t a l of 124 123 120 122  None 123 120 119 1 1 107 73  Item Other organisations Religion Charity Furniture and utensils Books and newspapers Amusements and vacations Intoxicating liquors Tobacco Sickness and death Other purposes  Number of families out of 124 91 62 49  114 120 83  101 109 100 50  The majority of coalminers had expenses f o r the p r o v i sion of f u e l and l i g h t i n g , c l o t h i n g , f u r n i t u r e and amusements.  Only one f a m i l y owned t h e i r home and the r e s t of  the f a m i l i e s were rent-paying  tenants.  Many f a m i l i e s believed  i n insurance and the p r o t e c t i o n offered by c e r t a i n organisat i o n s , while a high number had incurred expenses through the sickness or death of a f a m i l y member.  The item on t h i s l i s t  which i s perhaps the most s u r p r i s i n g i n i t s importance, i s the p r o v i s i o n of books and newspapers.  A l l but four f a m i l i e s  appear t o be i n r e c e i p t of these luxury a r t i c l e s .  59 A s i m i l a r p a t t e r n of expenditure was discovered by Paul de Rousiers i n Scotland a t t h i s time.  His study of a Lothian  coalmining f a m i l y , (the F i s h e r f a m i l y ) produced t h i s o v e r a l l budget f o r the year 1893s The annual budget of the F i s h e r f a m i l y . 1893. CREDIT Fisher's Two  sons' Total  DEBIT  h s. d.  wages wages  h  84 0 0 35  o  0  119  o  0  Rent Furniture, linen Coal Lighting Food Clothing Medical attendance Amusements Subscription to union Educational requirements Insurance Voluntary contribution t o Edinburgh Infirmary Balance unaccounted for  s. d.  5 4 4 0 4 4 2 0 64 0 14 •0 13 2 8  0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4  7  3  0 4  1  0  0  0  2  19 119  Total  This f a m i l y was fortunate i n being able t o d i v e r t some of i t s earnings i n t o savings.  Over h a l f of the y e a r l y income  i s spent on food, while a considerable p r o p o r t i o n i s spent on c l o t h e s , though de Rousiers commented that the f a m i l y dressed moderately.  I t appears that expenditure on c l o t h i n g  was general q u i t e high.  In 1903, the Board of Trade i n i t s  Enquiry i n t o i n d u s t r i a l c o n d i t i o n s quoted the f a m i l y budget of a coalminer f o r 1891. Here the t o t a l y e a r l y expenditure on c l o t h i n g f o r two a d u l t s and eight c h i l d r e n came t o £46 15s. lOd. out of a t o t a l y e a r l y expenditure of £194 14s. 7d., or 24 per cent of the t o t a l expenditure.  93 7 J  60 I t would appear t h e r e f o r e , that the coalminers were i n a r e l a t i v e l y favourable p o s i t i o n when wages and consumption are considered.  We have already seen that wages i n the c o a l -  mining communities were g e n e r a l l y higher than those of most other occupational groups.  In a d d i t i o n t o t h i s advantage,  rents and p r i c e s were g e n e r a l l y lower i n coalmining d i s t r i c t s when compared t o other areas a t the t u r n of the century, so that the o v e r a l l cost of l i v i n g was low. This can be seen i n the two model towns of C a s t l e f o r d and Normanton when compared t o London.  Taking the l e v e l of rents and p r i c e s i n  London as a base of 100, the cost of l i v i n g i n these c o a l mining towns may be compared.  The f i g u r e s f o r Merthyr  T y d f i l are included as an example of a South Wales c o l l i e r y town. Town London  Rent 100  Prices 100  Rent and -prices combined (The cost of l i v i n g ) 100  Castleford  53  94  86  Normanton  57  91  84  Merthyr T y d f i l  50  97  88  We may conclude, t h e r e f o r e , that during t h i s period the coalminers were g e n e r a l l y able t o maintain themselves adequate way by the standards of the time.  i n an  In the 1890 U.S.  Labor Commisions Report, of the 124 E n g l i s h mining f a m i l i e s under study, 48 had a surplus of money i n hand at the end of the year, 45 others had invested t h e i r surplus i n t o savings banks, b u i l d i n g s o c i e t i e s , cooperative s o c i e t i e s ,  61 the post o f f i c e or penny "banks, while i n n i n e t e e n cases the y e a r l y budget and accounts  j u s t balanced.  In twelve  cases  however, f a m i l i e s were i n debt a t the end of the year.  This  was u s u a l l y due t o short-time work, i l l - h e a l t h or o v e r - s i z e d f a m i l i e s supported by j u s t one breadwinner. Report  G e n e r a l l y the  found the l i v i n g c o n d i t i o n s of the 124 f a m i l i e s t o be  good.  A l l but f o u r t e e n homes were comfortably or w e l l - f u r ox n i s h e d , and only two were d e s c r i b e d as d i r t y or u n t i d y . ' J  In c o n c l u s i o n , housing, s a n i t a r y p r o v i s i o n s and overcrowding were poor, and were p r o d u c t i v e of bad h e a l t h and infantile mortality. t i o n s were perhaps  However, these m i s e r a b l e l i v i n g c o n d i -  tempered by a r e l a t i v e l y h i g h average of  earnings and consumption. household  Though there w e r e ' v a r i a t i o n s i n  earnings a c c o r d i n g t o f a m i l y s i z e , a l l normal-  s i z e d c o a l m i n i n g f a m i l i e s might expect t o pass through common phases of r e l a t i v e wealth and poverty.  Certainly,  social  p r e t e n s i o n s were l i m i t e d , i f not completely excluded from the f i n a n c i a l circumstances of the c o a l m i n i n g c l a s s .  The l i v i n g  s i t u a t i o n i t s e l f c o n t r i b u t e d towards u n i t y among the mining p o p u l a t i o n i n i t s s t r u g g l e a g a i n s t the environment,  and a t  the same time, i n a common r e s i g n a t i o n t o the i m p o s s i b i l i t y of l e a v i n g those surroundings. of the standard of l i f e then perhaps in I856.  I f a generalised description  i n a c o a l m i n i n g community i s p o s s i b l e ,  the most a c c u r a t e i s one g i v e n by J.R. L e i f c h i l d  Though t h i s account  i s from an e a r l y p e r i o d , the  c o n d i t i o n s he d e s c r i b e d p r e v a i l e d throughout which we are concerned:  the p e r i o d with  62  C l e a n l i n e s s , both i n t h e i r persons and houses, i s a predominant feature i n the domestic economy of the b e t t e r females of t h i s community. The c h i l d r e n , although n e c e s s a r i l y l e f t much t o themselves, and p l a y i n g much i n the d i r t , are never sent t o bed without ample a b l u t i o n . Pitmen, of a l l l a b o u r i n g classes I am acquainted w i t h , enjoy most the pleasure of good l i v i n g : t h e i r l a r d e r s abound i n potatoes, bacon, f r e s h meat, sugar, t e a , and c o f f e e , of which good things the c h i l d r e n partake as abundantly as the parents: even the sucking i n f a n t , t o i t s p r e j u d i c e , i s loaded with as much of the greasy and w e l l seasons viands of the table as i t w i l l swallow. In t h i s respect the women are f o o l i s h l y indulgent, and I know of no c l a s s of pers'ons among whom i n f a n t i l e diseases so much p r e v a i l . 96. Conditions d i d not change much during the period under study.  There was an apparent u n i f o r m i t y of c o n d i t i o n s i n  the mining f i e l d s except that the coalminers i n the Yorkshire c o a l f i e l d enjoyed higher wage l e v e l s and i n some cases, b e t t e r housing, than t h e i r counterparts i n the older c o a l f i e l d s , during our period.  FOOTNOTES TO CHAPTER I I 1  A. Hutt, 1933),  2  The Conditionoof~-'the Working Class (London, P.  13.  R.A, Scott-James, "Housing Conditions i n Mining Areas," fippendix to Coal and Power. The Report of an Enquiry presided over by the Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd George, (London, 1 9 2 4 ) , p.  135.  3  I b i d . , P. 131  4  A. Moffat,  $  From A.R. G r i f f i n , Coalmining (London,  My L i f e with the Miners (London, 1972).  1965),  p.11.  63  6  For instance, "between 1901 and 1911 the populations of the South Yorkshire c o l l i e r y communities of Bentley, Bolton-upon-Dearne, Cudworth and Thurnscoe increased by the f o l l o w i n g percentages r e s p e c t i v e l y -- 170.4%; 126.5% 100.2%; and 72.6%. From the Census Report f o r England and Wales. 1911: Summary Tables. B.P.P. 1914 - 16, LXXXI. Table 11, p. 13.  7  W. Ashworth, The Genesis of Modern B r i t i s h Town Planning (London, 1954), pp. 145 - 146.  8  W.H. Chaloner, "The B r i t i s h Miners and the Coal Industry between the Wars", H i s t o r y Today. (June 1964), V o l . XIV., No. 6. p. 419.  9  J.E. W i l l i a m s , P. 445.  10  From the Derbyshire Times 19th June, 1936, c i t e d i n I b i d . , P. 782.  11  E.H. Phelps Brown, The Growth of B r i t i s h Relations (Londonl96o), p. 31.  12  F. Zweig.':, Men i n the P i t s (London, 1948), p. 42.  13  Dr. L.W. Darra Mair, A Report on R e l a t i v e M o r t a l i t y i n Through and Back-to-Back Houses i n C e r t a i n Towns i n the West R i d i n g of Y o r k s h i r e. B.P.P. 1910, XXXVIII, p. 893.  14  I b i d . , p. 896.  15  I b i d . , p. 902.  16  I b i d . , p. 903.  17  G. Orwell,  18  Report of an Enquiry by the Board of Trade i n t o Working Class Rents. Housing, and R e t a i l P r i c e s , i n the P r i n c i p a l I n d u s t r i a l Towns of the United Kingdom, B.P.P. 1908, CVII, p. 144.  19  I b i d . , p. 145.  20  I b i d . , p. 333.  21  I b i d . , P. x l i v .  22  G.A.W. Tomlinson,  23  Orwell,  24  Rt. Hon. S i r . J . Tudor Walters, The B u i l d i n g of 12.000 Houses (London, 1927), p. 24.  The Derbyshire Miners (London, 1962),  Industrial  The Road t o Wigan P i e r (London, 1937), p. 59.  Coal-Miner;"; (London, 1937). p. 13.  Op. C i t . . pp. 56 - 57.  64 25  See W. Ashworth, Op. C i t .  26  W. Page, (Ed.), The V i c t o r i a H i s t o r y of the Counties of England. Yorkshire. V o l . I I . (London, 1912), p. 362.  2?  W. Ashworth, " B r i t i s h I n d u s t r i a l V i l l a g e s i n the Nineteenth Century," Economic H i s t o r y Review. (1951), 2nd S e r i e s , V o l . I l l , No. 3. p. 386.  28  N. Dennis, F. Henriques, and C. Slaughter, Coal i s our L i f e (London, 1956), p. 11.  29  Ibid.,  30  F. Zweig, Op. C i t . . p. 43.  31  J . Cockburn, The Hungry Heart. A Romantic Biography of James K e i r Hardie (London. 1956). p. 23 and p. 25.  32  J . Brophy, A Miner's L i f e 1964), p. 5.  33  Census Report f o r England and Wales. 1891; Report, B.P.P. 1893 - 94. CVI. p. 23.  General  34  Census Report f o r England and Wales. 1901s Report, B.P.P. 1904, CVIII. p. 38.  General  35  I b i d . , p. 42.  36  Census Report f o r England and Wales, 1911s Report, B.P.P. 191? - 18, XXXV.  37  Census Report f o r England and Wales. 1911s Summary Tables, B.P.P. 1914 - 16, LXXXI, Table 92, p. 417.  38  A.L. Bowley and M.H. Hogg, (London, 1925), p. 170  39  Ibid.  40  From the Derbyshire Times 29th Nov. 1924, c i t e d i n J.E. W i l l i a m s , Op. C i t . , p. 782.  41  From, Census Report f o r England and Wales. 1891: County Tables. Y o r k s h i r e . B.P.P. 1893 - 94. CIV. Table 7. P P . 412 - 413, and, Census Report f o r England and Wales. 1901: County Tables. Y o r k s h i r e , B.P.P. 1902, CXXI, Table 12, pp. 81 - 101.  42  Orwell, Op. C i t . , pp. 56 -  43  T. Burt, Thomas Burt. M.P.. D.C.L.. Pitman and P r i v y C o u n c i l l o r . An Autobiography.(London. 1924), pp. 100 - 101.  p.11.  (Madison and Milwaukee,  General  Has Poverty Diminished?  57.  65  44  Paul de Rousiers, The Labour Question i n B r i t a i n (London, 1896), p. 169.  45.  A case reported i n the Derbyshire Times, 9 t h March 1907, c i t e d i n J.E. W i l l i a m s , Op C i t .  46  C i t e d i n I b i d . , p. 446.  47  B. Benjamin, "The Urban Background t o Public Health Changes i n England and Wales, 1900 - 1950," Population Studies, (1962), Vo. XVII, No. 3. p. 229.  48  I b i d . , p. 235.  49  See S t a t i s t i c a l Memoranda and Charts prepared i n the L o c a l Government Board R e l a t i n g t o P u b l i c Health and S o c i a l Conditions. B.P.P. 1909. C I I I .  50  Cited by B. Benjamin, Op. C i t .  51  From Report of Board of Trade Enquiry i n t o Working Class Rents, etc. . 1908"] p. 146.  52  I b i d . , p. 146.  53  I b i d . , p. 333.  54  B. Benjamin, Op. C i t . , p. 239.  55  Dr. L.W.  56  See B.L. Hutchins, The Working L i f e of Women Fabian Tract No. 157, (London, 1911), p. 12.  57  Census Report f o r England and Wales, 1901: Y o r k s h i r e , Op. C i t . , Table 17, p. 143.  58  Census Report f o r England and Wales, 1911: A d m i n i s t r a t i v e Tables, Y o r k s h i r e , B.P.P. 1912 - 13, CXI, Tahle 17, p. 580.  59  Cited i n E.P. Thompson, The Making of the E n g l i s h Working Class (London, 1968), pp. 267 - 268.  60  I b i d . , p. 268.  61  See A.L. Bowley and M. Hogg, Op. C i t . , p. 192,  62  S i x t h Annual Report of the Commissioner of Labor, 1890, U.S. Department of Labor, (Washington, 1891).  63  I b i d . , Table XIX, pp. 1023 - 1025.  Darra Mair, Op. C i t . , p. 918  County Tables.  66 64  I b i d . , Table XX, p. 1234.  65  E.H. Phelps Brown, Op. C i t . . pp. 22 - 23.  66  A.R. G r i f f i n , Mining i n the East Midlands 1550 - 1947 (London, 1971), p. 114.  67  E.H. Hunt, Regional Wage V a r i a t i o n s i n B r i t a i n 1850 - 1914 (Oxford, 1973), P. 72  68  I b i d . , p. 4In.  69  R. G i f f e n , Return of Rates of Wages i n the Mines and Quarries of the United Kingdom V o l . I l l of the Census of Wages of the Board of Trade, 1886, B.P.P. 1890 - 91, LXXVIII, pp. 14 - 16.  70  J.W.F. Rowe, P. 75.  71  J.W.F. Rowe, Wages i n P r a c t i c e and Theory (London, 1928), P. 31 .  72  I b i d . , p. 42.  73  J..Raynes, Coal and i t s C o n f l i c t s (London, 1928), p. 132.  74  Brophy, Op. C i t . , p. 5  75  I b i d . , p. 6  76  See Rowe, Wages i n P r a c t i c e and Theory.  77  M. Benney, C h a r i t y Main. 1946), p. 24.  78  A.L..Bowley and M. Hogg, Op. C i t . . p. 23.  79  J . Burnett, "Trends i n Bread Consumption," i n Our Changing Fare, Ed. T.C. Barker, (London, 1966), p. 70.  80  Ibid.  81  J . Burnett, Plenty and Want. A S o c i a l H i s t o r y of Diet i n England from 1815 t o the Present Day (London, 1966) . p. 149.  82  I b i d . , p. 152.  83  R.H. Rew, "Reports from the Committee Appointed t o Inquire i n t o the S t a t i s t i c s A v a i l a b l e as a Basis f o r Estimating the Production and Consumption of Meat and M i l k i n the United Kingdom," Journal of the Royal S t a t i s t i c a l S o c i e t y , (Sept. 1904), V o l . LXVII, pp. 368 - 429.  Wages i n the Coal Industry (London, 1923),  A C o a l f i e l d Chronicle (London,  67 84  E.H.  Phelps Brown, Op. C i t . , p. 19.  85  S i x t h Annual Report of U.S. Table XX, pp. 1236 1239.  86  Report of the Board of Trade E n q u i r y i n t o C l a s s Rents, e t c . . 1908"! p. 146.  87  I b i d . . p. 147 and  88  C i t e d by J . Burnett i n "Plenty and Want: A S o c i a l H i s t o r y of E n g l i s h D i e t " , H i s t o r y Today. ( A p r i l 1964) Vol.XIV, No. 4. pp. 226.  89  See P. Reeves, T r a c t No. 162,  90  J . B u r n e t t , P l e n t y and Want, 1815 Op. C i t . , pp. 33 - 34.  91  S i x t h Annual Report of U.S. Table XX, pp. 1240 - 1243.  92  Paul de R o u s i e r s , Op. C i t . , p.  93  Memoranda, S t a t i s t i c a l Tables and Charts Prepared i n the Board of Trade w i t h Reference t o V a r i o u s Matters B e a r i n g on B r i t i s h and F o r e i g n Trade and I n d u s t r i a l C o n d i t i o n s . B.P.P. 1903, LXVII, p. 216.  94  Report of Board of Trade E n q u i r y i n t o Working Rents, e t c . , 1908, p. x l i v .  Class  95  S i x t h Annual Report of U.S.  1890.  96  J.R.  1092 - 1094.  Leifchild,  Labor Commission,  1890,  Working  334.  Family L i f e on a Pound a Week (London, 1912).  Fabian  t o the Present Day,  Labor Commission.  1890.  183.  Labor Commission.  Our C o a l and Our C o a l - P i t s ; the People  i n them and the Scenes around them (London, 1856), p.  199.  68 CHAPTER I I I MARRIAGE, FERTILITY AND HOUSEHOLD SIZE  The primary o b j e c t i v e of t h i s chapter i s t o examine the core of the c o a l m i n i n g community — family.  the household of the mining  P e t e r L a s l e t t ' s d e f i n i t i o n of the household,  1  as  the n u c l e a r f a m i l y with a d d i t i o n s such as l o d g e r s or k i n l i v i n g w i t h i n the c o n f i n e s of the home, and under the charge of one head, i s the model which I s h a l l use.  This w i l l  involve  an examination of marriage p a t t e r n s , f e r t i l i t y and f a m i l y size,  the r o l e s of f a m i l y members, and f i n a l l y the provisions;;  made f o r aged k i n and the m i g r a t o r y p o p u l a t i o n of young miners. There are many f e a t u r e s here t h a t d i s t i n g u i s h the miners  from  other o c c u p a t i o n a l groups, but my main concern i s w i t h the larger-than-average household s i z e t o be found i n c o a l m i n i n g communities. The mean household s i z e f o r England and Wales remained f a i r l y constant a t a l i t t l e below 4 . 7 5 persons f o r t h r e e c e n t u r i e s up u n t i l 1911  .  The Census Reports f o r England  and Wales provide the f o l l o w i n g t e n y e a r l y mean sizes* f o r f a m i l i e s or separate c o r e s i d e n t domestic groups which L a s l e t t termed household  groups:  1861 - - 4 . 4 7 1871  of o c c u p i e r s ,  — 4.50  1881 - - 4 . 6 1  1891 — 4 . 7 3 1901 — 4 . 6 2 1911  - - 4.4  3  In c o n t r a s t , we f i n d the f o l l o w i n g mean household  sizes  from the Census Reports f o r c e r t a i n c o a l m i n i n g d i s t r i c t s , compared with England and Wales:  69 For a l l dwellings  England and Wales Durham Northumberland Rotherham Barnsley  1901  1911  4.62 5.04 4.82 4.99 4.78  4.51 4.95 4.73 4.80 4.77  In c e r t a i n South Yorkshire C o l l i e r y communities, during the period of most r a p i d expansion a t the t u r n of the century, the mean household s i z e was even higher.  For instance:  1901 Urban D i s t r i c t  Altofts Bolton-uponDearne Wath-uponDearne Cudworth Darfield Hoyland Nether Thurnscoe  Population  Number of Households  4,024  805  3,828  670  8.515  3,408 4,194 12,464 2,366  Approx. Mean Household Size 5.0  1,644 655 819 2,441 428  5.7  5.2 5.2 5.1 5.1 5.5  The e f f e c t s of t h i s average household s i z e which was r e f l e c t e d throughout the c o a l f i e l d s , are demonstrated consist e n t l y i n the Census Reports  f o r 1861 t o 1911, when the  coalmining areas of Durham, Northumberland, South Wales and the West R i d i n g are c i t e d as d i s p l a y i n g the worst cases of overcrowding i n the country. The reason f o r these discrepanc i e s i n the, household s i z e are t o be found i n the high f e r t i l i t y r a t e s of coalmining communities, and the common custom of t a k i n g aged parents and lodgers i n t o the home.  70  I The f i r s t aspect of f a m i l y l i f e t o be examined i s the i n s t i t u t i o n of marriage.  The most noteworthy f a c t o r about  marriage i n the coalmining communities  i s the e a r l y age at  which the coalminers and t h e i r wives married.  As e a r l y as  1834, the Poor Law Commissioners i n Durham noted that "... the miners assumed the most important o f f i c e of manhood at the e a r l i e s t age at which nature and passion prompted." ( s i c ) . More than f i f t y years l a t e r , i n 1886, the Annual Report of the R e g i s t r a r - G e n e r a l published the f o l l o w i n g t a b l e demons t r a t i n g that marriage occurred at an e a r l i e r age w i t h i n the coalmining group than w i t h i n any other occupational group. TABLE I  Average ages at Marriage of Bachelors and S p i n s t e r s i n Occupational Groups. 1884 - 1885~. 7  Occupational Group  Bachelors (Years)  Spinsters (Years)  Miners T e x t i l e Hands Shoemakers and T a i l o r s Artisans Labourers Commercial C l e r k s Shopkeepers and Shopmen Farmers and Farmers' Sons P r o f e s s i o n a l and Independent  24.06 24.38 24. 92  22.46 23.43 24.31  j  31.22  Class  25.35 25.56 26.25 26.67 29.23  23.70  23.66 24.43 24.22 26.91 26.40  The average age at marriage f o r a l l c l a s s e s i n England and Wales at t h i s date was 26.1 years f o r men and 24.6 years f o r women.  I t can be seen t h e r e f o r e , that the miners and  t h e i r wives married g e n e r a l l y , two years e a r l i e r than the average f o r a l l other c l a s s e s . The Royal S t a t i s t i c a l S o c i e t y devoted much time t o the question of d e c l i n i n g f e r t i l i t y i n England and Wales i n the  e a r l i e r p a r t of t h i s century. Society's and  The t a b l e s o f f e r e d i n the  j o u r n a l from t h e i r i n v e s t i g a t i o n s i n t o f e r t i l i t y  the age of the wife a t marriage, add support  t o the view  that the miners d i s p l a y e d the lowest mean age a t marriage o f any  s o c i a l or o c c u p a t i o n a l group.  In Table  I I below, the  c l a s s i f i c a t i o n s I t o VIII are those e s t a b l i s h e d by the Census Report of 1911, and represent  the f o l l o w i n g  socio-occupational  groups: I -- P r o f e s s i o n a l and Higher II -- Employers i n Industry  Administrative  and the R e t a i l Trade  I I I -- S k i l l e d IV -- S e m i - S k i l l e d V -- U n s k i l l e d VI -- T e x t i l e s VII -- Miners V I I I -- A g r i c u l t u r a l C l a s s e s (Note:  T h i s c l a s s i f i c a t i o n w i l l be used throughout the  chapter)  TABLE I I shows the average age a t marriage o f the w i f e , a c c o r d i n g t o s o c i a l c l a s s and the d u r a t i o n of the marriage i n years  i n 1911.  TABLE I I  To show the average age of the wife at.marriage, i n marriages of v a r y i n g d u r a t i o n and s o c i a l c l a s s , 1911. Date Duration Average Age a t Marriage i n Years of of age S o c i a l Class Marr Marriage f o r a l l iage i n Years the i n 1911 occupied classes I III IV V VII II VI VIII 1906 -11 1901 -06  0 - 5  25.3  26.6 26.1 25.1  5 - 10  24.8  26.1 25.6  25.2  24.8 25.1  24.6 24.7 24.3  25.0  23.6  24.9  23.3  24.7  72  TABLE I I - continued Date Duration Average age f o r of of a l l the Marriage Marr iage i n Years occupied i n 1911 c l a s s e s 1896 -1901 1891 -96 1886 -91 1881 -86 1871 -81  Age at Marriage i n Years S o c i a l Class I  II  IV  III  V  VII  VI  VIII  24.7 23.1 24.7  15  24.5  25.7 2 5 . 2 24.2  15 - 20  24.2  2 5 . 3 24.9 24.0 24.1 23.7 24.2 22.8 24.3  20 - 25  23.8  24.7 24.4 2 3 . 5 23.7 2 3 . 3 23.6 22.5  25 -  30  23.4  24.2 23.9 23.1 23.2 22.9 2 3 . 0 22.1 23.4  30 - 4o  23.0  23.7 2 3 . 3 22.6 22.8 22.5  10 -  24.4 24.0  22.5  24.0  21.6 2 3 . 0  Prom t h i s t a b l e i t can be seen that the average age a t marriage of the w i f e , i n a l l s o c i a l c l a s s e s , had graduallyincreased from the date of the e a r l i e s t marriages recorded i n t h i s t a b l e , i n 1 8 7 1 , u n t i l the l a t e s t i n 1 9 1 1 . For instance, the e a r l i e s t recorded average age a t marriage was f o r those miners* wives i n Class VII who had married t h i r t y or f o r t y years before, ( I 8 7 I t o 1881) a t 21,6 years of age. ages g r a d u a l l y rose from that time.  The average  As might be expected,  the wives of the upper and middle c l a s s p r o f e s s i o n a l groups recorded the highest average ages a t marriage.  However, we  must note that i n a l l cases, the wives of the miners record the e a r l i e s t average age a t marriage.  The group which most  c l o s e l y resemble the miners i n t h i s question i s the u n s k i l l e d class —  a comparison which w i l l be made again i n t h i s chapter,  with respect t o f e r t i l i t y . In 1911, l e s s than one-third of p r o f e s s i o n a l men's wives were married before the age of 25 years, whereas three 9  quarters of miners' wives were married before t h i s age.  73  Table I (see page 70) i n d i c a t e d that on average the women i n the coalmining communities married a t an e a r l i e r age than the men.  An examination of a sample of c o a l towns i n South  Yorkshire shows t h i s more c l e a r l y .  In 1891, the c o a l towns  of P o n t e f r a c t , Hemsworth and Barnsley displayed the f o l l o w i n g conjugal c o n d i t i o n s at s p e c i f i e d ages, which are t y p i c a l of the c o a l towns. TABLE I I I - To show the conjugal status of men and women i n , three sample c o a l towns a t various ages i n 1891.  Q  Town and Under 15 Conjugal Years 202515Status PONTEFRACT 3,142 2 , 1 1 6 1,363 1,324 Male Single 634 2,331 1,161 Female 1,123 iMarried  Widowed  Married  widowed  Widowed  65-  398  232  110  67  219  120  71  60  1,031 364  0  113 1,062 3,047 2 , 5 9 9 1,686  843 367  0  0  0  0  _1  2,994  786  571  2,788  538  0  Female Male  8  111  164  198 332  131  291  371 636  479  185  80  37  22  276  232  96  47  29  30  3  55 _J2  Male  0  2  143  752  663  451  286 152  Female  0  38  237  752  619  412  223 107  Male  0  1  2  19  31  42  64  1  2  15  43  51  95 143  5 , 4 2 3 3,765 2,487  953  430  198  96  5,888 1,756 1,008  292  152  87  64  0 Female BARNSLEY 18,863 Male Single Female |18,601  Married  55-  601 2 , 8 7 1 2 , 9 1 1 1,902  Male  Female HEMSWORTH Male Eingle Female  45-  35-  Male  0  Female Male  0 0  Female  0  25 1,245 5,344 4 , 7 7 2 3,184  95  1,605 719  251 2,093 6,146 4,208 2 , 7 7 5 1,379 489 340 109 228 0 493 •9 0  17  128  290  471  657  850  74  Here we f i n d a high rate of marriage a t the e a r l i e r ages, with the number of married women exceeding the number of married men at these ages, and an excess number of s i n g l e young men, compared t o s i n g l e young women. A large number of young women married between the ages of 20 and 24 years. We cannot t e l l how many of the women i n the column 25 t o 34 years a c t u a l l y contracted marriage w i t h i n that age period as t h i s t a b l e only records those who had a married s t a t u s at those ages i n 1891, and does not show when those women were a c t u a l l y married.  We must assume that some of those women  recorded as being married i n the age group 25 t o 34 years a c t u a l l y contracted marriage before t h e i r 2 5 t h b i r t h d a y . This same argument can be a p p l i e d t o a l l age groups over twenty years. The large discrepancy between the numbers of those young women and young men who are reported as being married before the age of 35 years i s reversed when the number of married men exceed married women a f t e r the age of 35 years.  This i s  accounted f o r by the f a c t that many older men took younger women as t h e i r wives.  A f t e r the age of 35 years, moreover,  the l a r g e r number of widows compared t o widowers becomes more pronounced. Because of a lack of d i v e r s i t y of employment i n the c o a l mining towns, a marriage p a t t e r n developed whereby the daughters of miners married miners, who i n t u r n propagated a coalmining family.  Marriage was contracted at an unusually e a r l y age  because the miners reached t h e i r highest earning c a p a c i t y normally by the age of twenty years.  Those who worked a t the  75  surface of the c o l l i e r y earned the l e a s t of a l l , and they married g e n e r a l l y a f t e r the age of 35 years."'""'"  Employment  opportunities f o r women were s t r i c t l y l i m i t e d i n these s i n g l e industry towns, and marriage therefore assumed a greater importance f o r them.  Reasons f o r e a r l y marriage w i t h i n the  coalmining c l a s s are discussed i n greater d e t a i l i n the f o l lowing chapter on women. One of the most d i s t i n c t i v e aspects of married l i f e i n the coalmining community was the s t r i c t d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n of the r o l e s of husband and wife.  Role d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n i n the  t r a d i t i o n a l nuclear f a m i l y as described by Z e l d i t c h , c l o s e l y approximates t o the s i t u a t i o n that e x i s t e d i n the coalmining family.  He describes the f a t h e r as the instrumental leader  of the nuclear f a m i l y : leader of the hunt, etc.  "Ego i s boss manager of the farm; Ego i s the f i n a l court of appeals,  f i n a l judge and executor of punishment, d i s c i p l i n e , and c o n t r o l over the c h i l d r e n of the f a m i l y . "  The mother on the other  hand i s the expressive leader: "Ego I s the mediator,  concili-  a t o r , of the f a m i l y ; ego soothes over disputes, resolves hostilities  i n the f a m i l y .  Ego i s a f f e c t i o n a t e , s o l i c i t o u s ,  warm, emotional t o the c h i l d r e n of the f a m i l y ; ego i s the 'comforter,' the'consoler,* i s r e l a t i v e l y indulgent, r e l a 12  tively  unpunishing,"  In the coalmining f a m i l y , the f a t h e r was the sole breadwinner, unless he was fortunate t o have sons working too, and as such, represented the community t o the f a m i l y , and vice versa.  The wife's primary r o l e s were reproductive and  76 and e d u c a t i o n a l . , With her..:husband absent a t work f o r much of the day, the w i f e ' s r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s i n the home and  family  were strengthened, and she emerged as the primary s o c i a l i z i n g agent w i t h i n the f a m i l y .  She h e l d more emotional and  senti-  mental importance than the f a t h e r . M a r i t a l r o l e s w i t h i n the c o a l m i n i n g community were c l e a r l y set when compared t o the community where the w i f e was When the coalminer w r i t e r Jack Lawson married i n 1904, emphatic  employed. he  about the set r o l e s he and h i s wife assumed —  was  "For  13 me the p i t , f o r her' the home."  ^ Because of the l a c k of  female employment, the man's primary f u n c t i o n as the breadwinner was  indisputable.  The man  h i s f a m i l y through h i s own by h i s f e l l o w s .  who  f a i l e d to provide f o r  f a i l i n g s was  regarded w i t h contempt  Through h i s work, the husband was  responsible  f o r the s t a t u s of h i s f a m i l y and i t s r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h the r e s t of the community.  The w i f e was  r e s p o n s i b l e f o r the  s o c i a l i z a t i o n of the f a m i l y and the management of the home, and, by a c t i n g as the mediator between the c h i l d r e n and the f a t h e r , she became the c e n t r e of a f f e c t i o n and It may  emotions.  be i n f e r r e d from these d i s t i n c t r o l e s t h a t the  c o a l m i n i n g f a m i l y was  i n f a c t mother-centred.  Indeed, i n a  study of a c o a l m i n i n g town i n the U n i t e d S t a t e s i n the 1950's, i t was  found t h a t the m a j o r i t y of the f a m i l i e s i n t e r v i e w e d  were, f o r the reasons c i t e d above, m o t h e r - o r i e n t a t e d . existed  "... a s o c i a l arrangement  i n which f a m i l y  There  activities  and g o a l s are p r i m a r i l y organized around the wishes and power 14 of the mother."  Furthermore, the f a t h e r was  constantly  threatened by death or i n j u r y , and so l i f e became organized  77 around the mother "... and  who  represents  i n her  own  way  stability  p r e d i c t a b i l i t y i n the home." The  distinctive, traditional role differentiation i n coal-  mining f a m i l i e s can be demonstrated more c l e a r l y i f compared with the s i t u a t i o n which e x i s t e d where female employment normal.  was  Female employment tended t o break down t r a d i t i o n a l  family roles. recruitment  Thus i n n i n e t e e n t h  of women and  century  Lancashire,  c h i l d r e n weakened the  "the  traditional  domestic b a s i s f o r c h i l d - r e a r i n g .  Because the  f o r the a d u l t male i n the  (cotton) were l i m i t e d , h i s  industry  s t a t u s as c h i e f breadwinner i n the f a m i l y was Moreover, the s e m i - a p p r e n t i c e s h i p the c o t t o n i n d u s t r y was the  i n danger."  system of son t o f a t h e r i n  d e c l i n i n g a f t e r the 1830's,,.  economic a u t h o r i t y , i n s t r u c t i o n , and  with the a p p r e n t i c e s h i p  opportunities  "Hence  control associated  system were probably absent i n the  weaving rooms." The  apprenticeship  of son t o f a t h e r p e r s i s t e d i n c o a l -  mining i n t o the t w e n t i e t h an economic and  century.  T h i s f a c t o r , which promoted  s o c i a l i z i n g l i n k between f a t h e r and  the d i s t i n c t d i v i s i o n of r o l e s between husband and economic and  emotional spheres, p e r s i s t e d i n the  f a m i l y long a f t e r they had i n areas of g r e a t e r  son, wife  and in  coalmining  disappeared from those f a m i l i e s  industrial diversification.  This  points  towards a more t r a d i t i o n a l l y o r i e n t a t e d s o c i e t y i n the c o a l mining  areas.  78  II Marriage patterns and the d i s t i n c t husband and wife r o l e s served to set the coalmining population apart from other occupational groups, but i t was  i n f e r t i l i t y and f a m i l y s i z e ,  above a l l , that the greatest d i s t i n c t i o n s  occurred.  A f t e r the l a t e 1870's there was a general d e c l i n e i n the b i r t h r a t e i n England and Wales. b i r t h rate f e l l by one-third.  Between I876 and 1920,  the  This was a matter of great con-  cern to contemporary s o c i a l s t a t i s t i c i a n s who  i d e n t i f i e d the  decline as being >due to a f a l l i n p r o d u c t i v i t y r a t h e r than a d e c l i n e i n the marriage r a t e .  I876 was  pin-pointed as the  t u r n i n g point i n the downward pattern of the b i r t h r a t e by those s o c i a l observers who  saw the d e c l i n e as being caused by l ft  voluntary l i m i t a t i o n of f a m i l y s i z e .  Table IV demonstrates  the d e c l i n i n g b i r t h rate f o r England and Wales i n the period 1871 to 1911. TABLE IV To show t o t a l b i r t h s per 1.000 population i n England and Wales, 1871 to 1911 19 Date T o t a l b i r t h s per 1 , 0 0 0 population 1871 1876 1881 1886 1891 1896 1901 1906 1911  35.0 36.3 33.9  32.8 31.4  29.6 28.5 27.2 24.3  The idea that the decline i n f e r t i l i t y was  caused by the  widespread degeneracy of the h e a l t h of the population r e j e c t e d by most contemporary observers.  was  The d e c l i n e i n the  economic importance of c h i l d r e n as wage earners, and  greater  79 opportunities  of employment f o r women, combined w i t h a d i s -  semination of knowledge on b i r t h c o n t r o l methods  pointed  r a t h e r t o l i m i t a t i o n by deli'-berate v o l i t i o n as the major f a c t o r i n the f a l l i n g b i r t h r a t e s .  T.H.C. Stevenson, who was  the Census i n v e s t i g a t o r and t a b u l a t o r f o r 1911,  stated  the Royal S t a t i s t i c a l S o c i e t y i n 1906 t h a t the f a l l i n g  before birth  r a t e was due n e i t h e r t o p o v e r t y nor p h y s i c a l degeneracy, but was  r a t h e r a s s o c i a t e d w i t h r i s i n g standards of comfort and  r i s i n g expectations.  Moreover, w i t h t h e r a i s i n g of the s c h o o l 20  l e a v i n g age, The  c h i l d r e n were no longer a great  source of p r o f i t .  Fabian S o c i e t y r e i t e r a t e d t h i s viewpoint i n the f o l l o w i n g 21  year. Others have i d e n t i f i e d the growth of a d e s i r e f o r emancip a t i o n among women as a c o n t r i b u t o r y f a c t o r i n the l i m i t a t i o n 22 of the f a m i l y  which would e x p l a i n why the d e c l i n e i n the  b i r t h r a t e occurred and  first  of a l l among the higher  social  orders,  among those groups, such as the t e x t i l e workers, where  female employment was high. gations  F. Zweig, whose s o c i a l  of working women took p l a c e  discovered  investi-  i n the l a t e 1940's, a l s o  t h i s p a t t e r n whereby wage-earning wives were f a r  more l i k e l y t o p r a c t i s e b i r t h c o n t r o l than those wives who remained a t home. "I do not mean t o s a y t h a t a l l women workers make such c a l c u l a t i o n s (about b i r t h c o n t r o l ) , but the t e n dency i s t h e r e , and they a r e more i n c l i n e d t o do so than 21 women s t a y i n g a t home f o r good." ^ Although n a t u r a l methods of b i r t h c o n t r o l were w i d e l y p r a c t i s e d by the working c l a s s , and a r t i f i c i a l  means were  80  employed by the middle and upper c l a s s e s , a f t e r 1880 the a v a i l a b i l i t y of contraceptives was i n c r e a s i n g .  "With the  exception of the o r a l c o n t r a c e p t i v e , there i s not a s i n g l e b i r t h c o n t r o l method i n existence today ( 1 9 6 3 ) which was not oh.  already a v a i l a b l e , and a v a i l a b l e i n greater v a r i e t y i n 1 8 9 0 . " This throws a good deal of weight behind the arguments of those who c i t e d an increase  i n a r t i f i c i a l l i m i t a t i o n as a cause  i n the d e c l i n e of p r o d u c t i v i t y . Further, Peel s t a t e s , "The trade l i t e r a t u r e of t h i s period gives no support t o the cont e n t i o n that such contraceptives as were a v a i l a b l e s i x t y years ago were g e n e r a l l y crude, u n r e l i a b l e , expensive and d i f f i c u l t to o b t a i n . "  2 5  I f we examine the coalminers t o see how they f i t i n t o t h i s p a t t e r n of general decline i n f e r t i l i t y , I t w i l l be seen that they provide a s i g n i f i c a n t contrast t o other socio-occup a t i o n a l groups i n that they maintained a high average r a t e of b i r t h throughout t h i s period of d e c l i n e .  The b i r t h r a t e  of the miners' c l a s s remained higher than a l l other groups and i n f a c t only began t o decline a t a l a t e r stage.  While the  general d e c l i n e had s t a r t e d between 1861 and 1 8 7 1 , the miners' f e r t i l i t y d i d not begin t o f a l l u n t i l between 18?1 and 1881, and even then decreased a t a slower r a t e than other c l a s s e s . Thus: .....there was much more d i f f e r e n c e between the average doctor's f a m i l y and the average miner's i n 1906 than t h i r t y years before. Among brides of the 185O's, f o r instance, the miners' were t o have about eight c h i l d r e n each, t o the s i x of the doctors' and lawyers'? among those of the e a r l y 1880's the miners' were s t i l l t o have about seven, but the {, ' doctors' and lawyers' now not even so many as four. 2  81 The miners i n f a c t outnumbered the u n s k i l l e d poor i n f e r t i l i t y r a t e s d e s p i t e the f a c t t h a t g e n e r a l l y speaking t h e i r work and l i f e  s t y l e d i d not merit  u n s k i l l e d or poor. s i z e occurred  the d e s c r i p t i o n of e i t h e r  T h e i r most r a p i d r e d u c t i o n  i n family  between 1900 and 1911, but even i n 1911,  Stearns suggests t h a t there was s t i l l an average of 3 . 6 dren per f a m i l y .  According  Moreover the coalmining  chil-  t o h i s c a l c u l a t i o n s , the miners  were the only l a r g e category of i n d u s t r i a l workers w i t h l i e s w i t h more than three  Peter  c h i l d r e n at t h i s point  i n time.  c l a s s experienced an extremely  i n f a n t m o r t a l i t y r a t e so t h a t ,  fami-  high  "the average miner's wife had  t o bear about 4|- c h i l d r e n t o achieve the average f a m i l y s i z e even i n 1911."  2  7  Table V shows how a higher b i r t h r a t e p e r s i s t e d i n the coalmining for  c o u n t i e s when compared t o the average b i r t h r a t e  England and Wales.  TABLE V To show the b i r t h r a t e per thousand i n the coalmining c o u n t i e s and England and Wales i n 1881 and 1901. Z  G  T o t a l B i r t h Rate (Crude)  Area  England and Wales Durham Northumberland West R i d i n g Glamorganshire Monmouthshire  1881  1901  33.9 39.5 35.1 34.6 37.35 34.0  •28.5 35.48 32.15 28.56 35.25 35.16  The b i r t h r a t e s f o r the West R i d i n g are a f f e c t e d by the existence volved  of a l a r g e s e c t i o n of the p o p u l a t i o n  i n the t e x t i l e  industry.  counties where coalmining  who were i n -  However, the r a t e s f o r the  dominated a l l other  i n d u s t r i e s , are  82 s i g n i f i c a n t l y higher than the n a t i o n a l r a t e s .  There was  a  degree of decline i n the rates between 1881 and 1Q01  in a l l  areas except Monmouthshire, where there was a s l i g h t  increase  i n f e r t i l i t y between these two dates. was  This d e c l i n e , however,  slower than among other c l a s s e s and i s demonstrated more  c l e a r l y i n the f o l l o w i n g t a b l e , again using the eight s o c i a l classes i d e n t i f i e d by the 1911 Census Report. TABLE VI To show the annual percentage decreases i n c l a s s ~ f e r t i l i t y r a t e s , standardized f o r age of marriage. Year of Marriage  I  1851 - 61 to 1861 - 71  .51  1861 - 71 to 1871 - 81 1871 - 81 to 1881 - 86  S o c i a l Classes I I I I I IV V  VI  VII +0.1  VIII  Total  .49  .40  .71  .40  .39  .28  .32  1.62  1.28  .94  .85 .66  1.04  .57  .67  .92  2.01  1.74  1.28  1.27  .61  .70  1.24  1.17  .88  With the sole exception of the miners during the  first  p e r i o d , f e r t i l i t y had diminished c o n s i s t e n t l y f o r a l l s o c i a l classes.  Innes, from whom t h i s t a b l e i s drawn, concludes that  "although the decline was c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of a l l the c l a s s e s , the lower the status of the c l a s s , the more slowly d i d i t 30 p a r t i c i p a t e i n the downward t r e n d , " Having looked at the b i r t h r a t e s f o r the i n d i v i d u a l c o a l mining counties and having compared the decline i n the  ferti-  l i t y of the miners with other s o c i a l groups, we must now compare the a c t u a l b i r t h rates of the miners with those of other s o c i a l classes.  Table VII shows both t o t a l and e f f e c t i v e  f e r t i l i t y f o r a l l classes i n 1911 —  t o t a l f e r t i l i t y being  the  83'  numbers of c h i l d r e n born, e f f e c t i v e f e r t i l i t y being the numbers of s u r v i v i n g c h i l d r e n .  The standardized rates are those c a l -  culated by the s t a t i s t i c i a n T.H.C. Stevenson. TABLE V I I To show the f e r t i l i t y of the eight s o c i a l classes i n 1911. 31 S o c i a l Class III  II  IV  V  VI  VII  VIII  Children born per 100 f a m i l i e s Crude Rates  190  241  279  287  337  238  358  327  Standardized Rates  213  248  278  285  317  247  348  320  C h i l d r e n s u r v i v i n g per 100 f a m i l i e s Crude Rates  168  205  232  237  268  191  282  284  Standardized Rates  187  211  231  236  253  197  274  278  Children dead per  1 000 F  born  Crude Rates  116  147  167  173  206  200  213  131  Standardized Rates  123  150  167  173  202  203  212  129  A l l these f i g u r e s are at a maximum f o r miners except that the miners lose t h e i r i n i t i a l advantage of a higher t o t a l f e r t i l i t y t o the a g r i c u l t u r a l classes (Class V I I I ) , when considering effective f e r t i l i t y .  The high death r a t e among i n -  fants which c h a r a c t e r i z e d the coalmining c l a s s , and the r e l a t i v e l y healthy conditions of the r u r a l , a g r i c u l t u r a l environment, had an e q u a l i z i n g e f f e c t on the e f f e c t i v e f e r t i l i t y of these two groups.  However, t h i s t a b l e shows q u i t e c l e a r l y  the high b i r t h and death rates which p r e v a i l e d i n coalmining communities, and i n d i c a t e s that despite a high i n f a n t mortal i t y r a t e , miners' f a m i l i e s were s t i l l s i g n i f i c a n t l y l a r g e r  84 than those of other c l a s s e s . F i n a l l y , Tahle V I I I , taken from T.H.C. Stevenson,  draws  together a l l the p o i n t s d i s c u s s e d above and a g a i n shows how the coalminers were d i s t i n g u i s h e d from other groups with r e g a r d to  fertility.  Stevenson  has s t a n d a r d i z e d h i s r a t e s so t h a t  each f i g u r e i n t h i s t a b l e i s expressed as a percentage  of the  combined r a t e s f o r a l l the e i g h t c l a s s e s a t the same s p e c i f i e d d u r a t i o n of marriage,  100 per cent being the mean b i r t h  rate.  Both t o t a l and e f f e c t i v e f e r t i l i t y a r e c o n s i d e r e d i n t h i s table. TABLE V I I I  A) T o t a l Date of Marriage  1906 - 11 1901 - 06 1896-1901 1891 - 96 1886 - 91 1881 - 86 1871 - 81 1861 - 71 1851 - 61  To show the s t a n d a r d i z e d t o t a l and e f f e c t i v e f e r t i l i t y of marriages of v a r i o u s dates i n each s o c i a l c l a s s , as a percentage of the c o r r e s p o n d i n g r a t e s fpr-QGOUPied persons of a l l c l a s s e s . j o i n t l y . 1911.  Fertility Duration of Marriage i n Years  0 5 10 15 20 25 30  5 10 15 20 25 30  - 40 40 - 50  50 - 60  B) E f f e c t i v e  1906 - 11 1901 - 06 1896-1901 1891 - 96 1886 - 91 1881 - 86 1871 - 81 1861 - 71 1851 - 61  -  0 5 10 15 20 25 30  I  II  III  IV  V  VI  VII  VIII  80  92 91 89 88 87 89 93 96 99  98 98 99 99 100 100 101 101 101  102 101 101 101 101 101 101 100 99  114  87 86 86 88 90 92 93 94 94  120 122 125 127 126  114 114 114  93 94 92 90 90 92 96 99 102  99 99 99 100 100 101 100 100 98  102 101 101 101 101 101 101 100 98  111 109 109 109 107 106 103 100 99  84  116 116 119 120 119 116 110 105 97  79 76 74 74 76  81  88 89  112 114  113 112 110 107 104  103  124  117 113 108  115 114 114  109  104  105  Fertility  -  5 10 15 20 25 30  - 40 40 - 50  50 - 60  83  84 81  79 79  81  86 91 91  83 83 85 87 89 89 88 91  116 118  119 122 122 122 116 111 111  85 The  high t o t a l f e r t i l i t y  of the miners l o s e s i t s l e a d  a f t e r the m o r t a l i t y r a t e i s taken i n t o account and e f f e c t i v e fertility  i s considered.  Once more, i t can be  a g r i c u l t u r a l group i s i n a favourable orders  shows t h a t a  lower higher  of c h i l d r e n s u r v i v e among t h e i r ranks than i n  other groups. fertility  the  p o s i t i o n among the  of s o c i e t y , f o r e f f e c t i v e f e r t i l i t y  proportion  seen that  Though t o t a l f e r t i l i t y  i s l e s s , the e f f e c t i v e  of the a g r i c u l t u r a l p o p u l a t i o n  exceeds t h a t of  the  coalminers i n some i n s t a n c e s . The  t a b l e a l s o shows, through Stevenson's method of  s t a n d a r d i z a t i o n , t h a t though f e r t i l i t y  was  decreasing  in a l l  s o c i a l c l a s s e s , i n the case of the miners (Class V I I ) , a g r i c u l t u r a l workers (VIII) and fertility  was  decreasing  the u n s k i l l e d c l a s s (V),  at a much slower r a t e when compared  t o those . s o c i o - o c c u p a t i o n a l  c l a s s e s who  to e x e r c i s e f a m i l y l i m i t a t i o n .  l a t e r years, up u n t i l 1911,  were more i n c l i n e d  Consequently, these  groups show an i n c r e a s i n g l y higher  three  percentage of f e r t i l i t y  when compared t o the r e s t of  s o c i a l c l a s s e s , than they d i d i n e a r l i e r years before e f f e c t s of b i r t h c o n t r o l were f e l t . l i m i t a t i o n may  The  be noted i n the higher  the  the  s o c i a l groups and  within  rates  demonstrated by these c l a s s e s .  Among a l l the  c l a s s e s whose t o t a l f e r t i l i t y  than the mean of 100,  was  the mining c l a s s showed the  higher  highest  f i g u r e s throughout the whole p e r i o d covered by t h i s t a b l e . The  slowness w i t h which the miners adopted v o l u n t a r y  l i m i t a t i o n i s shown by the  increase  in  e f f e c t s of f a m i l y  the t e x t i l e worker c l a s s (Class VI) by the d e c r e a s i n g of f e r t i l i t y  the  of t h i s higher  family  than  86 average f e r t i l i t y from eight per cent i n 1851 - 1861 t o 27 per cent i n 1891 - 1896.  As the miners g r a d u a l l y began t o  l i m i t t h e i r f a m i l i e s t h e i r higher than average f e r t i l i t y  fell  s l i g h t l y t o 20 per cent above the mean i n the f i n a l p e r i o d , 1906 t o 1911. There are f i v e main reasons f o r the persistence of the high b i r t h r a t e i n the mining classes during a period of general decline.  F i r s t l y , the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y e a r l y marriage w i t h i n  the coalmining groups, discussed i n the e a r l y part of t h i s chapter, meant that the l e g a l c h i l d - b e a r i n g period was lengthened.  The coalmining population g e n e r a l l y began t o  procreate f a m i l i e s a t an e a r l i e r stage than other groups.  occupational  Secondly, with the l a c k of o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r female  employment, the women became more home-centred and f a m i l y orientated.  The f o l l o w i n g two chapters discuss i n d e t a i l  how wifehood and motherhood was the woman's v o c a t i o n i n the coalmining community. The b i r t h r a t e f i g u r e s f o r the coalmining communities i n d i c a t e that b i r t h c o n t r o l was slow t o be adopted by the miners and t h e i r wives.  They were not motivated  to limit  t h e i r f a m i l i e s t o the extent of those groups who f i r s t practised b i r t h control.  Among the upper and middle c l a s s e s ,  where Feminist ideas and i n c r e a s i n g desires f o r l e i s u r e were f i r s t experienced  J J  and among those i n d u s t r i a l classes where  the women commonly worked, .rthe advantages of f a m i l y l i m i t a t i o n were obvious. T.H.C. Stevenson suggested that the f a l l i n f e r t i l i t y a f f e c t e d those classes f i r s t who had access t o information  8? on b i r t h c o n t r o l , and  l a s t l y , those " l e a s t immediately  a c c e s s i b l e t o such i n f l u e n c e , "  y  In-  Certainly, b i r t h rate  s t a t i s t i c s suggest that f a m i l y l i m i t a t i o n began p r i m a r i l y at the top of the exception  s o c i a l s c a l e , (the t e x t i l e workers are  here) and  permeated down through the  ranks.  Perhaps the a d o p t i o n of b i r t h c o n t r o l was question was  not  so much a  of n e c e s s i t y or a c c e s s i b i l i t y of i n f o r m a t i o n ,  more a matter of a t t i t u d e and  r e c e p t i o n of i d e a s .  but Phelps  Brown noted t h a t changes i n f a s h i o n u s u a l l y o r i g i n a t e at top  of the s o c i a l h i e r a r c h y , and  to how  spread downwards  f a r people are aware of new  to them.  He  i d e a s , and  are  the  according responsive  s a i d t h a t the f o l l o w i n g f a c t o r s motivated  spread of f a m i l y  the  the  limitation:  Such are the growth of a p e r s o n a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r the w e l l - b e i n g of the c h i l d r e n one has brought i n t o the world; the spread of the s c i e n t i f i c outlook, breaking down i n h i b i t i o n s , and i n c r e a s i n g men's b e l i e f i n t h e i r power t o c o n t r o l t h e i r l i v e s ; the extension of the small f a m i l y simply as a f a s h i o n w i t h which men conform t o a v o i d a p p e a r i n g unusual; and e s p e c i a l l y the r i s i n g s t a t u s of women, which made wives l e s s w i l l i n g to be exhausted by pregnancies and worn out by f a m i l y c a r e s , and (though t h i s more slowly) r a i s e d the c o s t of c h i l d r e n by g i v i n g a daughter n e a r l y as great a c l a i m on her p a r e n t s ' purse as a son. 35 The  coalminers were slow t o be a f f e c t e d by changes of  t h i s nature.  Though they were probably aware of methods of  f a m i l y l i m i t a t i o n , as P e e l suggests t h a t t h i s knowledge g e n e r a l , the l a c k of such m o t i v a t i o n s a slow response t o new  discussed  i d e a s , perhaps goes f u r t h e r t o  the gradualness of the spread of v o l u n t a r y i n the c o a l  areas.  above,  family  was and  explain  limitation  88 A connection manual labour  has  between high r a t e s of f e r t i l i t y and been i d e n t i f i e d  i n B r i t a i n by Phelps Brown.  He made t h i s l i n k with the coalminers, and  rough,  s t e e l workers, g l a s s workers and  farm l a b o u r e r s ,  dock and  iron  building  labourers.  "Only the roughness of the work -- the b o d i l y e x e r t i o n , exposure t o heat and  dust and weather -- seems t o provide  f a c t o r t h a t i s c o n s i s t e n t l y d i f f e r e n t between the two (that i s between those w i t h l a r g e and idea cannot be proved or disproved with r e s e r v a t i o n s , but was  discovered  higher  the  i t may  i n the United  a  groups,"  small f a m i l i e s . ) This  and  so should  be  treated  be noted t h a t a s i m i l a r l i n k S t a t e s where the b i r t h r a t e  was  among those groups i n v o l v e d i n occupations r e q u i r i n g 37  "unusual p h y s i c a l e x e r t i o n . " ^ T h i s connection  i s explained  by Phelps Brown thus:  I t may be t h a t rough and hard work i n c r e a s e s d e s i r e , as danger does, or makes men want c h i l d r e n more. But a s t r o n g e r reason i s probably t h a t i t makes men c o n s e r v a t i v e i n the s o c i a l sense -- l e s s ready t o change t h e i r ways and take up new ideas. In 1873 the Cambridge economist A l f r e d M a r s h a l l had s t r e s s e d how b o d i l y f a t i g u e i n h i b i t s thought among "those v a s t masses of men who, a f t e r long hours of hard and u n i n t e l l e c t u a l t o i l , are wont t o r e t u r n t o t h e i r narrow homes w i t h bodies exhausted and w i t h minds d u l l and s l u g g i s h . " We have a l l heard," he went on, "what rude manners have been formed by the rough work of the miners; but even among them the rougher the work of the body, the lower the c o n d i t i o n of the mind. Iron miners, f o r i n s t a n c e , are a s u p e r i o r race t o c o l l i e r s . " I t happens t h a t the Census of 1911 found t h a t the number of c h i l d r e n born t o a hundred couples was J60 f o r the coalminers, 3^3 f o r the i r o n miners. 38 Yet the a c t u a l work of the coalminer c a l l e d upon great powers of c o n c e n t r a t i o n ,  forethought,  degree of t e c h n i c a l knowledge.  cooperation  and  some  In f a c t Phelps Brown i s  exaggerating when d e s c r i b i n g t h e i r work as " u n i n t e l l e c t u a l toil".  The  miners were c o n s e r v a t i v e  and  suspicious  of change,  89 "but t o blame t h i s upon a "low c o n d i t i o n of the mind" engendered by hard work i s perhaps  erroneous.  The q u e s t i o n of conservatism of ideas b r i n g s us t o a f o u r t h reason why h i g h f e r t i l i t y group.  p r e v a i l e d i n the c o a l m i n i n g  A high b i r t h r a t e and a h i g h i n f a n t m o r t a l i t y r a t e  p r e v a i l e d i n those groups where people were slow t o change t h e i r ideas and h a b i t s , so t h a t a v i c i o u s c i r c l e  developed.  "Where many babies were born, there c o u l d have been l e s s care for  each;  and where many babies d i e d , there was more room  for  more." ^ 3  Here, Phelps Brown was r e i t e r a t i n g what T.H.C.  Stevenson  had d i s c o v e r e d i n the e a r l i e r p a r t of the t w e n t i e t h  century.  Stevenson  demonstrated t h a t i n f a n t m o r t a l i t y rose  with a h i g h e r r a t e of f e r t i l i t y  so t h a t f o r example, f o r a  wife aged 15 t o 19 years a t marriage,  c h i l d m o r t a l i t y rose  from 117 per 1,000 born i n o n e - c h i l d f a m i l i e s , t o 368 per 1,000  born i n f a m i l i e s of twelve c h i l d r e n , t o as high as 429  per 1,000 born i n f a m i l i e s of over twelve c h i l d r e n .  " I t seems  probable both t h a t i n many cases c h i l d r e n d i e because many a r e born, and t h a t many are born because comparatively few s u r ,.40 vive. A d e f i n i t e connection can be i d e n t i f i e d t h e r e f o r e between high f e r t i l i t y  and high m o r t a l i t y .  In 1911» deaths  of i n f a n t s  under one year of age occurred i n the f o l l o w i n g r a t i o s , per 1,000  born: S o l i c i t o r s -- 4 l per 1,000  Coalminers  -- 62 per 1,000  Doctors -- 39 per 1,000  Costermongers -- 196 per 1,000  90  The average  number of c h i l d r e n born t o wives under 45  years of age f o r the same o c c u p a t i o n a l groups were as f o l l o w s : Solicitors Doctors  --  1.73  Coalminers  .  -- 3.60 i  1.69  Costermongers -- 3.45  41  0  Some of the h i g h e s t i n f a n t m o r t a l i t y r a t e s on r e c o r d occurred i n the c o a l m i n i n g areas, with L a n c a s h i r e , the West R i d i n g , Northumberland, Durham, S t a f f o r d s h i r e , and Glamorganshire,  Nottinghamshire  a l l c o a l m i n i n g c o u n t i e s , being noted  f o r the h i g h e s t i n f a n t m o r t a l i t y i n the country between 1907 and 1910.  In t h i s same p e r i o d , Merthyr  T y d f i l , Rhondda and  Barnsley were i n c l u d e d among the 25 towns i n the country  42 with the h i g h e s t r a t e .  When comparing the c o a l m i n i n g group  to the other seven s o c i a l groups,  i t i s found t h a t the miners  were d i s t i n g u i s h e d by a h i g h e r m o r t a l i t y r a t e among i n f a n t s . TABLE IX To show m o r t a l i t y of l e g i t i m a t e c h i l d r e n under one year of age, a c c o r d i n g t o the occupation and s o c i a l c l a s s of the f a t h e r . 191lT 4~3 Social Classification  Deaths per 1,000 babies born 76 106 113 122 153  148 160  I t i s noteworthy t h a t the a g r i c u l t u r a l c l a s s e s r e c o r d low i n f a n t m o r t a l i t y when compared t o other working-class groups, classes.  being more c l o s e l y a k i n t o the upper and middle The miners resemble the u n s k i l l e d poor i n terms of  infant mortality.  91  There i s a l s o a connection between i n f a n t m o r t a l i t y and the age  of the wife at marriage.  Infant deaths were at a  maximum where the wife married under twenty years of age, and at a minimum where the wife married between the ages of 25 and  30 years.  In the 1911  Census Report, T.H.C.  showed t h a t i n most cases, m o r t a l i t y was  Stevenson  h i g h e r among the 44  c h i l d r e n of wives who  married a t an e a r l i e r age.  c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y e a r l y age  of marriage  The  among the c o a l m i n i n g  c l a s s had a d e l e t e r i o u s e f f e c t on the r a t e of s u r v i v a l of c h i l d r e n i n the c o a l m i n i n g communities. Stevenson  suggests,however, t h a t i n f a n t m o r t a l i t y was  probably a f f e c t e d even more by the r a p i d r a t e a t which c h i l d r e n were born, r a t h e r than the a c t u a l number born, from the set  of married  life.  out-  He found t h a t h i g h e s t m o r t a l i t y occurred  where, i n the e a r l y years of marriage, a wife gave b i r t h t o a c h i l d each year.  For example, i n those f a m i l i e s where s i x  c h i l d r e n had been born w i t h i n f i v e years of marriage, where the age  of the wife at marriage  r a t e was  as h i g h as 462  was  per 1,000  20 t o 24 y e a r s , the  c h i l d r e n born.  death  He s a i d t h a t  the s i t u a t i o n most f a v o u r a b l e t o the h e a l t h of the mother and c h i l d was  f o r one  c h i l d only t o be born i n the f i r s t  years of married l i f e ,  and from then onwards, two  only t o be born every f i v e years. i n t h i s way,  children  By spreading out a f a m i l y  the h e a l t h of mothers and c h i l d r e n i n the  t i l e - g r o u p s would improve. artificial  five  l i m i t a t i o n was  continued t o p r e v a i l .  fer-  However, among those c l a s s e s where not p r a c t i s e d , r a p i d b i r t h r a t e s  92 With the p e r s i s t e n c e  of e a r l y marriages and  of b i r t h , combined with poor l i v i n g c o n d i t i o n s the  spread of d i s e a s e ,  coalfields.  that these h i g h death r a t e s aided of  the maintenance of high  fertility.  profession,  and  t h e i r fathers  i n t o the  t h e i r value as wage-earners may  enced the miners towards l a r g e r f a m i l i e s . the miner's s t r e n g t h  of i n c r e a s i n g l y v i t a l  among those coalminers who l a r g e f a m i l y was  no  of ten c h i l d r e n  John Brophy s u r v i v e d  , Abe  influwhen  of wage-earning  l a r g e f a m i l i e s i n the  coal-  t h a t a c h i l d might  number of s i b l i n g s .  Certainly,  wrote t h e i r a u t o b i o g r a p h i e s ,  exception. 45  have  importance.  mining communities were not unusual, and expect t o grow up with a great  mining  At the age  began to f a i l , a f a m i l y  It would appear then t h a t  one  have p r e v a i l e d  coalminers because of t h e i r a t t i t u d e s t o c h i l d r e n .  Sons t r a d i t i o n a l l y followed  sons was  rates  I t can be argued  F i n a l l y , an above average b i r t h r a t e may among the  rates  which promoted  (see above), i n f a n t m o r t a l i t y  remained h i g h throughout the  rates  rapid  For  instance,  Moffat one  the  Jack Lawson 46  of eleven  was  , while  w i t h f o u r other c h i l d r e n , though eleven 48  died at b i r t h or i n c h i l d h o o d . Before proceeding t o d i s c u s s  f a m i l y t i e s and  relationships,  a b r i e f examination of i l l e g i t i m a t e b i r t h r a t e s among the  coal-  miners r e v e a l s  to  marriage and  an  the  i n t e r e s t i n g s i d e l i g h t on t h e i r a t t i t u d e importance of c h i l d r e n .  Despite the h i g h degree of m o b i l i t y and s i n g l e , young men  i n the  c o a l i n d u s t r y , and  m i g r a t i o n among the  periods  of  93 unsettlenient and i n s t a b i l i t y a t a time of expansion i n the c o a l towns, and i n s p i t e of the miners' r e p u t a t i o n f o r heavy d r i n k i n g and l e i s u r e - o r i e n t a t e d l i v e s , r a t e s f o r i l l e g i t i m a c y c l o s e l y approximate  t o the n a t i o n a l average, though  one might  expect them t o be i n excess of the n a t i o n a l r a t e s . TABLE X -  To compare the i l l e g i t i m a c y r a t e of the c o a l areas to the n a t i o n a l average. Crude r a t e s . 4~9 :  Illegitimacy b i r t h rate per 1,000 born.  Area  England and Wales Durham Northumberland West R i d i n g Glamorganshire Monmouthshire  1881  1901  1.7 1.62 1.97 1.90 1.39 1.63  1.12 1.23 1.22 1.21 0.94 0.84  I l l e g i t i m a c y r a t e s had decreased d u r i n g these 20 years on both the n a t i o n a l and county l e v e l s .  T h i s was probably  due t o the i n c r e a s i n g use of c o n t r a c e p t i v e methods r a t h e r than any change i n the l e v e l of m o r a l i t y .  Contemporary  evidence suggests that p r o m i s c u i t y was r i f e  i n the c o a l f i e l d s ,  but i n f a c t , r a t e s f o r i l l e g i t i m a c y were not e x c e s s i v e because of a pressure from the community t o marry i n the event of pregnancy.  In 1893, the French s o c i a l observer Paul de R o u s i e r s  v i s i t e d the c o a l f i e l d s of the L o t h i a n s i n S c o t l a n d , and here he found a great d e a l of p r o m i s c u i t y among the mining  classes.  However, p u b l i c p r e s s u r e a c t e d as a counter f o r c e t o d e s e r t i o n and  illegitimacy: Marriages a r e l i g h t l y made, and o f t e n t o l e g a l i z e p r e v i o u s r e l a t i o n s . ; Such i r r e g u l a r i t i e s a r e v e r y r i f e '. i n Rosewell, (on the L o t h i a n c o a l f i e l d ) and p u b l i c o p i n i o n i s not very hard upon them i f the s i t u a t i o n  94 i s r e g u l a r i z e d . A young man who r e f u s e d t o marry the g i r l he had seduced would f i n d h i m s e l f i n a very bad case, without t a k i n g i n t o account h i s legal responsibilities. Such a case occurred a t Rosewell a few years ago, and the man was k i c k e d out of the v i l l a g e , 50 Although many marriages were made t o l e g a l i z e  illicit  r e l a t i o n s h i p s , m a r r i a g e . i t s e l f and c h i l d r e a r i n g were of importance,  e s p e c i a l l y t o the women.  moreover, t h a t the coalminer  I t has been suggested,  was more f a m i l y o r i e n t a t e d than 51  most men of other o c c u p a t i o n a l groups. ^ a t t e n t i o n t o the welfare to  He p a i d more  of h i s f a m i l y , and was more prone  take p a r t i n f a m i l y l e i s u r e a c t i v i t i e s , where these  such as walks or outings.  T h i s b r i n g s us t o the f i n a l  occurred, aspect  of f a m i l y l i f e t o be d i s c u s s e d i n t h i s s e c t i o n -- f a m i l y relationships. The  h i g h b i r t h r a t e s among the c o a l m i n i n g  a f f e c t e d the age-cycle  population  of the c o a l communities i n t h a t  there  was a preponderance of young c h i l d r e n i n the p o p u l a t i o n . There was a c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y high number of dependants i n the producer/dependant r a t i o i n the c o a l towns. of the emigration  Because  of some young women out of these s i n g l e  i n d u s t r y towns, and the i n f l o w of young men seeking work, there was a d i s c r e p a n c y  i n the male/female sex r a t i o ,  a n . e x c e s s number of young males.  with  There was on the other hand,  a lower than average number of aged persons i n r e l a t i o n t o the r e s t of the mining p o p u l a t i o n .  T h i s i s accounted f o r  by the i n f l u x of young persons, the death r a t e among aged miners, and the f a c t t h a t some of the aged miners who nated  origi-  from an a g r i c u l t u r a l environment, t r i e d t o r e t u r n t o  95 t h e i r areas of o r i g i n a f t e r r e t i r e m e n t .  A l l these f a c t o r s  r e l a t i n g t o the a g e - c y c l e i n the mining communities strated the  i n Table I of Chapter IV below.  age d i s t r i b u t i o n i n a sample One consequence  was  a r e demon-  (Table t o i l l u s t r a t e  of mining towns.)  of the high degree of dependancy  which  c r e a t e d i n the c o a l towns by the e x c e s s i v e numbers of  c h i l d r e n and non-working women was a s t r e n g t h e n i n g of f a m i l y ties.  Indeed, i n the i s o l a t i o n of the mining-";j',' communities,  f a m i l y t i e s were such t h a t p e r s o n a l c o n f l i c t s f a m i l y feuds, " f o r when a man s t r i k e s  often l e d t o  i n a c o l l i e r y , he does  52 not  merely h i t a person, he h i t s a f a m i l y . "  Family r e l a -  t i o n s h i p s were strengthened more; by the e x i s t e n c e of s t r o n g t r a d i t i o n a l i s m i n the mining p r o f e s s i o n among f a m i l i e s . Sons were r e c r u i t e d t o mining because normally becoming  apprenticed t o t h e i r  of s t r o n g f a m i l y  own f a t h e r s , and thus  extending f a m i l y r e l a t i o n s h i p s i n t o the working "Family l i f e  bonds,  situation.  was a t t r a c t i v e and the sons went t o l e a r n t h e i r  53 f a t h e r ' s c r a f t w i t h a d e a l of p r i d e and i n t e r e s t . "  J  J  The importance of t h i s s i t u a t i o n i s captured by G.A.W. Tomlinson, a working miner, when he wrote: There i s something about c o l l i e r y l i f e , something which b r i n g s f a t h e r s and sons v e r y c l o s e t o g e t h e r . . ,.. There i s a s o r t of f r i e n d s h i p and u n d e r s t a n d i n g between them which i s u n l i k e t h a t of any other walk of l i f e . . . a g r e a t e r r e s p e c t because of t h e i r knowledge of each other gained i n the p i t s . A father w i l l oftenbe i n charge of a " s t a l l " i n which two or t h r e e of h i s sons are working, and i n the p i t one sees one's f a t h e r or b r o t h e r or son as a man, not as a r e l a t i v e . The hard l i f e of a p i t t e s t s a man, h i s weaknesses a r e c l e a r l y seen as a l s o i s h i s s t r e n g t h and courage. When one has seen one's f a t h e r naked and sweating at the c o a l f a c e , one r e a l i s e s the debt which one owes t o him f o r having beenjbrought up t o manhood a f i t person t o take p l a c e by h i s s i d e . There i s  96 no deep sentiment about the miner's f a m i l y l i f e : t h e i r s i s a deep understanding of each other. 54 Tomlinson's c o n c l u d i n g sentence of f a m i l y l i f e  c r y s t a l l i z e s the essence  among coalmining groups.  The miners and t h e i r  wives were not s e n t i m e n t a l hy nature, but were h e l d t o g e t h e r r a t h e r , by r e s p e c t , l o y a l t y and an understanding c i a t i o n of each other's r o l e  and appre-  i n the f a m i l y .  A study of the miner's household  cannot be r e s t r i c t e d t o  the n u c l e a r f a m i l y alone;., and i n the f i n a l s e c t i o n of t h i s chapter, a t t e n t i o n i s focused upon those the household family  who made up what L a s l e t t  other members of  termed "the extended  household."  III Apart from the n u c l e a r f a m i l y , the miner's  household  o f t e n i n c l u d e d other r e s i d e n t s of a temporary or permanent nature.  These c o u l d be r e n t - p a y i n g l o d g e r s or aged p a r e n t s ,  whose only recourse their children.  i n o l d age was t o the h o s p i t a l i t y of  Aged parents might pay a token r e n t , or  r e c e i v e house-room and food i n exchange f o r t h e i r h e l p i n the home.  The f o l l o w i n g s e c t i o n i s l a r g e l y concerned  with  those p r o v i s i o n s made f o r o l d age i n the c o a l m i n i n g community. For many of the aged poor throughout the workhouse was the f i n a l or only r e s o r t  England  and Wales,  i n o l d age. In  the p e r i o d 1906 t o 1914, as many as o n e - t h i r d of the aged expected  t o end t h e i r days on p a r i s h r e l i e f .  ^  Others  97 depended upon savings or F r i e n d l y S o c i e t y b e n e f i t s , or upon the n o n - c o n t r i b u t o r y o l d age pensions i n t r o d u c e d a f t e r 1908. But f o r many, these sources of income proved t o be i n s u f f i c i e n t , and i f the workhouse was t o be avoided, a i d from relatives.had t o be sought. The f a m i l y was i n f a c t the most important f o r the p r o v i s i o n of r e l i e f f o r the aged.  institution  In i n s t a n c e s where  aged parents were taken i n by c h i l d r e n , a symbiotic r e l a t i o n s h i p developed whereby r e c i p r o c a l d u t i e s were  performed.  In the n i n e t e e n t h century, c h i l d r e n were more l i k e l y t o take i n aged parents i n areas where women commonly worked, such as i n the t e x t i l e towns.  In these s i t u a t i o n s , the o l d e r  persons  could be of v a l u e , o f f e r i n g s e r v i c e s such as c h i l d - c a r e i n exchange f o r s h e l t e r . persons over 65.years  In 1851,  i n Preston, 32 per cent of  of age l i v e d w i t h married  while 36" per cent l i v e d w i t h unmarried  children,  children, ^  But  t h i s l i v i n g s i t u a t i o n was by no means r e s t r i c t e d by p e r i o d or o c c u p a t i o n a l area. Bethnal Green,  As l a t e as 1957,  i n an enquiry i n t o  i t was found t h a t 45 p e r cent of a sample of  203 o l d people l i v e d with r e l a t i v e s . ^ We must now see i f t h i s common phenomenon i n the r e l i e f of the aged had any e f f e c t on household s i z e i n the c o a l m i n i n g districts. The p r o p o r t i o n of o l d people i n the c o a l m i n i n g areas was  q u i t e low by n a t i o n a l standards.  On average,  i n 1892,  out of 10,000 persons i n mining a r e a s , 195 were o l d men and 225 o l d women.  The average f o r England and Wales by comparison  98 was  210  The  age-cycle i n the mining  o l d men  and 265  o l d women per 10,000 of the p o p u l a t i o n . d i s t r i c t s was  d i s t i n g u i s h e d "by  a preponderance of c h i l d r e n and reduced numbers of aged persons.  Moreover, of the widowed aged, widows g r e a t l y outnum-  bered widowers so t h a t i n the West R i d i n g i n 1861,  t h e r e were  2 7 , 2 6 5 widowers compared t o 50,282 widows, ^° • As w e l l as f i n d i n g a low p r o p o r t i o n of aged persons  in  the c o a l mining a r e a s , a study of p a r i s h r e l i e f r e v e a l s t h a t there was and  an e q u a l l y low p r o p o r t i o n of the aged seeking  outdoor r e l i e f  i n the c o a l towns.  i n h i s survey of the aged i n 1 8 9 2 , f o r England England  C h a r l e s Booth  t h a t r e l i e f was  indoor  found  lowest  and Wales i n the coalmining areas of the North  of  (apart from p u r e l y r e s i d e n t i a l a r e a s ) , where 22|- per  cent of the aged p o p u l a t i o n r e c e i v e d r e l i e f . areas combined, r e l i e f  still  For a l l mining  only amounted t o 28-| per cent  of the aged, and the r a t e s f o r the mining  p o p u l a t i o n were  g e n e r a l l y lower than those f o r a l l other occupied groups. In the c o a l towns of Newcastle and Gateshead, 20^ per cent of the aged p o p u l a t i o n were paupers, while the f i g u r e s f o r L i v e r p o o l and London stood at 2 9 i per cent and 38 per cent respectively. The Census Reports found  i n h i s survey.  can be used t o support what Booth  In I871,the Census Report  pauperism i n the mining  c o u n t i e s was  stated that  c o n s i d e r a b l y below the  6i average.  In 1 9 0 1 ,  only 997 male inmates of workhouses  i n England and Wales r e t u r n e d themselves as being r e t i r e d 62 coalminers, out of a male workhouse p o p u l a t i o n of 208,650.  99  Out  of these, only 298 were ex-coalminer,  the West R i d i n g . In 1911»  indoor paupers i n  ^  the f i g u r e f o r r e t i r e d miners who  had  sought  64  refuge i n the workhouse had r i s e n t o 1,928 c o a l m i n i n g was, p l o y e r s of  of a l l occupations, one  of the g r e a t e s t  the r e t i r e d  em-  coalminers were  i n the workhouses and asylums, when compared  to a sample of other o c c u p a t i o n a l groups i n England The  time,  men.  Table XI demonstrates how distributed  hut a t t h i s  percentages  and Wales.  shown are the p r o p o r t i o n s of the r e t i r e d  to  the t o t a l of occupied males i n t h a t o c c u p a t i o n a l group, so that i n the case  of the c o a l m i n e r s , the number r e t i r e d  (17,150)  i s I.96 per cent of those occupied, ( 8 7 4 , 3 0 4 ) . TABLE XI To show the d i s t r i b u t i o n of the r e t i r e d males i n c e r t a i n occupations i n workhouses and asylums, England and Wales. 1911. 6"5  Occupation  Total Occupied  Coal 874,304 Miners Civil Service 61,213 Officers Brick layers 102,752 Boot and Shoe makers 160,087  Total Retired  Proportion % r e t i r e d to t o t a l occupied. In In Asylums Total Workhouses  17,150  1.96  0.22  0.18  9,664  15.79  0.05  0.27  3,461  3.37  1.20  0.34  6,735  4.21  1.30  0.66  These f i g u r e s demonstrate the low number of miners r e s o r t e d t o the workhouse on r e t i r e m e n t . of miners recorded as being r e t i r e d  The  who  low p r o p o r t i o n  i s accounted  f o r by  the  f a c t -that the c o l l i e r i e s had a h i g h e r than average r a t e f o r  100 employment of the e l d e r l y , mostly i n l i g h t - d u t y s u r f a c e occupations. The f o l l o w i n g t a b l e shows what percentages of aged persons depended  on p a r i s h r e l i e f  South Y o r k s h i r e . but  i n a sample  of c o a l m i n i n g towns i n  There i s some v a r i a t i o n i n the p r o p o r t i o n s ,  on the whole, the f i g u r e s demonstrate t h a t the m a j o r i t y  of the aged i n these c o a l towns, had some other form of supp o r t , without f a l l i n g  i n t o the c l a s s of aged paupers.  preponderance of aged women over aged men  The  i n a l l cases demon-  s t r a t e s f u r t h e r the e f f e c t s of female l o n g e v i t y . TABLE XII  To show the percentage of aged paupers i n a P o p u l a t i o n over 65 years  Paupers over 65 years  Town  Male  Female  Male  Female  Wortley Pontefract Hemsworth Doncaster Wakefield Barnsley  643 903 269 1,387 1,553 1,308  796 1,063 280 1,642 1,766 1,412  73 312 53 297 363 298  149 500 57 449 623 504  sample  Total percentage of aged paupers 15%  4 If. 20% 25% 30io 29%  A m i n o r i t y of aged persons i n the c o a l m i n i n g communities depended  on the p a r i s h f o r r e l i e f , but of a l l the o c c u p a t i o n a l  groups, Booth found t h a t the miners d i s p l a y e d the lowest prop o r t i o n s of aged pauperism. how  Four ways may  be suggested as t o  the aged miners and t h e i r wives managed t o keep out of the  workhouses i n such great p r o p o r t i o n s . Firstly,  c o a l m i n i n g had a h i g h e r r a t e of e l d e r l y employ-  ment than other o c c u p a t i o n s .  Employed  seventy years were not uncommon.  miners over the age of  They earned reduced r a t e s of  101 pay, but expenses - were f a r l e s s f o r them i n o l d age. . Secondly, the miners were an o c c u p a t i o n a l group who i n v o l v e d themselves i n the w e l f a r e of the aged.  Many v o l u n -  t a r y schemes e x i s t e d i n the miners' unions f o r the p r o v i s i o n of b e n e f i t s f o r r e t i r e d miners, n o t a b l y the p r o v i s i o n of aged miners' homes, i n t h i s respect.  Durham and Northumberland were the l e a d e r s  John Wilson, the Durham miners* l e a d e r was  e s p e c i a l l y a c t i v e here, and i n 1895 aged miners* homes were set up under h i s d i r e c t i o n i n County Durham,  He  initiated  the purchase of the c o l l i e r y v i l l a g e of Haswell Moor by the Durham Miners' Union f o r £840.  112 houses f o r the aged were  provided by t h i s scheme, which were p a i d f o r by the working miners of the county a t one s h i l l i n g per year each.  By 1908,  the f o l l o w i n g homes f o r aged couples had been secured i n Durham -- S h i n c l i f f e - 64;  Houghall - 3 2 ; Wallace V i l l a g e - 3 0 ;  Middlestone Moor - 18; Crook - 4;  West P e l t o n - 12;  and S t , Helens - 6.  Boyne - 6:  There were a l s o t h i r t y  nursing £.1  homes f o r s i n g l e o l d men d i s t r i b u t e d throughout the county.  '  Jack Lawson e x p l a i n e d the c o a l m i n e r s ' involvement i n the welfare of the aged as r e s p e c t f o r those who had completed a l i f e t i m e of hard work.  He d e s c r i b e s the homes a s ,  comrades of the p i t who formed a l i t t l e over the past  "old  community t a l k i n g  .,. Men and women cut out of the g r a n i t e of  grim circumstance, steel-hewn c h a r a c t e r s , the c e n t r e of a f f e c t i o n f o r a l l the c o l l i e r y . " There was a great d e a l of v a r i e t y among the miners i n s a v i n g h a b i t s , but investment i n i n s u r a n c e , F r i e n d l y  Societies,  Cooperative Movements, S i c k and B u r i a l Clubs, or B e n e f i t  102 S o c i e t i e s was who  an important f a c t o r among some of them.  had saved through one  or more of these agencies were per-  haps able t o m a i n t a i n themselves w i t h the a i d of r e l i e f The miners  Those  i n o l d age and r e t i r e m e n t  o f f e r e d through the miners*  d i d not have t h e i r own  unions.  pension scheme on a n a t i o n a l  s c a l e , but t h e r e were r e g i o n a l schemes i n o p e r a t i o n t o provide f o r o l d age.  In the 1860's and I8?0's Miners* Permanent R e l i e f  Funds were set up i n D e r b y s h i r e , which were supported by the miners and the c o l l i e r y owners.  In 1901,  both  the Warwick-  s h i r e c o l l i e r s began a scheme whereby f i v e s h i l l i n g s were provided weekly t o those miners unable t o work beyond the age  of s i x t y y e a r s .  In Durham and Northumberland, the Miner,s'  :  Permanent R e l i e f Fund was many r e t i r e d miners.  an important source of r e l i e f f o r  Booth mentions t h a t i n South  C h e s t e r - l e - S t r e e t and Houghton-le-Spring, d e a l of dependence upon t h i s pension. as o n e - s i x t h of the r e t i r e d miners  there was  Shields, a great  In Auckland, as many  depended on t h i s  source  69 of income f o r t h e i r l i v e l i h o o d ,  7  However, there were of course some miners  or t h e i r widows o  f o r whom these sources of r e l i e f were e i t h e r u n a v a i l a b l e "or insufficient.  For them, the a l t e r n a t i v e t o the workhouse  t o s o l i c i t h e l p from r e l a t i v e s and c h i l d r e n . t h a t on the whole there was  was  Booth d i s c o v e r e d  a w i l l i n g n e s s among sons and  daughters t o care f o r aged parents.  Exceptions t o t h i s  rule  occurred i n those areas where poverty simply p r e c l u d e d the maintenance of aged dependants. I t was  noted above t h a t parents were more l i k e l y t o be  maintained by t h e i r c h i l d r e n i n those areas where female  103 employment was commonplace, where a r e c i p r o c a l duty of c h i l d care c o u l d be performed.  Female employment i n the c o a l f i e l d s  was r a r e , and consequently the aged parent perhaps h e l d a more redundant  r o l e i n the home when compared f o r i n s t a n c e t o those  i n the t e x t i l e areas.  I t i s l i k e l y t h a t the aged person i n  the coalminer's home, w i t h some means a t h i s d i s p o s a l through the v a r i o u s miners' b e n e f i t funds, was i n f a c t a l o d g e r cont r i b u t i n g i n the f a m i l y whatever h i s means would a l l o w .  In  some cases t h i s would be but a token r e n t , but would a l l e v i a t e the stigma of dependence.  T h i s i s not t o suggest t h a t  the coalminers were mercenary, and i f an aged or widowed parent had no means whatsoever, source of l i v e l i h o o d .  c h i l d r e n were s t i l l a l i k e l y  In the c o l l i e r y town of Abergavenny,  Monmouthshire, f o r i n s t a n c e , Booth found t h a t  "assistance  c h i l d r e n i s very g e n e r a l , and f r i e n d s g i v e much h e l p .  from  No  7 r e s p e c t a b l e person would be allowed t o go t o the workhouse." ' T h i s a t t i t u d e p r e v a i l e d i n the South Y o r k s h i r e c o a l f i e l d a l s o , as can be seen from the r e p o r t s Booth c o l l e c t e d l o c a l c l e r g y on the s t a t e of the aged poor. treme p o v e r t y was r a r e l y experienced. came from c h a r i t i e s ,  from  In Wortley ex-  Help from the aged  F r i e n d l y S o c i e t i e s and the miners'  c l u b s , and "a f a i r number are w h o l l y maintained by c h i l d r e n 71  or r e l a t i v e s . "  In P o n t e f r a c t , the Church gave some dona-  t i o n s t o the aged poor, but very few of the r e t i r e d had i n vested i n insurance or T h r i f t Agencies, f o r e on c h i l d r e n and f r i e n d s f o r r e l i e f .  Many depended t h e r e A similar  situation  e x i s t e d i n Wakefield where savings had been n e g l e c t e d and  104 penslons were few.  Many men  worked at reduced r a t e s at  p i t s beyond the age  of 65 years.  I t was  reported  are g e n e r a l l y w i l l i n g t o help i f they can;  the  t h a t '"children  i t depends much  72 on t h e i r b r i n g i n g  up."  I t would appear t h e r e f o r e t h a t c h i l d r e n i n the d i s t r i c t s aided t h e i r parents i n o l d age s i t u a t i o n made t h i s p o s s i b l e . keeping the aged out the  where the  colliery financial  They were i n s t r u m e n t a l  of the workhouses and  in  in  maintaining  low r a t e s of aged pauperism t h a t p r e v a i l e d i n the  areas.  coal  When examining the t y p i c a l household of the miner  t h e r e f o r e the  l i k e l y presence of an aged or widowed parent  must be taken i n t o account. F i n a l l y , w i t h i n the  coalmining  a number of mobile young men, search  of b e t t e r c o n d i t i o n s  ging houses f o r s i n g l e men  who  population,  there  existed  roved the c o a l f i e l d s i n  of work and  pay.  A number of l o d -  e x i s t e d i n the c o a l towns, but  a  l a c k of s u f f i c i e n t accommodation meant t h a t many of these young men  became paying lodgers  themselves.  i n the homes of the miners  Accommodation i n the home maant the  every amenity w i t h the f a m i l y , i n c l u d i n g the f o r the miners c o u l d not  o f f e r the  t e r s t o t h e i r paying guests. was  But,  luxury  sharing  s l e e p i n g room,  of separate quar-  the t a k i n g i n of  lodgers  accepted as a n e c e s s i t y i n the mining communities,  f o r many f a m i l i e s was I f we  consider  and  an added source of income.  t h e r e f o r e the f a c t o r s at work i n making  up the household of the miner, we features.  of  f i n d c l e a r and  distinctive  In the f i r s t p l a c e , the coalminers were d i s t i n -  guished by a higher  than average e f f e c t i v e b i r t h r a t e ,  so  105  t h a t the s i z e of the n u c l e a r f a m i l y was l a r g e r than the average. Further, f i l i a l  duty and economic circumstances  many f a m i l i e s i n c l u d e d dependent relatives.  meant t h a t  or semi-dependent  aged  F i n a l l y , economic and s p a t i a l c o n s i d e r a t i o n s i n  many i n s t a n c e s added a f u r t h e r p a r t y t o t h i s s i z e a b l e f a m i l y household.  extended  I t i s s m a l l wonder t h a t the coalminers  were noted f o r l i v i n g i n cramped and crowded c o n d i t i o n s , and t h a t the c o u n t i e s of Durham, Northumberland,  the West R i d i n g ,  Monmouthshire, and Glamorganshire were c o n s i s t e n t l y  attri-  buted w i t h the h i g h e s t r a t e s f o r household overcrowding i n England and Wales i n the Census Reports, and by  contemporary  observers.  FOOTNOTES TO CHAPTER I I I 1  See P. L a s l e t t and R. W a l l , Household and Family i n Past Time (Cambridge, 1 9 7 2 ) , p. 24  2  P. L a s l e t t , "Size and s t r u c t u r e of the Household i n England over Three Centuries"' P o p u l a t i o n S t u d i e s , No. 23, 1969), P. 200.  3  See the General Reports t o the Censuses of England and Wales from 1861 t o 1911 i n the B r i t i s h P a r l i a m e n t a r y Papers.  4  The census Report f o r England and Wales. 1911: Summary T a b l e s , B.P.P. 1914 - 16, LXXXI, Table 74, p. 362.  5  Table drawn from I b i d . . Table 11, p. 13.  6  M. Hewitt, Wives and Mothers (London, 1958), pp. 40 - 41.  7  Ibid.,  8  T.H.C. Stevenson, "The F e r t i l i t y of V a r i o u s S o c i a l C l a s s e s i n England and Wales from the Middle of the Nineteenth Century t o 1911," i n the J o u r n a l of the Royal S t a t i s t i c a l S o c i e t y , (1920), V o l . LXXXIII, p. 426.  i n V i c t o r i a n Industry  p.,45.  106 9  See E.H. Phelps Brown, The Growth of B r i t i s h R e l a t i o n s (London, I 9 6 0 ) .  10  From the Census Report f o r E n g l a n d a n d Wales. 1891: Summary T a b l e s , B.P.P. 1893 - 9 4 , C V l , Table 5, p. 415.  11  See The Census Report f o r England and Wales. 1911: 1 9 1 3 , LXXVIII, V o l . X, p. 5 9 .  12  M. Z e l d i t c h , Role D i f f e r e n t i a t i o n i n the Nuclear Family: A Comparative Study, c i t e d i n T, Parsons and F. B a l e s , Family, S o c i a l i z a t i o n and I n t e r a c t i o n Process (New York, 1 9 5 5 ) , P. 318.  13  Jack Lawson,  14  H.R.  15  I b i d . , p.  16  N.J. Smelser, S o c i a l Change i n the I n d u s t r i a l (London, 1959), p. 188  17  I b i d . , pp.  18  See G. Udny Yule, The F a l l of the B i r t h - R a t e (Cambridge, 1920), and J.W. Innes, C l a s s F e r t i l i t y Trends i n England and Wales, 1876 - 1934, ( P r i n c e t o n . 1938).  19  From the Annual Report of the R e g i s t r a r - G e n e r a l , c i t e d i n B. M i t c h e l l and P. Deane, A b s t r a c t of B r i t i s h S t a t i s t i c s . (Cambridge, 1962), pp. 29 - 30.  20  T.H.C. Stevenson and A. Newsholme, "The D e c l i n e of Human F e r t i l i t y i n the United Kingdom and ether C o u n t r i e s , " i n The J o u r n a l of the Royal S t a t i s t i c a l S o c i e t y . V o l . LXIX, (March, 1906), pp. 34 - 87.  21  See S. Webb, The D e c l i n e i n the B i r t h - R a t e No. 1 3 1 , (London, 1907).  22  See J.A. and 0. Banks, Feminism and Family Planning i n V i c t o r i a n England ( L i v e r p o o l , 1964).  23  F. Zweig, Women's L i f e and  24  J. Peel, "Manufacture and R e t a i l i n g of C o n t r a c e p t i v e s i n England," P o p u l a t i o n S t u d i e s . V o l . XVII, ( 1 9 6 3 ) , No. 2. p. 116.  25  I b i d . , p.  26  E.H.  27  P. S t e a r n s , "Working C l a s s Women i n B r i t a i n 1890 - 1914," i n S u f f e r and Be S t i l l . Women i n the V i c t o r i a n Age, Ed. M. V i c i n i u s (London, 1972), p. 10?,.  Lantz,  A Man's L i f e  Industrial  (London, 1932), p.  People of Coal Town (New  B.P.P.  14-7.  York, 1958), p.  150.  155.  199 and  Revolution,  201.  Fabian T r a c t  Labour (London, 1 9 5 2 ) , p.  56.  116.  Phelps  Brown, Op.  C i t . . pp. 4 - 5  • 107 28  T.H.C. Stevenson and A. Newsholme, Op. C i t . , Table I I , pp. 7 4 - 7 7 .  29  J.W. Innes,  30  I b i d . , p. 4 3 .  31  T.H.C. Stevenson, Op. C i t . , p. 410.  32  I b i d . , p. 416.  33  See J.A. and 0. Banks, Op. C i t .  34  T.H.C. Stevenson, Op. C i t . , p. 418.  35  E.H. Phelps Brown, Op. C i t . . p. 7 .  36  I b i d . , p. 6  37  See F.W. N o t e s t e i n and X.Sallume "The F e r t i l i t y of S p e c i f i c Occupational Groups i n an Urban P o p u l a t i o n " , i n The Milbank Memorial Fund Q u a r t e r l y . V o l . X. No. 2 . ( A p r i l , 1 9 3 2 ) , New York, pp. 120 - 3 0 .  38  E.H. Phelps-Brown,  39  I b i d . , p. 8  40  T.H.C. Stevenson, Op. C i t . , pp. 402 - 4 0 3 .  41  Ibid.  42  From Newsholme's Second Report t o the L o c a l Government Board, 1 9 1 3 , c i t e d i n "The Urban Background t o P u b l i c H e a l t h Changes i n England and Wales, 1900 - 1 9 5 0 , " B. Benjamin, P o p u l a t i o n S t u d i e s , V o l . XVII, No. 3. (1964).  43  E.H. Phelps Brown, Op. C i t . , p. 3 9 .  44  From The Census Report f o r England and Wales. 1911. V o l . X I I I , " F e r t i l i t y of M a r r i a g e , " c i t e d by T.H.C. Stevenson, Op. C i t . , p. 4 0 7 .  45  J . Lawson, Op. C i t .  46  A. M o f f a t ,  My L i f e with the Miners (London,  47  J . Brophy,  A Miner's L i f e  48  A. Horner,  I n c o r r i g i b l e Rebel (London,196o.)  49  T.H.C. Stevenson and A. Newsholme, Op. C i t . , pp. 74 - 77  Op. C i t . , Table XIV, p. 4 3 .  Op. C i t . , pp. 6 - 7  1965).  (Madison and Milwaukee,  1964).  108  50  Paul de R o u s i e r s , The Labour Question i n B r i t a i n (London, I896), p. 192.  51  See P. S t e a r n s , Op.  52  J . Lawson, Op. C i t . , P. 101.  53  B.L. Coombes,  54  G.A.W. Tomlinson, Coal-Miner (London,  55  P. L a s l e t t and R. W a l l , Op.  56  See E.H. Phelps Brown, Op.  57  See M. Anderson, Family S t r u c t u r e i n Nineteenth Century L a n c a s h i r e (London^ 1971).  58  P. Townsend,  59  See C h a r l e s Booth, The Aged Poor i n England and Wales (London, 1894).  60  The Census Report f o r England and Wales,. 18.6.1: Summary T a b l e s . B.P.P. 1863. L I I I . Table V I I I . pp." 289 - 290.  61  See The Census Report f o r England and Wales. 1871: General Report. B.P.P. 1873, LXXI.  62  The Census Report f o r England and Wales, 1901: Summary T a b l e s , B.P.P. 1904, CVIII, Table XXXVIII, P. 213.  63  I b i d . , County T a b l e s , Table 34, p. 226.  64  The Census Report f o r England and Wales. 1911: Summary T a b l e s , B.P.P. 1914 - 16, LXXXI, Table 52, p. 179.  65  The Census Report f o r England and Wales. 1911: General Report, B.P.P. 1917 - 1 8 , XXXV, Table XLIX, p. 149.  66  C. Booth,  67  See J . Wilson, Memories of a Labour Leader  68  J . Lawson, Op. C i t . , pp. 238 - 230.  69  See C h a r l e s Booth, Op. C i t . , pp. I l l - 112.  70  I b i d . , p. 248.  71  I b i d . , p. 123.  72  I b i d . , p. 129.  Cit.  Those Clouded H i l l s  (London,  1944), p. 7.  1 9 3 7 ) , pp. 177 - 178.  Cit. Cit.  The Family L i f e  of Old People  (London, 1 9 5 7 ) .  Op. C i t . , pp. 121 - 129 (London, 1 9 1 0 ) .  109 CHAPTER IV WIVES AND DAUGHTERS For of the community as a whole t h e r e was one h a l f unorganized, unsafeguarded, unrepresented i n P a r l i a ment -- the wives and mothers of the working miners. No Government r e p o r t s measured from year t o year the changes i n t h e i r c o n d i t i o n s of l i f e : nor do they f i g u r e i n s t a t i s t i c a l columns beyond t h e i r place i n the t a b l e s of b i r t h s , deaths and marriages. Their song, or t h e i r d i r g e , remained unsung or a t any r a t e unheard. 1 . . Although much has been w r i t t e n on the c o a l m i n e r s , both the  primary and secondary m a t e r i a l a v a i l a b l e has r e v o l v e d  around the h i s t o r y of the men. of  No h i s t o r y has been w r i t t e n  the women, and t h e r e i s a d i s t i n c t  o f f i c i a l documentation of t h e i r l i v e s . are of  mentioned  Instead the women  v e r y b r i e f l y i n the a v a i l a b l e a u t o b i o g r a p h i e s  miners, or a r e cast a s i d e with a c u r s o r y mention i n g e n e r a l  histories. to  l a c k of p e r s o n a l and  The f o l l o w i n g two chapters w i l l attempt  suggest a p i c t u r e of the l i f e  therefore  of the women i n the c o a l  towns from the a v a i l a b l e m a t e r i a l i n eye-witness accounts, p e r s o n a l memoirs and b i o g r a p h i e s of c o a l m i n e r s , s t a t i s t i c a l evidence from the Census Reports, combined of  inference. Because  life-style the  w i t h a good d e a l  of the absence  of s u b s t a n t i a l m a t e r i a l on the  of the female s e c t i o n of the c o a l m i n i n g p o p u l a t i o n ,  p i c t u r e of women i n the c o a l towns cannot be complete;  t h i s e x e r c i s e can only attempt t o i d e n t i f y the p l a c e of the woman i n c o a l m i n i n g s o c i e t y .  To do t h i s , we must take i n t o  account the wage-earning woman, the woman as a domestic c r e a t u r e , her importance i n the f a m i l y , and her i n t e r e s t s , i f any, i n a f f a i r s outside the home.  110 I The f i r s t  f a c t o r t o c o n s i d e r i s the numerical importance  of the female s e c t i o n of the c o a l m i n i n g p o p u l a t i o n .  Arnot's  comment i n the quote above that women c o n s t i t u t e d one  half  of the community i s erroneous, f o r i t i s an u n d i s p u t a b l e f a c t that the females i n the c o a l towns were c o n s i s t e n t l y outnumbered by the males.  T h i s c o n c l u s i o n can be drawn from an  exami-  n a t i o n of the Census Reports r e l a t i n g s p e c i f i c a l l y t o the c o a l communities,  but i t i s a l s o v e r i f i e d  i n secondary works.  i n numerous i n s t a n c e s  The reasons f o r t h i s d i s c r e p a n c y i n the  sex r a t i o w i l l be examined i n g r e a t e r d e t a i l below, but the immediate  o b j e c t i v e of t h i s s e c t i o n i s t o examine the m a t e r i a l  which demonstrates the extent of t h i s d i s c r e p a n c y . Table XXII of the General Report of the Census of may  1911.  be taken as the s t a r t i n g p o i n t i l l u s t r a t i n g the sex and  age p r o p o r t i o n s i n a sample of mining towns, compared w i t h the c o r r e s p o n d i n g p r o p o r t i o n s i n England and Wales.  Taking  the n a t i o n a l average f o r the number of males and number of females i n England and Wales at each age group from under years t o over 90 years as bases of 100, the t a b l e how  five  demonstrates  the p r o p o r t i o n of males and females i n the sample of c o a l  tov/ns r e l a t e d t o the average f o r England and Wales.  To  faci-  l i t a t e comparison, each f i g u r e i n each age group i n the c o a l towns r e p r e s e n t s a percentage of the p r o p o r t i o n of c o r r e s ponding males and females i n England and Wales at the same age.  Ill TABLE I  AGE  To i l l u s t r a t e the age d i s t r i b u t i o n i n a sample of mining towns, compared w i t h the r e s t of England and Wales. 1911. 2  RATIO TO CO RESPONDING P R0P0RTI0NS I N ENGLAND AND WALES Rhondda Barnsley Rotherham Middles Merthyr borough Tydfil Male Female Male Female Male Female Male Female Male Female  05-  1015-  20253035-  4045505560657075-  808590-  122 116 103 107  119 122 115  120 112 103 93  89 95 77 73 52 63 37 75  All ages 110  120  131  115 103 96 90 85  119  88 87 81  90  118 110 101 104  87  105  133  120 104  106  111 131 133  85  124  82 81  108  77  113 103 103  91 78 68  55 52  99 95 90  58  47  51  39 29  39 35 27  83  36  17  20 12  91  113  88  74 69 66 67 67 56  48  46  The f i r s t  123  114  68 61  105  42 20  p o i n t to  d i f f e r i n g sex r a t i o .  102  118 111 106  102 100 93 95  89 88 84 81 81 78 70 66 60 55  119  111 109 104 102 111 116 112 107 93 93 99  100  120 112 111  119  90  117 113 104 98  87  107  92 85  96 96 97  106  90 94  91 88 84 77  63  58 43  42  50  40  106  95  33  44 48 44  104  96  107  94  31  114 116 112 100  31 16  60 58  108 98  79 77 79 77 76  96 85 73 58 53 50  64  109  96 90  74  91  71 61  79  64  78  59  39 34  31  he n oted from t h i s t a b l e i s the  widely  Up u n t i l the age of 15 y e a r s , the sex  r a t i o s are q u i t e c l o s e , but from 15 years onwards we f i n d a d i s c r e p a n c y a r i s i n g , u n t i l there i s a sharp d i s t i n c t i o n between the numbers of males and females i n the c o a l towns. While the numbers of males r i s e above the n a t i o n a l average of  100, the females f a l l t o v a r y i n g degrees below the n a t i o n a l  average.  There i s a c o n t i n u a l d e c l i n e i n the numbers of women  i n these towns, but from the age of 15 years onwards, w i t h the  e x c e p t i o n of Barnsley, these f i g u r e s f a l l below the  n a t i o n a l average, perhaps i n d i c a t i n g an outflow of women of these ages, and an i n f l u x of men a f t e r the age of 15 y e a r s .  112  The most s t r i k i n g f a l l  i n the number of females i s i n Rhondda  and Merthyr T y d f i l , probably  i n d i c a t i n g poor o p p o r t u n i t i e s  f o r female employment i n these towns.  (The other t h r e e towns  i n f a c t o f f e r e d g r e a t e r o p p o r t u n i t y f o r female employment, p a r t i c u l a r l y i n the s e r v i c e i n d u s t r i e s . )  The f i n a l row of  f i g u r e s showing the r a t i o s f o r a l l ages demonstrates q u i t e amply the d i s c r e p a n c y with which we a r e concerned, showing that there were higher numbers of men and lower numbers of women i n the c o a l towns than the n a t i o n a l average. F i n a l l y , the f i g u r e s support those c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of c o l l i e r y towns d e s c r i b e d i n the previous chapter  features  of a  higher than average b i r t h r a t e and r e l a t i v e l y s m a l l numbers 1  of aged persons.  On the l a s t p o i n t , the Census i n d i c a t e s t h a t  these towns were marked by r e l a t i v e l y high death r a t e s . Throughout the Census Reports we f i n d r e f e r e n c e s t o the high p r o p o r t i o n of males and the low p r o p o r t i o n of females i n the coalmining towns.  T h i s s i t u a t i o n i s a r e v e r s a l of the  g e n e r a l p o p u l a t i o n s i t u a t i o n i n England and Wales, where women outnumbered men c o n s i d e r a b l y a c c o r d i n g t o the Census figures.  The f o l l o w i n g t a b l e shows the male/female r a t i o a t  a l l ages i n England and Wales d u r i n g the Census years 1861 t o 1911, u s i n g a standard  of 1,000  males.  TABLE I I To show the number of females p e r 1,000 England and Wales. 1861 - 1911 3 Date  Males  Females  1861 1871  1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000  1,053 1,054 1,055  1881 1891 1901 1911  1,064 1,068 1,068  males i n  113  Despite the f a c t t h a t male "births outnumber female  births,  females exceed males i n number (except f o r ages 10 years t o 15 y e a r s ) , a f t e r the f i r s t year of l i f e ,  due t o a h i g h e r death  r a t e and a h i g h e r p r o p e n s i t y to emigrate among males. 1861 Census Report  The  concludes that i n the average, community  there are more boys than g i r l s , but t h a t a f t e r youth, t h e r e k are  more women than men  i n the middle and l a t e r years of  life.  Those c o u n t i e s which d i f f e r from t h i s p r o p o r t i o n have a s p e c i a l occupational s i t u a t i o n .  Here we can examine the s p e c i a l  t i o n of the mining c o u n t i e s where, "A ".cursory examination  situa...  shows t h a t i n mining p a r t s , such as Durham, Monmouthshire, and Glamorganshire, t o which l a r g e numbers of young men  are  a t t r a c t e d from without, the p r o p o r t i o n of unmarried males i s high;  whereas i n the absence  of any s p e c i a l o c c u p a t i o n f o r  unmarried females, the p r o p o r t i o n of these i s low." ^ Bearing i n mind the above p r o p r t i o n s of females per  1,000  males f o r England and Wales, i t i s i n t e r e s t i n g t o note how coalmining c o u n t i e s f e l l below t h i s p r o p o r t i o n . 1901, for  the numbers of females t o 1,000  In 1891  the  and  males were as f o l l o w s  these c o a l m i n i n g c o u n t i e s , where i n f o r m a t i o n i s a v a i l a b l e : COUNTY 1891 1901 Glamorganshire Monmouthshire Durham Flintshire Denbighshire Northumberland  908 934 963 992 997 -  937 9 7 972 k  994  Although the county f i g u r e s f o r 1911 are not g i v e n , i t i s once a g a i n s t a t e d i n the Census Report of t h a t year t h a t the c o u n t i e s w i t h the lowest numbers of females t o males were those  114 where c o a l m i n i n g was the  the major employer,  "that i n d u s t r y having  tendency t o draw l a r g e numbers of s i n g l e men  into i t s ranks," Q  whereas i t "does not make much demand upon female  labour."  Those towns w i t h the lowest p r o p o r t i o n s of females per  1,000  males connected w i t h mining were, i n 1901. Rhondda - 825  Middlesborough - 94?  Merthyr T y d f i l - 869  Rotherham - 948  9  On the n a t i o n a l s c a l e , however, towns u s u a l l y i n c l u d e d a l a r g e r p r o p o r t i o n of females t o males.  The 1891 Census Report  noted t h a t there were 109 females t o 100 males i n towns at a l l ages.  Females  began t o migrate from the r u r a l t o urban areas  between the ages approximately of 13 years t o 20 y e a r s , while male m i g r a t i o n occurred l a r g e l y a f t e r the age  of 20 y e a r s .  I f we move from the county f i g u r e s t o a c l o s e r look at the mining communities  i n South Y o r k s h i r e , we can see t h i s  sex r a t i o more c l e a r l y a t work. the  distinct  The f o l l o w i n g t a b l e drawn from  Census Reports shows the sex r a t i o  i n those West R i d i n g  communities  which were s p e c i f i c a l l y r e f e r r e d t o by the Census  enumerators  as expanding s o l e l y because  of c o l l i e r y develop-  ment . TABLE I I I  Civil Parish Ackworth Bolton-upon -Dearne Brierley Castleford Conisbrough  To show the p o p u l a t i o n by sex of those C i v i l P a r i s h e s i n the West R i d i n g whose expansion was to c o l l i e r y development, 1891 t o 1911. 10 Population Males 1,345 635 267 7,498 2,390  1891  1901  due  1911  Females  Males  Females  Males  1,302  1,732  1,662  2,164  2,019  570 235  2,108  1,720 772 8,325 4,021  4,653 2,119 12,005 5,967  4,017 1,757 11,085 5,092  6,645 2,109  912 9,061 4,528  Females  115 TABLE I I I - continued Population Civil Parish  Males  Crigglestone Crofton Cudworth Darton Denaby Featherstone Great Houghton Hemsworth Mexborough Purston J a g l i n Royston Ryhill South E l m s a l l South K i r k b y Thurnscoe Wath-uponDearne Wombwell  1891  1,468 430 893 1,942 947  2,313  338 1,595  4,128  681 1,437 609 322  779 111 1,993  5,888  Females Males  1,394 394 714 1,737 761 1,819 282 1,292 3,606  531 1,176 451 298 655 106  1,901  5,054  1911 1901 Females Females Males  1,713 1,054 1,889 2,350  1,446  4,261 660 3,473 5,551 1,102 2,389 859 589 1,601 1,313 2,517 7,113  1,533  2,305  1,519 2,107  3,111  842  1,224 3,561 560 2,810 4,879 893 2,008 694 437 1,315 1,053 2,330 6,139  2,064  1,396 3,740  1,170 3,084  2,762 4,941 945  2,298 4,226 775  7,694 1,286  6,707 1,090 2,906  5,568 3,331  2,830  4,605  1,211 2,437  1,922  2,190  1,884  3,903  3,823  9,383  98O  3,183  3,508  8.153  For comparison, the f o l l o w i n g three samples are woollen towns i n the West Ridings 1901 Males Dewsbury Hebden Bridge Keighley  13,090 3,429 19,758  Females 14,970 4,107 21,806  In Table I I I , i l l u s t r a t i n g the sex r a t i o s i n the expanding coalmining towns of South Y o r k s h i r e , i t i s c o n s i s t e n t l y shown t h a t the males outnumbered the females and t h a t , i n g e n e r a l , the numbers of males were i n c r e a s i n g s l i g h t l y than those of females.  faster  The f i g u r e s f o r the county sex r a t i o  are s u b s t a n t i a t e d , t h e r e f o r e , by the p o p u l a t i o n f i g u r e s a t the local  level. I t may be proposed a t t h i s p o i n t t h a t t h i s  discrepancy  between the sexes was due t o an i n f l u x of young males, who were  116  a t t r a c t e d by f a v o u r a b l e employment o p p o r t u n i t i e s , and an outflow of young females who had few chances of employment i n . t h e i r home l o c a l i t y .  I f we look a t a modern example of the  development of s i n g l e i n d u s t r y towns, t h i s p a t t e r n i s v e r i f i e d , 12  In Minetown, M i l i t o w n , Railtown  , Rex Lucas surveys the  development of these communities i n Canada, where he concludes that there e x i s t s a d i s t i n c t i v e d i s c r e p a n c y i n the sex r a t i o . There  i s a h i g h number of s i n g l e , young men and a low number  of s i n g l e , young women i n these towns.  Most women a r e married  and do n o t normally work, whereas the s i n g l e women are employed mainly i n the s e r v i c e i n d u s t r i e s . few daughters  He notes t h a t t h e r e a r e very  of marriageable age as most leave the town f o r  outside employment when they reach t h i s stage i n the l i f e  cycle.  I f we now t u r n t o examine the numbers of women a t v a r i o u s age groups i n a sample of c o a l m i n i n g towns, f u r t h e r trends emerge.  The f i v e c o a l towns of C a s t l e f o r d , Featherstone, Hems-  worth, Mexborough and Wombwell w i l l be used as the sample  group,  as these are the only towns i n South Y o r k s h i r e , whose economy depended overwhelmingly  upon c o a l m i n i n g , and whose p o p u l a t i o n s  are t r a c e d by age groups through the three Censuses from 1881 t o 1901.  Table IV below shows the numbers of women i n the  v a r i o u s age groups i n the f i v e towns from the Census Reports, 1881 t o 1901. TABLE IV To show the numbers of females a t v a r i o u s ages i n the f i v e sample Urban S a n i t a r y D i s t r i c t s . 1881 t o 1901.  Urban Sanitary District  Year  Castleford  1881 1891 1901  13  Under 5 1,094 1,262  5-  10-  923 84-3 1,104 1,022  15-  20-  25-  30- 35-  387 606 787  383 589 745  430 341 520 418 422 648 615 492  117 TABLE IV - continued Urban Sanitary District  Year  Under 5  Featherstone  1881 1891 1901  Hemsworth  1881  Wombwell  Mexborough  5-  10-  15-  20-  25-  30-  35-  593 957  500 845  445 638  14 0 278 410  157 255 463  231 245  46l  213 192 403  195 300  1891  1,033  924  831  443 577  435 515  383 530  339 469  421  1881 1891 1901  907 1,037  789 891  624 744  291 410 517  298 370 518  277 411 482  245 314 418  277 370  251 312 483  232 314 426  244 264 401  184 227 350  1881 1891 1901  _  551 768  _  _  503 633  446 518  _  213 290  From t h i s t a b l e i t can be seen t h a t the numbers of women decrease as the age groups p r o g r e s s .  N a t u r a l l y , the death  r a t e i s r e s p o n s i b l e f o r a c e r t a i n degree of t h i s  decline.  However, the sharpest d e c l i n e c o n s i s t e n t l y occurs i n the age group 15 t o 19 y e a r s , (except i n e x p l i c a b l y f o r Mexborough i n 1 9 0 1 ) , which suggests t h a t something more than the f a c t o r of death i s a t p l a y here.  Moreover the f i g u r e s i n the 20 t o 24  year o l d age group a r e approximately h a l f of the f i g u r e s f o r under f i v e year o l d s .  T h i s d e c l i n e i s more than t h a t d i s p l a y e d  by the men (see Table V below). that females  T h i s would support the t h e s i s  i n t h i s age group were e m i g r a t i n g from the c o a l  towns i n search of employment,  A p e r i o d of notable d e c l i n e  can be i d e n t i f i e d t h e r e f o r e i n the numbers of women i n the age group 15 t o 19 y e a r s , over the previous age group, but t h i s d e c l i n e i s slowed  down, h a l t e d or a c t u a l l y r e v e r s e d i n  i n s t a n c e s , between the ages of 20 and 29 years,.  These cases  have been u n d e r l i n e d i n Table IV. The e x p l a n a t i o n f o r t h i s  118 phenomenon may be t h a t c e r t a i n of the women who l e f t the towns e a r l i e r were r e t u r n i n g , perhaps t o marry, towns as wives of male immigrants.  or were e n t e r i n g the  C e r t a i n l y , the average age  of marriage f o r women i n the coalmining t h i s age p e r i o d , t h a t i s 22 years.  districts falls It i sdifficult  within t o deter-  mine the major reasons f o r females e n t e r i n g the mining towns, other than f o r purposes of marriage s i n c e female employment was  l i m i t e d and could not exert a s t r o n g p u l l on s i n g l e , young  women from o u t s i d e ,  (see Table  IX below).  The South  Yorkshire  c o l l i e r y d i s t r i c t s t h e r e f o r e were l o s i n g young women under 19 years  of age, but the p r o p o r t i o n of young women from the  e a r l y 20's upwards began t o i n c r e a s e throughout t h i s  period.  (Tables VI and V I I below demonstrate t h i s more amply,) employment was not the m o t i v a t i n g  factor for this  we a r e l e f t with the marriage f a c t o r .  As  increase,  I t s importance i s sup-  ported by the extremely low percentages of s p i n s t e r s t o be found i n the c o a l areas. Table  V below shows the age groups of the male  of the same f i v e sample towns d u r i n g t h i s p e r i o d . t h i s t o compare p a t t e r n s trends  population We may use  i n the male p o p u l a t i o n f i g u r e s with  i n female p o p u l a t i o n f i g u r e s .  Some u s e f u l f a c t o r s  emerge when comparing the two, TABLE V  To show the numbers of males i n v a r i o u s age groups i n f i v e Urban S a n i t a r y D i s t r i c t s , 1881 t o 1901. 15  Urban Sanitary District  Year  Castleford  1881 1891 1901  Under 5 1,083 1,237  5975 1,069  10-  853 993  15-  20-  25-  30-  35-  529 783 915  493 695 885  539 597 734  461 549  515  682 577  119  TABLE V - continued Urban Sanitary District Featherstone Hemsworth Wombwell  Year  5-  10-  15-  20-  25-  30-  35-  545 830  484  277 409  273 302  683  641  270 417 616  276 253 524  273 408  —  578 789  598 716  480  426 618  483  438 580 670  415 496 602  275 393  301 316 537  5  1881 1891 1901  1881 1891  635 959 _  —  1,090  951  953 —  421  879  756 923  683 776  652 710  _  —  322  510 671  463 545  1881 1891 1901  Mexborough  Under  1881 1891 1901  1,081  517  742  481 568  561  612 632  _  324  414 550  —  317 432  250 299  427  _  272 368 .  When t h i s t a b l e i s compared w i t h Table IV, i t can be seen that p o p u l a t i o n f i g u r e s i n the age groups up t o 14 years of age are somewhat s i m i l a r i n each town f o r both males and females. However, a d i s t i n c t i o n between the two emerges from the age of 15 years onwards, when the number of males f a r o u t s t r i p s the number of females.  Except f o r Hemsworth, the p e r i o d of sharp  d e c l i n e i n the numbers of women (15 t o 19 years) i s not a p p l i cable t o the male p o p u l a t i o n . D e s p i t e the d e c l i n e i n the numbers o f men and women as the age groups p r o g r e s s , the p o p u l a t i o n of these towns was r i s i n g r a p i d l y i n the p e r i o d covered by these t a b l e s , as est a b l i s h e d i n Chapter One.  Though i t can be seen from the above  three t a b l e s t h a t the p o p u l a t i o n of these towns was r i s i n g as a whole, and t h a t the female p o p u l a t i o n was r i s i n g too, we can use these t a b l e s of p o p u l a t i o n by age group t o p o i n t out some i n t e r e s t i n g p a t t e r n s .  I f a p a r t i c u l a r age group i s  f o l l o w e d through the Census Reports, some i n t e r e s t i n g t r e n d s  120 can be d i s c e r n e d . age group i n 1891  In Table VI, the 10 year o l d t o 14 year o l d i s f o l l o w e d through t o 1901  f o r both males  and females, i n each of the towns except Hemsworth, (the f i g u r e s are l a c k i n g here f o r 1901.) TABLE VI  To t r a c e the progress of the 10 - 14 year age group i n 1891 t o 1901 i n four sample Urban S a n i t a r y D i s t r i c t s , from the Census Reports of those y e a r s . TE  Urban Sanitary District  FEMALES 10 - 14 year olds 20 - 24 year olds I n c r e a s e / i n 1901 i n 1891 Decrease  Castleford Feather stone" Wombwell Mexborough  .  843 445 624  446  745 463 518 426  -98  885 616 670 561  +32 +132 -13 +98  +18  -106 -20  MALES Castleford Featherstone Wombwell Mexborough  853  484 683 463  T h i s t a b l e covers the p e r i o d of suggested outflow f o r women, hence the drop i n t h e i r numbers, (though the death r a t e a l s o accounts f o r some of t h i s d e c l i n e ) . of young men  The p e r i o d of i n f l u x  i s shov/n by the a d d i t i o n s t o t h i s age group i n  each case except Wombwell, where there i s a s l i g h t  loss.  This  t a b l e might be used t h e r e f o r e t o add weight t o the p r o p o s i t i o n t h a t t h e r e was  a r e v e r s e p o p u l a t i o n flow f o r men  and women.  I t must be remembered however t h a t these f i g u r e s are crude figures;  no account  i s taken of the death r a t e i n v o l v e d i n the  intervening ten years.  We may  take t h i s method of t r a c i n g  through p a r t i c u l a r age groups a stage f u r t h e r t o suggest another p a t t e r n i n female p o p u l a t i o n movements.  Table VII  t r a c e s the progress made i n the f i v e towns of the 15 t o 19 years age group of 1881:  121 TABLE V I I  To t r a c e the progress of the 15 t o 19 years age group of 1881 t o 1901 i n f i v e Urban S a n i t a r y D i s t r i c t s from the Census Reports. Increase/Decline in brackets. 17 FEMALES  Urban Sanitary District  15-19 years  25-29 years  387 i4o  520 (+133) 245 (+105) 530 (+87)  i n 1881  Castleford Featherstone Hemsworth Wombwell Mexborough  443 291  411 (+120) 264 (+13)  251  35-39 years i n 1901  i n 1891  k  9 2 (-28) 300 (+55)  370 (-41) (+26)  290  MALES Castleford Featherstone Hemsworth Wombwell Mexborough  597 (+68) 302 (+25) 632 (+54) 496 (+75) 316 (-6)  529  277 578 421 322  577 (-20) 408 (+106) (-64) 368 (+52)  432  In the t a b l e r e l a t i n g t o female p o p u l a t i o n , we f i n d g e n e r a l l y t h a t there are a d d i t i o n s t o the 15 t o 19 years age group as we t r a c e i t through the Census Reports. that the growing  T h i s shows  female p o p u l a t i o n i s not due s o l e l y t o a  r i s i n g b i r t h r a t e , but t h a t there are a d d i t i o n s other than the n a t u r a l i n c r e a s e - a d d i t i o n s through immigration.  The h i g h e s t  a d d i t i o n s of women occur a g a i n i n the 25 t o 29 years age group, those who are perhaps  r e t u r n i n g t o marry, or who are e n t e r i n g  the towns w i t h immigrant  husbands.  T h i s t a b l e covers the age  p e r i o d of i n f l u x of females, whereas Table VI covers the age p e r i o d of outflow f o r females.  Both t a b l e s demonstrate,  with  few e x c e p t i o n s , a g r a d u a l i n f l u x of males, but a f t e r the f i r s t g e n e r a t i o n had s e t t l e d down i n these mining towns, the r e s i dent p o p u l a t i o n would be breeding-most miners.  of i t s own replacement  122 Female immigration appears t o be at a h i g h e r r a t e i n Table V I I , but n e i t h e r i t nor Table VI takes i n t o account young men  who  f o r temporary  moved i n t o these towns f o r a s h o r t p e r i o d of time, work, i n the i n t e r c e n s a l p e r i o d , and who,  moved on a g a i n , were not recorded i n the Census The  the  having  statistics.  l i m i t a t i o n s of these f i g u r e s must be acknowledged. They are  crude f i g u r e s which do not take i n t o account the death r a t e s or the outflow of unrecorded p o p u l a t i o n . t h e s e . f i g u r e s how  We  cannot t e l l  many persons d i e d i n the i n t e r c e n s a l p e r i o d ,  i f t h e i r s t a t i s t i c a l p l a c e s were taken by o t h e r s , or how persons ing  from  l e f t the towns t o be r e p l a c e d by newcomers.  many  When r e l y -  on Census f i g u r e s alone- t h e r e f o r e , we are hampered by the  l a c k of i n t e r c e n s a l i n d i c a t i o n s of p o p u l a t i o n f i g u r e s . f i g u r e s are used  The  only t o suggest p a t t e r n s of p o p u l a t i o n move-  ment, and w i t h the absence of other primary m a t e r i a l s , they can only be regarded as suggestions.  However, one f a c t o r i s w e l l  supported by the above two t a b l e s . male p o p u l a t i o n preponderance. that female  Finally,  i t may  be  suggested  immigration i n t o these f i v e p a r t i c u l a r towns a f t e r  25 years of age was ties,  They v e r i f y the f a c t o r of  h i g h e r than normal f o r c o a l m i n i n g communi-  s i n c e they were l a r g e r than the normal community, and  might t h e r e f o r e have had more w e l l developed  service • industries.  II T h i s b r i n g s us t o the q u e s t i o n of the employment of women i n the c o a l towns, and why numbered by  women were so c o n s i s t e n t l y  out-  men. 18  J.E. W i l l i a m s i n The Derbyshire Miners  says t h a t the  123  miners a n t i c i p a t e d the b i r t h of t h e i r o f f s p r i n g with a c e r t a i n amount of dread t h a t t h e unborn c h i l d would be a g i r l .  From  the economic p o i n t of view a g i r l was a handicap because of the l a c k of employment o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r women i n s i n g l e - i n d u s t r y communities, while a boy could f o l l o w the f a m i l y of mining i n h i s e a r l y 'teens.  The Census f i g u r e s showing  the r a t e s of female employment i n coalmining how  difficult  profession  areas demonstrate  i t was f o r woman t o become employed.  The General  Report f o r the Census of 1911 p o i n t s out that the lowest r a t e s for  female occupation  occurred  might be expected, the highest towns.  i n mining towns, w h i l e , as r a t e s were found i n the t e x t i l e  The f o l l o w i n g f i g u r e s compare r a t e s of employment i n 19  these two types of town.  y  Percentage employed Unmarried Coal Rhondda Aberdare Merthyr T y d f i l Rotherham  28.8 31.0 34.0  Textiles Preston Burnley Blackburn N a t i o n a l Average  Married Not more than  4%  74.5 76.6 78.0  41.4 44.5  45.5  10.3  Total  14.39 15.87 17.95  18.06  35.3  S i m i l a r l y , the lowest percentage of a l l employed widows are t o be found i n the f o l l o w i n g c o a l towns: Aberdare  ( 1 7 . 2 % ) ; Wakefield  Merthyr T y d f i l  (20.8%).  2  (19.6%);  Rhondda ( 1 5 . 2 $ ) ;  Rotherham ( 1 9 . 9 % ) ; and  0  T h i s p a t t e r n of employment was d i s c o v e r e d Government Report of 1890.  earlier i n a  The Report's f i g u r e s a r e reproduced  124 in  Table V I I I t o show the percentage employment f o r males and  female i n c e r t a i n mining and t e x t i l e TABLE V I I I  industries.  To show the p r o p o r t i o n per cent of men, boys. women and g i r l s employed i n v a r i o u s t r a d e s ,  1886.  21  Trade  Men  Boys  Women  Girls  C o a l , Iron Ore and Ironstone Mining  85.7  13.6  0.5  0.2  Cotton  22.5  16.7  44.4  Woollen  33.3  12.4  45.3  Worsted  19.2  15.3  46.5  19.0  Linen  17.2  10.5  55.4  16.9  Hosiery  29.7  3.9  61.0  5.4  16.4 9.0  Those c o u n t i e s which were the lowest on the l i s t  f o r female  employment were the c o u n t i e s of Durham, Monmouthshire, Glamorganshire and Northumberland was  -- a l l mining c o u n t i e s .  Yorkshire  omitted from t h i s l i s t because the t e x t i l e towns i n the  western p a r t of the county r a i s e d the county percentage f o r employed  females.  However, a c l o s e r examination of the South  Y o r k s h i r e c o a l towns w i l l demonstrate t h a t they were no except i o n t o t h i s p a t t e r n of unemployment. The c o a l mines themselves o f f e r e d l i t t l e  employment t o  women, the simpler t a s k s of s o r t i n g and c l e a n i n g the c o a l a t the or  s u r f a c e b e i n g r e s e r v e d mainly f o r young boys and e l d e r l y d i s a b l e d miners.  under study.  No woman worked underground •in the p e r i o d  The Census Reports r e t u r n the f o l l o w i n g  figures 22  for  women employed  by the c o l l i e r i e s  1851 -- 3,260 1861 -- 3,763 1881 -- 3,099  i n England and Wales.  1891 --3,267 1901 — 2,665 1911 -- 2,843  125  The m a j o r i t y of these women were unmarried the 15 t o 19 years age group.  and f e l l  into  Of t h e s e , t h e f i g u r e s we have  f o r the West R i d i n g i n d i c a t e t h a t only 138 women were employed i n 1881,  and only 65 i n 1891,  i n Yorkshire p i t s .  2  3  Most of  the women recorded above were enumerated i n L a n c a s h i r e and Cumberland.  I t was not the custom t o employ women i n the  Y o r k s h i r e mines.  What occupations employed those women who  remained i n the Y o r k s h i r e mining communities? t a b l e s from t h e Census Reports  The f o l l o w i n g  of 1901 and 1911 i n d i c a t e how  many women were employed i n a sample of South Y o r k s h i r e c o l l i e r y towns, and i n what p r i n c i p a l TABLE IX  occupations.  To show the r a t i o of occupied females t o the t o t a l female p o p u l a t i o n of a sample of South Y o r k s h i r e c o l l i e r y towns, 1901." 2T  Locality Ardsley Castleford Dart on Featherstone Hoyland Nether Mexborough Normanton Stanley Swinton Wath-upon-Dearne Wombwell Worsborough  Female population 1901  Single  Married  265  2,913 8,325 2,10? 3,561 5,? 6 4,879 5,717 2,260 5,771 2,330 6,139 4,827  822  265 337 355 358 306 636 396 306 352 371  k  As might be expected  Females Employed  81  i n a s i n g l e - i n d u s t r y community, the  numbers of employed females a r e low i n comparison female p o p u l a t i o n .  32 168 73 78 89 111 96 119 111 73 91  t o the t o t a l  S i n g l e women by f a r outnumber those  married  women and widows who worked.  Most of these women a r e r e c o r d e d  as b e i n g employed i n domestic  work or dressmaking.  The  f o l l o w i n g t a b l e g i v e s a more d e t a i l e d p i c t u r e of types of occup a t i o n s open t o women i n these towns.  126  TABLE X  To show the p r i n c i p a l occupations pursued by women i n a sample of c o a l towns i n South Y o r k s h i r e , 1911. 25 Female population  Locality Ardsley Bolton-upon -Dearne Castleford  3,285 4,017 11,085  Cudworth Darfield Darton  3,084 2,539 2,830  Featherstone  ..4,226  Hoyland Nether  6,806  Mexborough  6,707  Normanton  7,015  Royston  2,906  Swinton  6,452  Wath-uponDearne  3,508  Worsborough  5,981  P r i n c i p a l female occupations, with f i g u r e s i n brackets Domestic  ( 9 8 ) ; Dressmakers (23)  Domestic (114)s Shopkeepers (30) Domestic ( 4 0 5 ) ; Teaching ( 1 0 9 ) ; Shopkeepers ( 1 3 0 ) ; Dressmakers (108) Domestic ( 8 8 ) ; Shopkeepers (37) Domestic ( 7 9 ) J Dressmakers (28) Domestic (142); T e x t i l e s (64); Shopkeepers (26) Domestic ( 1 6 9 ) ; Dressmakers ( 5 4 ) ; Shopkeepers (58) Domestic ( 2 1 6 ) ; Teaching ( 6 7 ) ; Dressmakers ( 5 0 ) ; Shopkeepers (48) Domestic ( 2 1 5 ) ; Shopkeepers ( 6 7 ) ; Teaching ( 5 6 ) ; Dressmakers (65) Domestic (181); Teaching ( 8 3 ) ; Shopkeepers ( 7 8 ) ; Dressmakers (67) Domestic ( 1 1 0 ) ; Dressmakers ( 3 0 ) ; Shopkeepers (28) Domestic ( 2 2 1 ) ; Teachers ( 5 8 ) ; Shopkeepers (67) Domestic ( 2 5 2 ) ; Dressmakers ( 5 4 ) ; Shopkeepers (58) Domestic ( 2 0 0 ) ; Charwomen ( 8 8 ) ; Shopkeepers (43)  The p r i n c i p a l occupation f o r women i n a l l cases i s seen to be domestic work. of  T h i s would i n v o l v e mainly the employment  s i n g l e , young g i r l s by l a r g e f a m i l i e s t o help out w i t h the  s i m p l e s t , domestic chores of c h i l d - c a r e , c l e a n i n g , and running errands;  laundry,  they were simply mothers' h e l p e r s .  There  were few, i f any r e s i d e n c e s of the p r o f e s s i o n a l c l a s s e s i n these areas, (apart from the c o l l i e r y  manager and the upper  echelons of the management h i e r a r c h y ) , which would be able t o employ  servants i n such numbers.  wage-earners  I f the f a m i l y had enough  on the other hand, c o n t r i b u t i n g t o i t s upkeep,  domestic h e l p on a simple s c a l e c o u l d be h i r e d .  Moreover,  "domestic s e r v i c e was not regarded as a v o c a t i o n , r a t h e r ...  127 the g i r l was i n a sense s e r v i n g her p r o b a t i o n f o r marriage." The g i r l would not regard h e r s e l f as d e s t i n e d t o l i v e and d i e in service.  Domestic  h e l p i s d i s t i n g u i s h e d i n the Census  Return from the charwomen (see Worsborough) who p o s s i b l y of  thought  themselves as a more p r o f e s s i o n a l o c c u p a t i o n a l group. Dressmakers occur i n c o n s i d e r a b l e numbers.  I t i s not  p o s s i b l e t o a s c e r t a i n whether these women kept shops, but i t i s more probable that they c a r r i e d on a simple business from t h e i r home t o supplement the f a m i l y income.  Teachers  i n l a r g e numbers n a t u r a l l y only i n the l a r g e r It  Rather, these women pro-  bably r e p r e s e n t an i n f l u x from o u t s i d e . were l i s t e d  F i n a l l y , those women  i n the census i n v e s t i g a t i o n s as shopkeepers  would not f i t the image of the shopkeepers ted  communities.  i s u n l i k e l y t h a t the t e a c h i n g p r o f e s s i o n drew a l l i t s members  from the r e s i d e n t female p o p u l a t i o n .  who  figure  or well-developed community.  i n a more s o p h i s t i c a -  By 1911, s e r v i c e  industries  and r e t a i l shops were d e v e l o p i n g and were i n need of a s s i s tants.  Yet many of these women r a n shops i n t h e i r own homes,  whereby one room would be used f o r minor t r a n s a c t i o n s i n foods t u f f s , goods being d i s p l a y e d i n the window t o the s t r e e t side.  None of these home-run businesses were l a r g e .  out-  They  might be employed by the mother t o supplement the f a m i l y ' s income.  Often a widow, with no other source of support, would  enter i n t o a s m a l l r e t a i l i n g b u s i n e s s .  For i n s t a n c e , John  Brophy i n h i s autobiography, A Miner's L i f e remembers how i n Wigan i n the 1890's h i s grandmother kept a greengrocery s t a l l i n the market p l a c e .  27 '  128 Apart one  from these f o u r major occupations  there i s only-  town i n the sample which d i s p l a y s any other  of any note.  occupation  Darton employed 6k women i n t e x t i l e s i n 1911.  Other l e s s e r employers of women i n c l u d e d such s e r v i c e s , as laundry and washing, and the p r o v i s i o n of food and d r i n k . I t might be expected t h a t i n an i n d u s t r y i n v o l v i n g some degree of m o b i l i t y of i t s work-force, w i t h a p e r p e t u a l flow of young men l o o k i n g f o r work, t h a t some p r o v i s i o n of l o d g i n g s would be n e c e s s a r y .  The m a j o r i t y of these towns d i d n o t possess jthe  s o p h i s t i c a t i o n of h o t e l s a t t h i s e a r l y stage, and t h i s t i n g population  floa-  of c a s u a l workers was accommodated by the  r e s i d e n t mining p o p u l a t i o n .  A number of women concerned them-  selves therefore i n caring f o r lodgers, e i t h e r alongside  their  own f a m i l i e s , or s o l e l y as lodging-house keepers, who a r e ment i o n e d i n s m a l l numbers i n the Census,  Unfortunately,  there  i s no i n d i c a t i o n as t o t h e c o n j u g a l s t a t u s o f these women i n the Census Reports, but t h i s may have been a source of employment f o r widows. One f i n a l o c c a s i o n a l or part-time  occupation  which the  Census Reports do not mention, but which f i g u r e d l a r g e l y i n many communities, was seasonal work i n the f i e l d s .  I n t h e sum-  mertime, women found employment i n the surrounding  agricultural  areas p u l l i n g peas, p i c k i n g potatoes and burning  twitch.  This  was o f t e n one of the few o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r them t o escape t h e i r drab environment.  G.A.W. Tomlinson, a Nottinghamshire miner  emphasized the love of the land which permeates t h e mining community and which a t t r a c t e d the women t o work i n the f i e l d s d e s p i t e t h e i r many other household d u t i e s . •  129  The  important p o i n t t o note from the above t a b l e s however  i s t h a t female employment was minimal.  I n most c a s e s , e i g h t y  per cent or more of the female p o p u l a t i o n were unemployed i n the South Y o r k s h i r e c o l l i e r y towns.  When compared w i t h the  f i g u r e s f o r female employment i n the t e x t i l e areas of P r e s t o n , Burnley and Blackburn mentioned  earlier  (page 1 2 3 ) , we can  see t h a t the woman i n the c o a l m i n i n g community was f a c e d w i t h a dilemma.  With fewer o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r employment, she was  d i s t i n g u i s h e d from h e r c o u n t e r p a r t i n the t e x t i l e areas by being f a c e d w i t h two a l t e r n a t i v e s —  m i g r a t i o n or marriage.  As has a l r e a d y been noted i n an e a r l i e r p a r t of t h i s chap t e r , s t a t i s t i c a l evidence p o i n t s t o a m i g r a t i o n of young g i r l s from the c o a l towns a f t e r l e a v i n g s c h o o l .  We can o n l y i n f e r  t h a t these females were s e e k i n g employment elsewhere.  There  i s no evidence of where these women went, though t h e Y o r k s h i r e woollen m i l l s would a f f o r d the l a r g e s t and c l o s e s t  employment.  T h i s e n t a i l e d overcoming  of t h e  a weakness c h a r a c t e r i s t i c  mining p o p u l a t i o n o f " i n e r t i a based on custom and a d a p t a t i o n t o a g i v e n p l a c e and s e t of s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s w i t h known people In h i s survey of contemporary,  Canadian  single-industry  towns, Rex Lucas concluded t h a t t h i s l a c k of female  employ-  ment drove some women from the towns, but a l s o l e d t o e a r l y marriage, f o r many p r e f e r r e d t o s t a y i f p o s s i b l e . t h a t , "there i s a shortage of marriageable females there i s no work f o r them t o any e x t e n t . To a v o i d the problem  He noted because  They l e a v e town.  of l e a v i n g town o r f i n d i n g  themselves  i n u n s a t i s f a c t o r y jobs, g i r l s tend t o take the o p p o r t u n i t y 10 t o marry e a r l y . "  J  130  To r e t u r n t o the p e r i o d under study, s i m i l a r evidence can be c i t e d f o r e a r l y marriage consequent upon the l a c k of female employment.  Lady F l o r e n c e B e l l i n her 1907 s o c i a l  sur-  vey of Middlesborough noted t h a t the females of t h a t town tended t o marry a t a v e r y e a r l y age, o f t e n i n t h e i r  'teens,  because t h e r e were so few means of s e l f - s u p p o r t . She concluded b i t t e r l y that t h e i r own." ?  "the women have no independent e x i s t e n c e of 1  Many t h e r e f o r e found marriage r a t h e r than m i g r a t i o n t o be the answer t o the vacuum c r e a t e d by unemployment, though there were many other f a c t o r s a t work which favoured an e a r l y marriage f o r these women.  F i r s t l y , t h e r e was a s u r p l u s number  of males i n these towns, through t h e steady i n f l u x of s i n g l e , young workers. of  Most of these men were miners and the chances  a women marrying o u t s i d e of t h i s i n d u s t r i a l group were  small.  Consequently, as the community developed, t h e r e emerged  a p a t t e r n whereby daughters of miners who d i d not migrate would i n t u r n marry miners, down through the g e n e r a t i o n s , thus r e i n f o r c i n g the e l i t i s t Moreover,  aspect of the c o a l m i n i n g community.  i n a d d i t i o n t o the l a c k of o p p o r t u n i t y f o r marrying  outside t h e miners' group, many women would be u n w i l l i n g t o s a c r i f i c e a h i g h e r standard of l i v i n g a f f o r d e d by the miners' wages when compared t o many other i n d u s t r i a l groups.  Women  tended t o marry miners t o m a i n t a i n the standard of l i f e  they  were used t o , and t o remain w i t h i n t h e i r known environment and c i r c l e of f r i e n d s . Mining i t s e l f was an o c c u p a t i o n whereby the young man would r e a c h h i s p e r i o d of maximum earnings a t an e a r l y age.  131 A man would become a hewer on average a t the age of 20 years, and remain as such f o r as long as h i s strength l a s t e d .  The  miners were fortunate i n that they earned t h e i r highest wages when they most needed them, that i s , from t h e i r embarkation upon f a m i l y l i f e u n t i l that f a m i l y was o l d enough t o earn i t s own l i v e l i h o o d . the  This of course increased the e l i g i b i l i t y of  young miner. F i n a l l y , there was i n the towns w i t h which we are con-  cerned, a b u i l d i n g boom i n the 1890's.  As these towns r a p i d l y  increased, so d i d b u i l d i n g s p e c u l a t i o n , and though most newly married couples might begin t h e i r married l i f e by l i v i n g with t h e i r in-laws, the chances of obtaining a l o w - r e n t a l home were favourable. The exceedingly low age of marriage which c h a r a c t e r i z e d mining communities has been discussed above, (see previous chapter).  S t a t i s t i c s t o show the low percentage of s p i n s t e r s  i n coalmining d i s t r i c t s , however, w i l l serve t o i l l u s t r a t e the  view that most of these women chose the a l t e r n a t i v e s of  e i t h e r marriage or migration.  The mining areas had a p a r t i -  c u l a r l y low percentage of s p i n s t e r s as can be seen i n the following figures: 1901 percentage of unmarried women aged 20 t o 45 years Upper Class areas  Coalmining areas  Cheltenham Eastbourne Brighton Windsor  Durham Glamorgan Whitehaven Rotherham  65-60% 59-55% 54-50% 54-50%  •  35-30% 35-30% 35-30% 35-30%  Barnsley Chester -field Middles -borough  29-25% 29-25%  29-25%  132 Despite the i n f l u x i n t o the mining towns of women who were accompanying t h e i r husbands who were seeking work, and women who were r e t u r n i n g t o marry, there were s t i l l fewer numbers of women than men. This discrepancy i n the s e x - r a t i o has t o be explained t h e r e f o r e by the large scale i n f l u x of s i n g l e men seeking work, and the outflow of s i n g l e women who could f i n d no employment i n the coalmining d i s t r i c t s . Marriage was doubtless the only f a c t o r i n a t t r a c t i n g women to r e t u r n t o these areas, or t o keep them i n the mining communities.  FOOTNOTES TO CHAPTER ROURi^ 1.  R.P. Arnot, The Miners: Years of Struggle V o l . 2. (London, 19537, pp.146 - 147. ' '  2  Census Report f o r England and Wales. 1911: General Report. B.P.P. 1917 - 18. XXXV. Table XXII. P. 75.  3  Table I I compiled from the General Reports t o the Censuses f o r England and Wales. 1861 t o 1911 i n the B . P . P . " " '  4  Census Report f o r England and Wales 1861: Report. B.P.P. 1863. L I I I . '"  General ~  5  Census Report f o r England and Wales. 1881: Report. B.P.P. 1883. LXXX. p. 24. ~ "  General ' ~~  6  Census Report f o r England and Wales. 1891:. General Report. B.P.P. 1893 - 94 CVI. " ^~~  7  Census Report f o r England and Wales. 1901: Report. B.P.P. 1904. CVIII. ' •  8  Census f o r 1911:  General Report  9  Census f o r 1901:  General Report.  10  Table I I I compiled from: Census Report f o r England and Wales, 1901: County Tables, Y o r k s h i r e , B.P.P. 1902. CXXI, Table 12, pp. 81 - 101, and, Census Report f o r  f  rr  General """^  p. 58.  133  10  continued England and Wales, 1911s A d m i n i s t r a t i v e Areas. Yorks h i r e , B.P.P. 1912 - 13, CXI, V o l . I , Table 10, p. 374.  11  From Census Report f o r England and Wales. 1901: Summary Tables. B.P.P. 1902 - 1904. LXXXIV. Table X I . pp. 44 73  12  R.A.  Lucas,  Minetown. M i l i t o w n . Railtown (Toronto, 1971)  13  Table IV compiled from: Census f o r 1881: Divisional Reports, Y o r k s h i r e , Op. C i t . , Table 6, p. 385J Census Report f o r England and Wales, 1891: Divisional Reports. Y o r k s h i r e . B.P.P. 1893 - 94. CIV. Table 3. p. 403j and, Census f o r 1901: County Tables. Y o r k s h i r e , Table 24, p. 182.  14  See Chapter I I I above on the average age of women at marriage.  15  Table V i s compiled from the same sources as Table IV above,  16  Table VI i s compiled from Tables IV and V above.  17  Table V I I i s compiled from Tables IV and V above.  18  See J.E. W i l l i a m s ,  19  See Census Report f o r England and Wales. 1911: General Report, p. 158. and V o l . X, Occupations, B.P.P. 1913. LXXVIII.  20  I b i d . , V o l . X.  21  R. G i f fen,. Return of.. Rates of Wages i n the Mines and Quarries of the United Kingdom, B.P.P. 1890-91, LXXVIII, p. x x i v . ~  22  From Census f o r 1861: General Report, and Census f o r 1911: General Report. Appendix C. Table 9, p. 274.  23  From Census f o r 1881: D i v i s i o n a l Reports. Y o r k s h i r e , Table 10. p. 406 and Census f o r 1891: D i v i s i o n a l Reports. Y o r k s h i r e , Table 7, p. 424. ~  The Derbyshire Miners (London, 1962).  !  24  Census f o r 1901: County Tables. Y o r k s h i r e , Table 12, pp. 81 - 101, and, Table 35A, p. 258.  25  From Census Report f o r England and Wales, 1911: Summary Tables, B.P.P. 1914 - 16, LXXXI, Table 11, p. 1 3 , a n d , Vol. X, Table 15 (B), p. 456.  26  Paul de Rousiers, The Labour Question i n B r i t a i n (London, 1896), pp. 189 - 190.  134 27  John Brophy, A Miner's L i f e (Madison and Milwaukee, 1964), pp. 13 - 14.  28  G.A.W. Tomlinson, Coal-Miner (London, 1937), pp. 143 - 144.  29  N. Dennis, F. Henriques, and C. Slaughter, L i f e (London, 1956), p. 173.  30  See R.A. Lucas, Op. C i t . . p. 95 and p. 357  31  Lady Florence B e l l ,  32  F. Musgrove,  At the Works  The Migratory E l i t e  Coal i s our  (London, 1911), p. 252. (London, 1963), p. 35.  135 CHAPTER V THE WOMAN IN HER SOCIAL AND DOMESTIC ROLE From the f o r e g o i n g , i t may he concluded  t h a t marriage  was o f g r e a t importance t o the woman i n the c o a l m i n i n g  com-  munity and i t i s t o the s u b j e c t of the married woman i n the c o a l town t h a t we must now t u r n .  What k i n d of woman was  produced by the harsh, u n p r e d i c t a b l e Despite the many d i f f i c u l t i e s  life  i n mining towns?  of her d u t i e s , what was her  worth as a home-maker, and her importance i n the f a m i l y , and what were her i n t e r e s t s , i f any, o u t s i d e of the home?  I As the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of s u p p o r t i n g the f a m i l y  devolved  almost t o t a l l y upon the males, the d i v i s i o n of r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s i n the home was r e i n f o r c e d .  With the. l a c k o f what Lady B e l l  c a l l e d an "independent e x i s t e n c e , "  the miners had a d i s t i n c -  t i v e a t t i t u d e towards t h e i r women.  With few a l t e r n a t i v e  employments, the w i f e ' s r o l e i n the home became doubly imp o r t a n t , and t h e r e emerged w i t h i n the mining community an idealistic  image of what the wife and mother should be.  She was i n f a c t t i e d t o the home, and she had t o devote hers e l f t o the t a s k of running the. household, managing home f  f i n a n c e s , and c a t e r i n g f o r the needs of a hard-working f a m i l y . Added t o t h i s i d e a l i z e d d o m e s t i c i t y o f the woman, t h e miners a l s o i n s i s t e d upon h i g h standards  of comfort w i t h i n ' t h e  The i d e a l home was d e s c r i b e d i n a s o c i o l o g i c a l survey South Y o r k s h i r e mining community i n 1956  as c l e a n ,  home.  of a  136  comfortable, warm and cosy, i n c o n t r a s t t o t h e c o n d i t i o n s of work.  The miners worked i n such d r e a r y , damp, and drab con-  d i t i o n s t h a t t h e home by p r e f e r e n c e was seen as p r o v i d i n g a r e l a x i n g , comforting contrast.  Hence the c h i e f duty and r e s -  p o n s i b i l i t y of the wife was t o ensure these standards. How t h i s image emerged, or how the women as a whole matched up t h i s i d e a l i z a t i o n cannot of course be measured statistically.  A good d e a l o f our evidence r e s t s h e a v i l y on  p e r s o n a l accounts and r e f e r e n c e s i n surveys and secondary sources.  I n most working c l a s s a u t o b i o g r a p h i e s , t h e women  are r a r e l y or never mentioned,  "... only f a t h e r s a r e g i v e n  o  any space."  However, t h i s i s not the case i n the auto-  b i o g r a p h i e s of miners, who are concerned t o p o r t r a y the women i n t h e i r l i v e s as i n d i v i d u a l s and t o d e s c r i b e t h e i r work.  T h i s .'perhaps i l l u s t r a t e s a d i f f e r e n t a t t i t u d e  the home-centred  towards  woman i n the mining communities, when com-  pared t o other w o r k i n g - c l a s s wives. Lady B e l l concluded from her survey of w o r k i n g - c l a s s wives i n Middlesborough, t h a t the non-earning housewife was the c e n t r a l f o r c e i n h e r f a m i l y : The key t o t h e c o n d i t i o n o f the workman and h i s f a m i l y , the c l u e , the reason f o r the p o s s i b i l i t i e s and i m p o s s i b i l i t i e s of h i s e x i s t e n c e , i s the capac i t y , the temperament, and, above a l l , the h e a l t h of the woman who manages h i s housej i n t o h e r hands, the f u t u r e o f h e r husband i s committed, the burden of the f a m i l y l i f e i s t h r u s t . . . T h e p i v o t of t h e whole s i t u a t i o n i s the woman, the w i f e of the workman and t h e mother of h i s c h i l d r e n . 3 Despite the f a c t t h a t t h e miner's job presented h i s wife w i t h e x t r a d u t i e s , such as the constant p r o v i s i o n o f meals and hot w a t e r t o c a t e r f o r a f a m i l y of workers  i n the s h i f t  system, and the constant b a t t l e a g a i n s t grime i n the mining  137 communities, the coalminer's wife was noted hy many f o r her good housekeeping.  The wife not only had t o cater f o r the  t r a d i t i o n a l l y large f a m i l y , hut a l s o t o lodgers who were a recurrent feature i n an i n d u s t r y where m o b i l i t y was common. The miner's wife therefore had e x t r a d u t i e s imposed upon her because of the nature of her husband's work and her environment.  She a l s o had t o manage w i t h a lack of adequate f a c i l i -  ties.  This had already been discussed i n some d e t a i l i n  Chapter I I , but i t i s relevant here t o mention what e f f e c t s the " j e r r y - b u i l d i n g " i n the r a p i d l y b u i l t "boom" towns of South Y o r k s h i r e , had upon the miner's wife.  Houses lacked  such basic n e c e s s i t i e s as running water, adequate drainage and of course bath-tubs.  I n the Report of the enquiry i n t o  conditions i n the c o a l f i e l d s presided over by Lloyd George i n 1924, the i n v e s t i g a t o r s concluded that over-crowding was r i f e and t h a t , "the conditions are s p e c i a l l y hard on the women, who, because they often have t o cook and provide f o r men working i n successive s h i f t s , have s p e c i a l need f o r proper L  housing c o n d i t i o n s . " Pit-head baths were rare i n the period before the F i r s t World War, and the lack of a proper bathroom a t home added t o the burden of the housewife, as w e l l as t o the discomfort of the miner, who: ... i s condemned t o trudge home covered i n c o a l dust, wearing h i s wet and f i l t h y p i t - c l o t h e s . When he a r r i v e s home he most l i k e l y has not got a bathroom and has t o wash i n a tub i n f r o n t of the k i t c h e n f i r e . Next morning h i s p i t - c l o t h e s are s t i f f and uncomfortable a f t e r drying. The e x t r a labour f o r a miner's wife that t h i s barbarous business e n t a i l s has often been the subject of b i t t e r comment, e s p e c i a l l y i f more than one man i n the house i s working i n the p i t , and on different shifts. 5  138  The problem r a i s e d p u b l i c i n t e r e s t t o the extent that a Government i n v e s t i g a t i o n i n t o the advantages of pit-head baths had been ordered i n 1913.  The Report concluded that  the home c o n d i t i o n s of the miners would improve from both " s o c i a l and moral aspects" i f pit-head washing  facilities  were provided. ^ Gn a more personal l e v e l ,  George H i t c h i n , a Durham  miner, remembered i n h i s autobiography the e f f e c t s of having no running water: Water f o r cooking, d r i n k i n g , washing and the f r e quent hot baths had to be c a r r i e d from a communal tap - each bucket, and there were many, perhaps a hundred yards along the unmade s t r e e t . In winter the task became e x c r u c i a t i n g - always supposing, of course, that the tap had remained unfrozen. I f i t had not, an alarm s i g n a l was h u r r i e d l y sent t o the c o l l i e r y plumber while distraught housewives took up panic s t a t i o n s . Our d r i n k i n g water was kept i n the pantry i n a s p e c i a l l y c l e a n p a i l covered w i t h a board or a sheet of t i n , and two or three times a day a f r e s h supply had t o be hauled from the s t r e e t . 7 But t h i s was.just one small aspect of the wife's working day, and H i t c h i n a l s o s a i d that i n h i s experience, "the women worked harder than the men.  They aged r a p i d l y under the  s t r a i n of c h i l d b e a r i n g , a n x i e t y , and labours that had no end. I f we look more c l o s e l y at the t y p i c a l working day of the miner's w i f e , from eye-witness and personal accounts, we begin t o see what motivated t h i s strong comment.  For instance  R. Page Arnot wrote t h a t , "behind each man who had t o go down the p i t there was a wife and mother t o i l i n g t o feed them and o  clothe them and keep them c l e a n . "  7  He quotes the s t o r y  of one miner's wife i n Durham, who p e r s o n a l l y narrated her t y p i c a l working day t o him.  She was married i n the 1880's,  and had brought up nine sons and daughters (which Arnot  139 describes as not an abnormally large miner's f a m i l y ) : The day began at 3 a.m. when the eldest son, a hewer, made h i s b r e a k f a s t , took h i s " b a i t " (food) put up the n i g h t before and went on s h i f t at four. Mother, i f awake, would t r y t o snatch an hour's sleep before preparing a younger son, a d a t a l worker, whose s h i f t s t a r t e d at 6 a.m. He would no sooner be o f f than Father would be coming i n f o r breakfast and bath, h i s s h i f t ending at 6 a.m. He had s t a r t e d h i s s h i f t a t 10 p.m. the previous n i g h t ( r e p a i r shift). By the time Father had had h i s breakfast and bathed i n a t i n i n f r o n t of the f i r e i t would be time f o r three c h i l d r e n t o get up and prepare f o r school. Even w i t h t h i s task performed, Mother had no time t o r e s t . She had now t o prepare a dinner f o r the eldest r e t u r n i n g between 11 and 11:30 a.m. He would not have f i n i s h e d washing i n f r o n t of the f i r e before the c h i l d r e n returned from school f o r t h e i r mid-day meal. In a l l p r o b a b i l i t y Father would get up and have something w i t h the c h i l d r e n at mid-day, go t o the l o c a l f o r a p i n t , r e t u r n at tea-time and go t o bed f o r a couple of hours. V/ith the c h i l d r e n o f f t o school f o r the a f t e r noon Mother had t o prepare three more sons going on s h i f t at 2 p..m. By the time she had got them o f f she had t o prepare a meal and bathing water f o r the son who went on s h i f t a t 6 a.m. and would be r e t u r ning t o the house just a f t e r 2 p.m. By the time he was o f f the k i t c h e n f l o o r , i t was n e a r l y time f o r the school c h i l d r e n r e t u r n i n g . On top of t h i s c o n t i n u a l round a l l the washing "laundry" was done at home as w e l l as baking. There was no bought bread i n northern mining v i l l a g e s i n those days. The bread was a l l baked at home. This took sacks and sacks of f l o u r . Then she had t o prepare f o r Father going on s h i f t at 10 p.m. The next p r e p a r a t i o n was the biggest of the day. A f t e r 10 p.m. the sons who had gone on s h i f t at 2 p.m. would be home. Not only had Mother t o prepare t h e i r meals on the k i t c h e n f i r e , but she had a l s o t o b o i l the water f o r t h e i r bath i n pan and k e t t l e . Altogether i t would take anything up t o two hours before they were a l l bathed, which they took succ e s s i v e l y i n a t i n on the hearth i n f r o n t of the f i r e . I t was always a f t e r midnight before they were a l l o f f t o bed. This was the end of a normal day and the alarm c l o c k would r i n g again at 3 a.m. f o r another day. 10  140  This type of existence seemed to he the rule rather than the exception.  Jack Lawson was one of ten children i n a coal-  mining family i n Cumberland.  As each of the boys became old  enough, they entered the p i t .  Lawson himself began work a t  the age of twelve years i n 1894.  His mother always rose at  3.00 a.m. t o get her husband o f f t o work, and again at 5.00 a.m. t o send her sons o f f to work. Although the family t r i e d to persuade her not to do t h i s , he explained her persistence in r i s i n g and seeing them o f f as an old c o l l i e r y law, f o r the woman never knew i f she would see her husband or sons a l i v e again when they l e f t f o r the dangers of the mine.  1  1  In 1947, F. Zw;eigvisited a l l of the major c o l l i e r y areas of B r i t a i n as part of a survey into the d a i l y l i f e of the mining community.  In his report, r e f l e c t i n g on the past,  he had the following to say on the subject of women: In the past the miner's wife had a very rough time, especially when she was the mother of many children and the mortality rate f o r women was nowhere greater than among the s i l e n t heroes of work and s a c r i f i c e in the old days of mining... the housewife was an integral part of the mining routinej she was the pit-head bath attendant, the rotary machine which now cleans the pit-boots before the men go into the bathroom, the canteen attendant and often the ambulance man f o r l i g h t scratches, the hospital when she nursed her husband, and the attendant i n the lamp-room, keeping clean h i s lamp, which i n those days he often brought home. She washed, cleaned and dusted, cooked and mended from morning t o night. She was the most important l i n k i n the wheel of work, welfare and education. And i t was she who provided new hands to f i l l the gap i n the man-power caused by so great a wastage. She needed a l l the fortitude and endurance she couldcmuster. Was her l i f e not harder than that of her husband? 12 Zweig sees here that the miner's wife had an elevated status among housewives, because of her many varied duties and r o l e s .  She was the c e n t r a l , motivating force i n the  l4l family, and carried a great deal of importance.  Returning  to Jack Lawson*s family, he says that h i s mother and her eldest daughter never l e f t the house. t i n u a l battle i n the home against d i r t . Clean!  Their l i f e was a con"And how they worked!  They rubbed and scrubbed, washed and dusted, from  morning u n t i l night. and such mothers.  I f you want heroism, go to such homes  Patience, f o r t i t u d e , selflessness i s there  in f u l l measure, pressed down and running over... When I grew up to years of understanding I vowed that the wrestle and r i s k of the p i t was i n f i n i t e l y preferable to l i f e i n that kitchen."  1 3  Lawson here r e f l e c t s many views that the wife spent much of her day i n cleaning the home and making i t comfortable for  the earning members of the family.  Paul de Rousiers,  a French observer, who chronicled his findings from a tour round B r i t a i n i n 1893, found that the miners* houses were simply furnished, comfortable, and out of necessity, clean. For  instance, i n the Lothians, he found that despite the  concentration of coal-dust i n the a i r ,  there were always clean,  white curtains at the windows, a sure sign of the housewife's 14 virtues.  In the home of G.A.W. Tomlmson i n Nottingham-  shire, h i s mother would spend hours i n polishing, especially the black, iron f i r e - p l a c e or kitchen range, which was a constant feature of miners' homes.  She also spent a good  deal of time i n baking, and he r e c a l l s when he was a c h i l d that she was always producing surprises with t h e i r food, despite a shortage of money.  His mother was  "a t y p i c a l  c o l l i e r ' s wife, clean without being faddy, proud without being arrogant, masterful without being unwomanly and patient  142  as the earth "beneath which her husband laboured. She made our home a happy p l a c e . "  ^  The coalminer Mark Benney drew upon h i s experiences of l i f e i n the c o a l f i e l d s t o produce the n o v e l ,  C h a r i t y Main.  A C o a l f i e l d C h r o n i c l e , which t e l l s the s t o r y of what he c a l l s a t y p i c a l mining community.  I n t h i s , the mother of the cen-  t r a l f a m i l y i s p i c t u r e d as a t y p i c a l miner's wife and i s the most important person i n the home.  "Mrs. Kelso was con-  s t a n t l y a t work, baking bread and t a r t s and p a s t r i e s , washing, mending, scouring, and above a l l serving an endless succession of meals... no one seemed t o eat a t the same time as anyone  Qther l i t e r a r y evidence on the subject of the wife's working day revolves around the importance of washing day. George H i t c h i n remembers washing day with t r e p i d a t i o n : On one side of the f i r e was a b o i l e r and on the other a vast oven. On wash-day the f i r e was poked and stoked u n t i l the temperature was,such that the k i t c h e n had an atmosphere of a foundry. Out then came the paraphenal i a of the laundry... The housewife, her arms t h r u s t i n g l i k e p i s t o n s , sweated her way through the weekly wash, her f i g u r e crouched over the poss-tub and scrubbing bench under a r o l l i n g cloud of steam that hovered near the c e i l i n g . I t has l e f t me with more than a normal abhorrence of wash-day. By l a t e afternoon the clothes flapped on the l i n e : d i r t y water was c a r r i e d out t o the s t r e e t d r a i n and, since under the stimulus of the r o a r i n g f i r e the oven wasnow hot, bread-making began immediately... u n t i l a t l a s t a f t e r hours of hot work 7 or 8 loaves and a y e s t e r cake would come from the oven. Meanwhile men were coming home from the p i t and expected cooked meals and hot baths and, miracle upon m i r a c l e , the women somehow dovetailed these i n t o washing and baking. 17 F i n a l l y , i n a d d i t i o n t o these d u t i e s , many wives made t h e i r husbands* p i t clothes by hand.  I t i s small wonder  143 t h a t the mining c h r o n i c l e r s dwelt upon the working l i v e s of t h e i r wives and mothers on the few occasions t h a t they a r e mentioned.  I n a community where heavy emphasis was l a i d  upon hard work as a s i g n o f c h a r a c t e r , a woman's p r i d e and s t a n d i n g depended upon the s t a t e of h e r home, so t h a t even i n times of d e p r e s s i o n , the round  of housework d i d not stop.  They were a b l e t o make t h e i r d r e a r y surroundings and comfortable homes through sheer hard work. went so f a r as t o say t h a t "housewifery  into clean Jack Lawson  i s such a g r e a t v i r -  tue w i t h them t h a t i t has almost become a f a u l t , f o r the woman w i l l deny h e r s e l f t h i n g s t o which she i s e n t i t l e d and w i l l wear h e r s e l f t o the bone i n order t o make the house comforT  ft  t a b l e and s h i n i n g . " The woman was f i r m l y p l a c e d i n the home, f u l f i l l i n g a r o l e t o which t h e r e was l i t t l e  alternative.  Even by modern  standards, t h e coalminer's wife i s t i e d t o the home by f o r c e of  circumstances, and by n e c e s s i t y the home and f a m i l y be-  comes the c e n t r e of her l i f e .  I n 1950,  two observers i n  Y o r k s h i r e were s t i l l a b l e t o w r i t e t h a t "... even i n the congested a r e a s , miners' wives a r e n o t o r i o u s l y house-proud, and t h e i r homes have more s h i n i n g c l e a n l i n e s s and warm com19 f o r t than a r e found i n many country c o t t a g e s . " However, these almost  i d y l l i c p i c t u r e s and d e s c r i p t i o n s  do not f i t i n w i t h the p e s s i m i s t i c view of t h e standard o f life  put forward by other observers, who were n o t p a r t of the  c o a l m i n i n g community.  Though t h i s q u e s t i o n has been d i s c u s s e d  more f u l l y i n a p r e v i o u s chapter on t h e c o n d i t i o n s of l i v i n g , we must a t t h i s p o i n t t u r n t o the p e s s i m i s t i c view of l i f e , where i t r e l a t e d t o the r o l e of wives and mothers.  144 Though l i v i n g c o n d i t i o n s v a r i e d c o n s i d e r a b l y among c o a l f i e l d s and a l t e r n a t e d between p r o s p e r i t y and d i s t r e s s , t h e r e were two  constants i n the c o a l m i n i n g communities —  ding and h i g h r a t e of i n f a n t m o r t a l i t y .  overcrow-  Overcrowding and  the  near i m p o s s i b i l i t y of i s o l a t i n g a v i c t i m of d i s e a s e , f o s t e r e d the spread of d i s e a s e s among c h i l d r e n e s p e c i a l l y . r a t e of i n f a n t m o r t a l i t y caused  young p a r e n t s , were the C h i l d m o r t a l i t y was colliery districts. 151  rate  Officers  t h a t poor  especially  causes. h i g h f o r i n s t a n c e i n a l l Derbyshire  While the n a t i o n a l average stood a t b i r t h s i n 1901,  217 per 1,000, and  h i g h as 236.4 deaths per 1,000 these areas was  concluded  ignorance among p a r e n t s ,  i n f a n t deaths per 1,000  C h e s t e r f i e l d was  high  concern t o the M e d i c a l  of H e a l t h i n the c o a l m i n i n g d i s t r i c t s , who s a n i t a r y p r o v i s i o n s , and  The  the r a t e i n  i n Shirebrook  births.  2  0  i t was  as  The b i r t h r a t e i n  s u b s t a n t i a l l y h i g h e r than the n a t i o n a l b i r t h  (see Chapter  by contemporaries  I I I ) , but other reasons were put f o r t h i s h i g h death  forward  rate:  The medical o f f i c e r of h e a l t h f o r the B l a c k w e l l R u r a l D i s t r i c t C o u n c i l a t t r i b u t e d the h i g h i n f a n t m o r t a l i t y r a t e t o 'gross n e g l e c t i n the c l o t h i n g and f e e d i n g ' . Such ' p a r e n t a l n e g l e c t and i n e x p e r i e n c e ' , he s a i d , were *tpo o f t e n the concomitants of e a r l y marriages.' Peck (the M.O.H.) b e l i e v e d t h a t the i n f a n t m o r t a l i t y r a t e s were kept up ' by the e x i s t e n c e of the p r i w y midden system and the ignorance of mothers'. He advocated, as a speedy remedy,'the i n t r o d u c t i o n of the water c a r r i a g e system i n urban p a r t s of the d i s T t r i c t , and the t e a c h i n g of mothers by h e a l t h v i s i t o r s ' . 2  By a l l o w i n g c h i l d r e n i n f e c t e d w i t h measles, whooping cough, s c a r l e t f e v e r , dysentery or d i a r r h o e a t o p l a y and mix w i t h other n o n - i n f e c t e d c h i l d r e n , d i s e a s e spread  rapidly.  But i n the crowded c o n d i t i o n s of the miners*  with  housing  145  i t s u n s a n i t a r y p r o v i s i o n s , i s o l a t i o n and other r u l e s of h e a l t h were neglected e i t h e r through ignorance or force of circumstances. We can see t h e r e f o r e that there are two sides t o the p i c t u r e of the q u a l i t i e s of the miner's w i f e .  Autobiogra-  p h i c a l and s o c i a l survey accounts p o i n t t o a high degree of success i n household management, while s t a t i s t i c a l evidence and the comments of medical men suggest some degree of neglect and ignorance on the part of the wife. The f i r s t p o i n t t o make i s that maternal ignorance, squalor and neglect were general features among working c l a s s groups at t h i s time.  Reports on B r i t i s h wives found them t o  be g e n e r a l l y "sloppy" i n t h e i r housework.  This was due t o  poverty, overcrowding, e a r l y marriage, ignorance of how t o run a household, and a sense of unhappiness due t o l i f e ' s hardships. Despite improvements i n the standard of l i v i n g up u n t i l 1 9 0 0 , housekeeping standards d i d not improve and a " t r a d i t i o n of poverty" p r e v a i l e d .  This poor standard of  housekeeping "... expressed a sense of hopelessness and des22  p a i r that was not simply  economic."  We can now p r o f i t a b l y look a t some s p e c i f i c examples t o which these Reports were g e n e r a l l y r e f e r r i n g and w i t h which we may compare and contrast the miners' wives.  In her s t u d i e s  of poverty i n London a t the t u r n of the century, Helen Bosanquet examined the c o n t r i b u t i o n of the mother t o the s t a t e of d i s t r e s s .  Some mothers were found t o be l a z y , pre-  f e r r i n g t o spend time gossiping than working, or "often she  146 i s i n bad h e a l t h , worn out with bearing c h i l d r e n , s i c k l y from l i v i n g c l o s e , d i r t y rooms, anaemic from bad food." Bonanquet,  2 3  To  poverty depended upon the character of the mother,  and those women who lacked " i n t e r e s t , f o r e s i g h t and p r i d e " were the ones who neglected themselves, t h e i r home and t h e i r c h i l d r e n , and depended upon e x t e r n a l a i d r a t h e r than the e f f i c i e n t planning of t h e i r own resources.  Ignorance a l s o  played a great part i n poor l i v i n g standards, e s p e c i a l l y i n the care of her c h i l d r e n .  "Her untrained eye hardly 24  notices that they are ragged and s i c k l y and f o r l o r n . " Further evidence from Lend on of poor housekeeping q u a l i t i e s and a general neglect of c h i l d r e n comes from Mrs. Pember Reeves f o r 1912.  I n her short t r a c t , Mrs. Reeves reported  on the poor h e a l t h of women and i t s e f f e c t upon the f a m i l y . "Give:' her s i x c h i l d r e n , and between the bearing of them and the r e a r i n g of them she has l i t t l e e x t r a v i t a l i t y l e f t f o r s c i e n t i f i c cooking, even i f she could a f f o r d the necessary time and appliances.  In f a c t one woman i s not equal t o the 25  bearing and e f f i c i e n t , proper care of s i x c h i l d r e n . "  J  Moreover, the c h i l d r e n of the London poor s u f f e r e d from the lack of more basic n e c e s s i t i e s i The c h i l d r e n of the poor s u f f e r from want of l i g h t , want of a i r , want of warmth, want of s u f f i c i e n t and proper food, and want of c l o t h e s , because the wage of t h e i r f a t h e r i s not enough t o pay f o r these necessaries. They a l s o s u f f e r from want of c l e a n l i ness, want of a t t e n t i o n t o h e a l t h , want of peace and q u i e t , because the s t r e n t h of t h e i r mothers i s not enough t o provide these necessary c o n d i t i o n s . 26  147 Lady F l o r e n c e B e l l concerned h e r s e l f w i t h the iron-workers of North Y o r k s h i r e f o r t h i r t y y e a r s .  Her f i n d i n g s were drawn  t o g e t h e r i n 1907 when she devoted c o n s i d e r a b l e the wives of the iron-workers.  attention to  She found i n the foundry  towns t h a t t h e r e e x i s t e d both a h i g h b i r t h r a t e and a h i g h i n f a n t m o r t a l i t y r a t e , w i t h d e t r i m e n t a l e f f e c t s on the women of the towns.  Women soon became p h y s i c a l l y worn out from  bearing children too quickly.  She found t h a t i n r a r e i n s t a n c e s  some women gave b i r t h t o a c h i l d almost every year of t h e i r peak c h i l d - b e a r i n g y e a r s .  I f t h i s was i n f a c t the case, then  o b v i o u s l y t h i s i n t u r n would a f f e c t f a m i l y w e l f a r e , f o r , "what chance has the w e l f a r e , p h y s i c a l and moral, of the c h i l d r e n thus r a p i d l y brought  i n t o the world by a mother whose  s t r e n g t h , owing t o imperfect nourishment  and unhealthy  surround-  d i n g s , must be s t e a d i l y d e c l i n i n g umder t h i s immense s t r a i n as time goes on?" ^ 2  She t o o blamed the h i g h m o r t a l i t y r a t e  - upon what i s now becoming a f a m i l i a r p a t t e r n —  overcrowding,  bad a i r , maternal ignorance and n e g l i g e n c e , u n s u i t a b l e f e e d i n g and a poor m i l k supply.  Of t h e s e , Lady B e l l found  ignorance  t o be the most important f a c t o r i n i n f a n t m o r t a l i t y and i n the g e n e r a l h e a l t h of the f a m i l y . The mother was g e n e r a l l y ignorant of the v a l u e of c e r t a i n foods, which, combined w i t h poor cooking f a c i l i t i e s and i n many c a s e s , an i n a b i l i t y t o cook, meant a l i m i t e d f o r the f a m i l y .  Many r e l i e d f o r food on the  diet  eating-house  or the f r i e d f i s h shop, w i t h the e x t r a expense t h a t t h i s entailed.  S p e c i a l foods c o u l d not be a f f o r d e d f o r the baby i n  the w o r k i n g - c l a s s households  t h a t Lady B e l l v i s i t e d , nor  148 did the mothers know of t h e i r value.  Consequently, an i n f a n t  would he given the same food as the r e s t of the f a m i l y . Further, she found that disease spread r a p i d l y among c h i l d r e n due t o p a r e n t a l ignorance about i n f e c t i o n . The Report of the Interdepartmental Committee on P h y s i c a l D e t e r i o r a t i o n of 1904, revealed an awareness of the importance of d i e t t o the nation's h e a l t h , and recommended that young g i r l s should be taught how t o cook i n school.  I t had been  discovered that the B r i t i s h housewife was g e n e r a l l y l a z y , and found the e a s i e s t way around cooking.  There was a good  deal of ignorance a t the root of t h i s , but apart from t h i s f a c t o r , not a l l tenements contained cooking f a c i l i t i e s .  The  absence of meat and m i l k , and a heavy r e l i a n c e on t e a , bread and jam and the excessive use of tinned food among working c l a s s wives were a l s o c i t e d as c o n t r i b u t i n g towards poor h e a l t h . The Report showed a high degree of concern with the e f f e c t s of the employment of women upon the welfare of the f a m i l y , drawing upon information offered by the i n v e s t i g a t o r Miss A.M. Anderson. I t was w i t h i n the f a m i l i e s of working mothers that perhaps the greatest incidence of ignorance and neglect occurred.  I t was found that i n f a n t m o r t a l i t y i n areas of  high female employment, such as Lancashire cotton towns, Dundee jute m i l l s , and the pottery towns, was unduly high, Anderson would not d i r e c t l y l i n k high i n f a n t m o r t a l i t y w i t h the  employment of women, but asked that housing and s a n i t a r y  conditions should a l s o be taken i n t o account before any conc l u s i o n s could be drawn. figures  However, she offered the f o l l o w i n g  which compare i n f a n t m o r t a l i t y i n areas of female  149  employment with the c o a l areas, where few females were employed. Infant M o r t a l i t y per 1.0Q0 Born Areas of high female employment  Areas of low female employment  Dundee  Durham 1901 - 179 Northumberland 1901 - 182 South Wales 1901 - 170  Hanley  Longton Preston Burnley Blackburn  1893 — 217 1903 -- 142 Average Yearly 204 Rate over 10 years Ditto — 239 Ditto 236 Ditto — 210 Ditto -- 200  Further evidence which demonstrates a s i m i l a r trend i n i n f a n t m o r t a l i t y i s that of Dr. George Reid, County Medical O f f i c e r of Health f o r S t a f f o r d s h i r e who stated i n 1892 t h a t : In the south of the county the people are mostly engaged i n coal-mines and i r o n works, i n which the element of female labour may be disregarded, while i n the north the c h i e f i n d u s t r y i s p o t t i n g , i n which large numbers of women are employed. Three years ago, when f i r s t i t became my duty t o c o l l a t e the reports of the various medical o f f i c e r s of h e a l t h , what impressed me most f o r c i b l y was the ' e x t r a o r d i n a r i l y high i n f a n t death-rate i n c e r t a i n d i s t r i c t s . Further than t h i s . . . the broad f a c t was apparent that the r a t e was much higher i n the n o r t h than i n the south of the county, a circumstance which has since been proved by f i g u r e s covering, i n most cases, a period of t e n y e a r s , and which show a r a t e of 182 (deaths per 1,000) as compared w i t h 158. 29 High i n f a n t m o r t a l i t y i n areas where mothers were extens i v e l y employed, developed from the abuses n e c e s s a r i l y i n f l i c t e d upon c h i l d r e n by the lack of adequate a t t e n t i o n , a r t i f i c i a l feeding i n the hands of untrained "nurses" ( u s u a l l y older c h i l d r e n or old women), and ignorance on the part of women who had n e i t h e r the time nor the means t o l e a r n the a r t s of motherhood. Miss Anderson uses evidence i n the 1904 Report  150 from a Miss Paterson's i n v e s t i g a t i o n s i n Lancashire t o support t h i s accusation of n e g l e c t ! As t o the e f f e c t s on h e a l t h , moral and p h y s i c a l , both of the mothers and c h i l d r e n , she was able t o form very d e f i n i t e ideas of the excessive and i n j u r i o u s s t r a i n on the mothers and of the l a c k of s u f f i c i e n t care of the c h i l d r e n . V i s i t s on Saturday afternoons t o the homes showed that any energy that was l e f t over by the week's work i n the m i l l was spent by the mother i n f a m i l y washing and house-cleaning, but d i r t and discomfort abounded and she 'never saw any attempt a t cooking'. 30 I t may be argued t h a t coalmining f a m i l i e s were a t a greater advantage than f a m i l i e s i n the Lancashire c o t t o n areas or Midlands p o t t e r y towns, because the mother i n the c o a l areas at l e a s t remained a t home.  With the knowledge she possessed,  she focused a l l her a t t e n t i o n s upon the a m e l i o r a t i o n of the domestic scene.  I n c o n t r a s t , i t may be suggested that domestic  comforts suffered i n the cotton areas of Lancashire f o r instance, where 23 per cent of mothers were f a c t o r y workers.  The f a c t o r  of working mothers has been put forward as one cause of f a m i l y 31  disintegration.  v  N e i l Smelser supports t h i s i n part when  he says of the working mother, "her t r a d i t i o n a l r o l e , i n short, l i k e the r o l e s of her c h i l d r e n and of her husband, was being t w i s t e d beyond r e c o g n i t i o n by the moral e v i l s of the factory."  3 2  Of course, women i n the mining v a r e a s had not always iv  pursued housewifery as t h e i r v o c a t i o n . Domestic chaos had a l s o reigned i n those homes where the woman had been employed i n the mines, according t o the Report of the Royal Commission on Mines of 1842. I n f a c t , the 1842 Report stated that there was a d i s t i n c t d i f f e r e n c e between the order and c l e a n l i n e s s  151  of non-working wives and the f i l t h and misery of conditions where the wife was employed.  "The d e s c r i p t i o n of miners'  homes i n Durham, f o r example, where miners declared they had as much r i g h t t o domestic comfort as other men, stands out  i n strong contrast t o the deplorable p i c t u r e s of f i l t h ,  wretchedness and perpetual poverty i n the d i s t r i c t s where women were employed."  33 II  From the above examples, we may conclude t h a t , the t r u t h of the matter was that amongst the working c l a s s e s g e n e r a l l y 34  the  standard of domestic accomplishment was deplorably low."  J  The coalminers' wives cannot be s i n g l e d out by the pessimists as poor housekeepers when standards were so low thoughout the  working c l a s s e s .  As has been demonstrated above, the  miners as a group were at an advantage because t h e i r womenfolk remained at home, concentrating t h e i r energies on the care of the f a m i l y .  With no or few employment o p p o r t u n i t i e s , the  daughters became "apprenticed" t o t h e i r mothers i n the domestic arts  an advantage missed by the young g i r l w i t h a wage-  earning mother, and a method advocated by the s o c i a l observer Bosanquet as a means of d i s p e l l i n g ignorance.  35 J J  Moreover, there are many impressive testimonies t o the c l e a n l i n e s s of the miner's home.  The s o c i a l observer F.  Zweig wrote, "there i s a great contrast between the unpleasant appearance of the houses from the outside and the nice appearance i n s i d e .  The rooms are kept very t i d y and c l e a n ,  and the housewives take immense pride i n keeping t h e i r houses spotless."  There were a l s o those men such as B.L. Coombes  who a c t u a l l y experienced l i f e as a lodger i n the coalmining  152 community, where, "... I have found most Welsh mining-houses as clean — hard —  or nearly so —  too hard —  as t h i s one.  The women work very  t r y i n g to cheat the greyness that i s  outside by a clean and cheerful show within.  They age them-  selves before they should because of t h i s continual cleaning 37  and p o l i s h i n g . "  The  "clean comfort" of t h i s miner's  cottage contrasted favourably with the r u r a l worker's cottage which Coombes had l e f t behind i n Hereof ordshir^ with i t s leaking roof, broken oven and chimney and cold atmosphere. F i n a l l y , one writer had the following comments to make upon motherhood i n coalmining communities i n 1888: The c o l l i e r ' s wife i s a good mother to her children} her ideas of what i s f o r t h e i r good may not be wide or far-reaching but what she does see she puts into e f f e c t with a thoroughness and devotion that are admirable. She i s wholly u n s e l f i s h , and to keep her house, "bien," her husband sober, and her children at school, and i n a well-conduced state, i s her continual e f f o r t . A hard e f f o r t i t i s too. 38 There were of course exceptions  to the examples c i t e d .  But even though these existed, the Rt. Hon.  S i r . J . Tudor Walters  s t i l l believed that the building of model housing estates f o r miners was  a most worthwhile project, when he referred to  the success of the building of such model houses i n the South Yorkshire c o a l f i e l d a f t e r the F i r s t World War. c r i t i c i s m of the miners f o r abuse of new were unfounded, and i n f a c t , "we  He said that  housing projects  f i n d that the bulk of the  tenants greatly appreciate a good house and make f u l l  use  39  of a l l i t s conveniences." Standards of l i v i n g depended greatly on the state of trade and prosperity.  The miners as a whole were not a group  153 of savers, and therefore soon sank i n t o d i s t r e s s i n times of i r r e g u l a r work.  Even though poverty was rampant at these times  however, the miners' wives d i d not lose the i n c e n t i v e t o maintain c l e a n l i n e s s , as witnessed by a Derbyshire l i s t during the 1893 i n the Derbyshire  lock-out i n t h a t county.  Times f o r 30th September,  He  journareported  1893:  What struck us at C h e s t e r f i e l d , a f t e r many days of wandering among the same c l a s s of people, was the f a c t that more homes than we had n o t i c e d anywhere e l s e were s p o t l e s s l y , b e a u t i f u l l y clean. The bare, flagged f l o o r , the r i c k e t y wooden c h a i r s , the hearth, the windows, the steps, a l l showed that the women, i n s p i t e of a l l , had not sat down and folded t h e i r arms. 40 There i s evidence t o show that c o n d i t i o n s of l i v i n g were poor i n the mining d i s t r i c t s , and that there was a c e r t a i n l e v e l of ignorance and squalor.  However, instances of these  conditions can be found f o r a l l working c l a s s areas.  In  f a c t , from the evidence c i t e d from working c l a s s memoirs, and s o c i a l i n v e s t i g a t o r s ' evidence, i t would seem that the coalminer's w i f e , armed w i t h b e t t e r domestic t r a i n i n g , such basic f a c i l i t i e s as f u e l , cooking f a c i l i t i e s , a l o w - r e n t a l or r e n t - f r e e home and her commitment t o her f a m i l y , was b e t t e r equipped t o t a c k l e the problems of d a i l y l i f e .  There  were squalor, disease and ignorance i n these communities. But there were a l s o f o r t i t u d e , hard work, s e l f - r e s p e c t , and a c o n t i n u a l b a t t l e against  circumstances.  In concluding t h i s s e c t i o n , there i s no denying that disease and high r a t e s of i n f a n t m o r t a l i t y e x i s t e d i n the c o a l towns, adding f u e l t o the p e s s i m i s t s ' f i r e . question here are the reasons f o r t h i s trend.  What i s at  Since we have  I5 a l r e a d y proposed  k  t h a t maternal ignorance was a g e n e r a l con-  d i t i o n among the working c l a s s e s , other f o r c e s were a t work t o push forward the c h i l d m o r t a l i t y r a t e s i n the c o a l f i e l d s , and t o b l a c k e n the r e p u t a t i o n of the c o l l i e r s ' wives i n t h i s respect.  Neglect and maternal ignorance were c o n s t a n t s among  the working c l a s s e s as a wholej  the v a r i a b l e s i n the case  of t h e coalminers were t h e h i g h b i r t h r a t e s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of mining f a m i l i e s , and the u n s a n i t a r y , overcrowded, and disease-promoting c o n d i t i o n s of the " j e r r y - b u i l t  M  boom towns  on the c o a l f i e l d s . II The f i n a l o b j e c t of t h i s chapter i s t o attempt  t o ascer-  t a i n how the woman was regarded i n the h e a v i l y male-orient a t e d mining s o c i e t y .  We cannot hope t o r e a c h i n t o t h e per-  s o n a l i t y of the woman i n the c o a l town.  As she l e f t so few  r e c o r d s behind, we c a n only look a t h e r through t h e eyes of others and suggest c e r t a i n c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s which might emerge i n a community of t h i s nature. One e f f e c t o f t h e type of e x i s t e n c e d e s c r i b e d above which might be expected,  i s the premature a g i n g of the w i f e .  This  f e a t u r e was t h e r e s u l t of hard work, and i s mentioned i n s e v e r a l i n s t a n c e s i n the c o l l i e r a u t o b i o g r a p h i e s .  Both George  H i t c h i n and B.L. Coombes noted the r e c u r r e n c e o f premature o l d age i n women i n t h e i r 30*s. escape w i t h f u l l h e a l t h .  N e i t h e r d i d these women  I n 1929,  a Government i n v e s t i g a t i o n  i n t o the s o c i a l r e s u l t s of d e p r e s s i o n i n the South Wales c o a l  155  trade commented upon the exhausting e f f e c t s of hard work, concluding t h a t , "there could he no question t h a t i n some areas women, e s p e c i a l l y the mothers of young c h i l d r e n , s u f f e r to an unusual extent from languor and anaemia." I t cannot he doubted that the i l l e f f e c t s of r a p i d c h i l bearing that Lady B e l l observed among the iron-workers• wives i n North Y o r k s h i r e , a l s o a f f e c t e d the miners' wives with t h e i r equally high b i r t h rate.  Moreover, i n times of d i s t r e s s the  wife was probably the f i r s t t o s u f f e r from a l a c k of adequate food and c l o t h i n g , which would c o n t r i b u t e f u r t h e r t o h e a l t h problems. point.  There i s a good deal of evidence upon t h i s l a s t  I t has been found that there was an unequal d i s t r i -  bution of food and other b e n e f i t s such as c l o t h i n g and medical care among working-class f a m i l i e s , the p r i o r i t y being t o provide f o r the breadwinner f i r s t .  "The wife deferred t o the  breadwinner because without him her own s i t u a t i o n would have been even worse.  The e f f i c i e n c y and h e a l t h of the c h i e f  breadwinner was e s s e n t i a l t o the welfare of the e n t i r e f a m i l y . This was no l e s s true f o r the mining f a m i l i e s , and as l a t e as 1956, the s o c i o l o g i s t s who i n v e s t i g a t e d l i f e i n the South Yorkshire c o a l town discovered that the middle-aged and older women would serve "a heavy meal f o r t h e i r f a m i l i e s " w h i l s t p r o v i d i n g a mere snack f o r themselves."  J  The dependence upon the husband which t h i s a c t i v i t y i l l u s t r a t e s was a common c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of coalminers' wives. They married e a r l y and, w i t h few opportunites f o r employment, t h e i r dependence on the breadwinner and s u b j e c t i o n t o male economic dominance was r e i n f o r c e d from the s t a r t .  Unlike  156 many wage-earning wives, the coalminer*s wife did not have the security to assert her own economic  independence.  Peter Stearns i d e n t i f i e d t h i s dependence upon the husband i n the question of judgement.  He gives t h i s as the reason  why the practice of b i r t h control was so slow to reach the coalmining areas.  Most wives, p a r t i c u l a r l y those who had  married before 1900, "had not s u f f i c i e n t l y escaped from t r a d i t i o n t o arrange a reduction the family s i z e .  Only the younger  generation was r a p i d l y awakening t o an interest  i n b i r t h con-  t r o l , which older miners considered "unnatural and wicked". Hence the continued resemblance t o the urban poor, whose famil i e s i n 1911 averaged 3.9 c h i l d r e n . "  However, Stearns i s  perhaps assigning too much importance t o the men here i n the decison-making about voluntary family l i m i t a t i o n .  I t has  been argued i n Chapter III that the move towards acceptance of b i r t h control ideas was slow among the coalmining population as a whole, and not just among the male section of the population.  In f a c t , a more basic reason f o r the slow adoption  of b i r t h control methods has been i d e n t i f i e d .  In the coal-  mining area, the only vocation that a woman could pursue was to marry and have a family, and she had l i t t l e chance of pursuing an occupation even i f she did decide to l i m i t her family size.  In f a c t , the slow adoption of family l i m i t a t i o n was a  combination of many factors, described i n Chapter I I I .  One  effect of the large family size was that once a woman had borne a large family, her chances f o r contact with the outside world were limited even further. Certain c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s  have been i d e n t i f i e d as d i s t i n c t  features of the wives of miners.  Traditionalism was one of  157  these c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s  and f l o u r i s h e d  v i l l a g e s remote from urban centres.  p a r t i c u l a r l y i n those There was a t r a d i t i o n a l  l o y a l t y of women t o t h e i r husbands and f a m i l i e s , and emerging perhaps from the economic dependence, a d e d i c a t i o n t o the needs of the breadwinner.,  I n a drama about the l y n e s i d e  pitmen, w r i t t e n by a n a t i v e of Jarrow, Alan P l a t e r describes the l e a d i n g wife as being, "gently persuasive, w i t h a manner toughened by years of hardship and sometimes v i o l e n t bereavement.  A l i f e dedicated without question t o her . husband and,  by i m p l i c a t i o n ,  to coal."  J  Moreover, he suggests t h a t the  wife had t o obey her husband and was always there "to provide LA  baths and tend wounds." Peter Stearns suggests t h a t the miner's wife was resigned to poor c o n d i t i o n s , e s p e c i a l l y where.housing was overcrowded and unsanitary.  But t h i s was an advantage i n so f a r as ex-  pectations were low?  she d i d not experience as much unhap-  piness as her counterpart who was i n employment: Horizons i n the mining v i l l a g e were assuredly narrow, which i s why the women preserved a r a t h e r t r a d i t i o n a l f a m i l y focus f o r so long. Lack of job o p p o r t u n i t i e s even before marriage served, r a t h e r l i k e extreme poverty i n the b i g c i t i e s , t o l i m i t expectations among women... Because there was l i t t l e sense of a l t e r n a t i v e s there was l i t t l e v i s i b l e d e s p a i r , and a c t i v e p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n t h e i r husbands* l a b o r protest gave women an o u t l e t many'of t h e i r urban s i s t e r s lacked. 47 Increasing employment o p p o r t u n i t i e s i n the towns l e d t o "a v i r t u a l r e v o l u t i o n i n the l i f e - s t y l e of working-class women 48  before marriage."  The young working g i r l s  experienced  independence, s o c i a l contacts outside the home, r i s i n g m a t e r i a l expectations and,"a new concern f o r freedom and  158 49 d i g n i t y was d e v e l o p i n g . "  However upon marriage t h i s newly  found s o c i a l and economic freedom was c u r t a i l e d , and women were thrown back i n t o a male-dominated were s t r i c t l y l i m i t e d .  Moreover,  world, and a s p i r a t i o n s  the behaviour o f husbands  towards t h e i r wives was worse i n the f a c t o r y c i t i e s than i n the mining towns, and a l i m i t e d allowance system operated whereby the husband's c o n t r o l of the budget economic s t a t u s . budget  lowered the woman's  Wives who had once c o n t r o l l e d t h e i r own  s u f f e r e d g r e a t disappointment w i t h t h e i r reduced  economic s t a t u s .  Those m a t e r i a l e x p e c t a t i o n s t h e y had developed  i n t h e i r s i n g l e , independent days, were not met, adding t o their frustrations.  T h e i r pre-marriage s o c i a l c o n t a c t s were  severely c u r t a i l e d .  Consequently, Stearns i d e n t i f i e s g r e a t e r  unhappiness among married o p e r a t i v e s than among miners' wives, and t h i s was r e f l e c t e d i n s l o p p y housekeeping. The c o n t r o l of the budget was an important f u n c t i o n i n the f a m i l y f o r i t was n o t how much the breadwinner which was important, but how i t was spent.  earned  A f a m i l y ' s happi-  ness or v e r y e x i s t e n c e depended on how w i s e l y the wage was divided.  The economic r o l e of most working c l a s s wives,  however, was low, i n t h a t most d i d not know how much t h e i r husbands earned and r e l i e d t h e r e f o r e on the "wage" t h a t they were g i v e n each week, t h e i r husbands keeping back an unknown amount of "pocket money."  Lady B e l l found t h a t i n over one-  t h i r d o f the homes she v i s i t e d i n North Y o r k s h i r e , the w i f e had no i d e a of how much her husband earned, w h i l e Laura Oren found t h a t t h i s was the g e n e r a l s i t u a t i o n among the l a b o u r i n g  159 classes.  However, i n r a r e cases the w i f e was i n c o n t r o l .  In mining v i l l a g e s f o r i n s t a n c e , the husband gave a l l h i s earnings t o h i s wife and r e c e i v e d a f i x e d amount of "pocket money" i n r e t u r n .  T h i s custom was c a l l e d the " t i p - u p " .  M i c h a e l Young noted t h a t working c h i l d r e n i n mining v i l l a g e s a l s o handed over a l l t h e i r earnings i n r e t u r n f o r a s m a l l amount o f "pocket money".  U s u a l l y the c o l l i e r s gave t h e i r  wives t h e i r wages out i n the s t r e e t s . play, f o r public witnessing  Here t r a d i t i o n was a t  of the a c t ensured t h a t the w i f e ' s  t r a d i t i o n a l c l a i m t o the wage would be met. was d e s c r i b e d "As  This  tradition  i n the mining n o v e l How Green was my V a l l e y .  soon as the w h i s t l e went they (the wives) put c h a i r s  outside t h e i r f r o n t doors and s a t t h e r e w a i t i n g t i l l the men came up t h e H i l l and home.  Then as t h e men came up t o t h e i r  f r o n t doors they threw t h e i r wages, s o v e r e i g n  by s o v e r e i g n ,  i n t o the s h i n i n g laps, f a t h e r s f i r s t and sons or l o d g e r s i n 51  a l i n e behind."  J  I t was the woman's r e s p o n s i b i l i t y t o  decide how the money would be spent. such as s t r i k e s or l o c k - o u t s  In times o f d i s t r e s s ,  f o r i n s t a n c e , L l e w e l l y n , who  was w r i t i n g from experience noted t h a t , "women l i k e my mother, who had sons e a r n i n g ,  and had saved and kept a good house  were p u t t i n g money and food together  each week f o r t h e babies  of the women who had j u s t m a r r i e d , or f o r women w i t h only a 52  husband working and many c h i l d r e n . " T h i s c o n t r o l of f a m i l y f i n a n c e s  J  o b v i o u s l y e l e v a t e d the  s t a t u s of the woman i n the home, and i s some f u r t h e r  indi-  c a t i o n of how the woman was regarded i n the mining community i n her domestic r o l e .  " C o n t r o l over the budget," Stearns  160 writes, for  "was a v i t a l element i n the w o r k i n g - c l a s s woman's l i f e ,  i t r e f l e c t e d her p l a c e  i n the f a m i l y and determined how  w e l l she c o u l d c a r r y out h e r r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s .  Mining women  l i k e the urban poor, u s u a l l y had s u b s t a n t i a l power." The life for  d u t i e s of the woman were concentrated  she had no o p p o r t u n i t i e s t o concentrate  J  on f a m i l y  -- i t was here alone where the miner's wife c o u l d  elsewhere. and  J  excel,  her energies  Her f i r s t p r i o r i t y was her duty t o h e r f a m i l y ,  i n Chapter I I I i t was noted t h a t the c o a l m i n i n g  were mother-centred. be r e c o g n i z e d  Evidence of a m a t r i a r c h a l  families  system can  i n what few r e f e r e n c e s we have t o the persona-  l i t y of the mother i n the memoirs of coalminers. regarded h i s mother's d e v o t i o n  Jack Lawson  t o h e r f a m i l y as a form of  heroism, w h i l e the coalminer*s l e a d e r John Brophy s a i d of his  mother t h a t , "her great concern was the w e l f a r e  f a m i l y , and d e v o t i o n  t o i t was h e r way of l i f e .  of her  She accepted  the p e r i l s and h a r d s h i p s t h a t came t o a miner's f a m i l y , and did  the best she c o u l d w i t h the s i t u a t i o n from day t o day.  She  had the s t r e n g t h t o meet a l l d u t i e s and demands of l i f e ,  and a l o y a l t y t o her f a m i l y t h a t was i n s p i r e d . " The  miners* wives have been seen t o e x e r c i s e a s o b e r i n g i n -  fluence and  J  over t h e mining p o p u l a t i o n ,  both i n t h e i r r o l e as wives  as mother, f o r p a r e n t a l d u t i e s were i n many cases  e n t i r e l y t o them. recognized educational  left  As e a r l y as 1842, t h e Royal Commission had  the female r o l e heres  "The Complete l a c k of  o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r g i r l s i n c o l l i e r y v i l l a g e s was,  however, a s e r i o u s handicap on mining communities and was c o n s t a n t l y lamented by witnesses and Commissioners a l i k e the more so as the women were s a i d t o e x e r c i s e an unusual  —  161 and u n l i m i t e d i n f l u e n c e over t h e miners."  ^5  Jack Lawson saw  t h i s powerful i n f l u e n c e a t work when he s a i d t h a t "women have been v e r y powerful e d u c a t i o n a l f o r c e s indeed i n t h e n o r t h e r n counties.  I n my l i f e t i m e I have seen women, r e l i g i o n and  education perform m i r a c l e s i n t h e p e r s o n a l l i f e  of the miner.  For I remember w e l l the o l d , g r o s s , gambling, d r i n k i n g t y p e . " John Wilson, the Durham miners* the  "gross, gambling, d r i n k i n g t y p e " t h a t he was as a young  man, to  l e a d e r a l s o remembered  but a t t r i b u t e d h i s c o n v e r s i o n , i n h i s  h i s wife. ^  autobiography,  Under h e r i n f l u e n c e he changed h i s ways and  became a Methodist  l a y preacher,  S e c r e t a r y o f t h e Durham  Miners' A s s o c i a t i o n , and e v e n t u a l l y entered t h e House o f Commons, ( s i c . ) The women d i s p l a y e d a h i g h degree of d e d i c a t i o n t o t h e i r husbands, emerging from t r a d i t i o n and t h e i r dependent s t a t u s . In a community where l e i s u r e was h e a v i l y m a l e - o r i e n t a t e d , t h e i r r e c r e a t i o n a l a c t i v i t i e s were l i m i t e d t o a morning's shopping annual  i n the c i t y once or twice a year, or perhaps an  o u t i n g t o t h e c o a s t , so t h a t t h e i r l i v e s were circum-  s c r i b e d by t h e home.  In s p i t e of these f a c t s , however, we  cannot c o n c l u s i v e l y say t h a t t h e w i f e came under the s t r i c t a u t h o r i t y of h e r husband, as i n most other working c l a s s families.  D e s p i t e t h e m a l e - o r i e n t a t e d nature o f work and  l e i s u r e , we can s t i l l coalmining society.  i d e n t i f y aspects of a m a t r i a r c h y i n As e a r l y as 1856 i t was found t h a t s  ... whatever may be t h e p e c u l i a r i t i e s of t h e husband on the one hand, or of h i s w i f e on the o t h e r , the d i f f e r e n c e i s s t i l l so great as t o a u t h o r i t y a t home, t h a t she i s almost sure t o r u l e i n every case} and t h i s from no  162  amiableness on the part of the husband. Should the pitman have anywhere t o go, or any l i t t l e business t o t r a n s a c t , the wife must not only be t h e r e , but superintend, or even do i t e n t i r e l y .  58  Neither was she a passive creature i n times of d i s t r e s s or when the welfare of her f a m i l y as at stake.  Stearns notes  that women were p a r t i c u l a r l y prominent i n times of s t r i k e , and i n t h i s respect they d i f f e r e d from t h e i r counterparts i n other i n d u s t r i a l groups. to 1910  He c i t e s the occasion of the  1909  South Wales s t r i k e as an example when the women, faced  by the t h r e a t of e x t r a work f o r t h e i r men through the proposed i n t r o d u c t i o n of a three s h i f t system, were unusually a c t i v e i n stoning shops and policemen.  John Wilson i n the e a r l y years  of h i s campaigning f o r labour i n the 1870's faced many s e t backs because of the conservative nature of many of the miners, but one one occasion he had t o face the wrath of a band of angry women who,  "made an a t t a c k upon me, and threw various  kinds of m i s s i l e s at me...  The sum of t h e i r e p i t h e t s was t h a t  they d i d not want any a g i t a t o r there s t i r r i n g up the minds of t h e i r menfolk and inducing them t o s t r i k e . " Jack Lawson noted a great f e a r among women of s t r i k e s , because of the hardships that they e n t a i l e d , but once they occurred they d i s p l a y e d a great strength of purpose and to v i c t o r y .  will  "When t h i s stage i s reached, then the world  may  be against them,death and e v e r l a s t i n g damnation come upon them, but they w i l l not r e t r e a t an i n c h .  And woe betide the man  who  6o  would compromise."  He remembers h i s own mother i n t h i s  predicament when, " a l l her b a t t l i n g and w r a t h f u l s p i r i t rose up against the proposed wage r e d u c t i o n , (1892) and her i n s i s -  163 tence on "no s u r r e n d e r " was i n i n v e r s e r a t i o t o her f e a r o f the s t r i k e at i t s beginning." ^ I t i s d i f f i c u l t t o e s t i m a t e , a p a r t from her r o l e i n s t r i k e s and times of d i s t r e s s , how f a r the woman i n t h e c o a l m i n i n g community i n v o l v e d h e r s e l f i n p o l i t i c s .  Lady B e l l found t h a t  the i r o n - w o r k e r s ' wives were t o t a l l y i g n o r a n t and d i s i n t e r e s t e d i n t h e i r a t t i t u d e t o p u b l i c q u e s t i o n s , and t h a t t h e y were " a p a t h e t i c and s u f f e r e d from an i n e r t i a , "  However, an e a r l y  cause of the Women's Labour League was "Baths f o r Miners", about which t h e y produced a s e t o f pamphlets d i r e c t e d  towards,  "... the graat mass of women, p a r t i c u l a r l y those b e l o n g i n g t o 6?  the wage-earning c l a s s . "  I t i s hard t o say how e f f e c t i v e  these pamphlets were i f they reached t h e miners' wives, but they were c e r t a i n l y d i r e c t e d towards a female audience, concerned w i t h "black s l a v e r y i n the home f o r t h e brave wives and mothers,"  The p r o v i s o n of p i t - h e a d baths would c e r t a i n l y have  a l l e v i a t e d t h e work of the w i f e who had t o wash and d r y both husband and c l o t h e s i n the home, and where she had t o contend w i t h what Robert S m i l l i e , t h e miners' l e a d e r , had d e s c r i b e d i n a Women's Labour League pamphlet  i n the f o l l o w i n g way,  "... he had h i m s e l f seen the s i c k mother or l i t t l e  children  under the care of the d o c t o r , l i v i n g i n t h e room where a l l the b a t h i n g of the men and boys from the p i t had t o be done, and where t h e f o u l - s m e l l i n g p i t c l o t h e s had t o be d r i e d b e f o r e the common f i r e . "  ^  A s e r i e s of i l l u s t r a t e d pamphlets  e n t i t l e d Baths a t t h e  Pit-Head and the Works, "... which were s o l d l i t e r a l l y i n the tens of thousands i n mining and i n d u s t r i a l communities, p r e s s e d  164 home the s p e c i a l p o s s i b i l i t i e s and advantage of hot and c o l d 64  spray bath i n s t a l l a t i o n s . . . "  w h i l e , "Mrs. Bruce G l a s i e r  l e c t u r e d i n d i f f e r e n t parts of the country and d i s t r i b u t e d i l l u s t r a t e d pamphlets c a l l i n g a t t e n t i o n t o the enormous help that pit-head washing accommodation would be t o the wives and mothers of miners."  J  The Women's Labour League found that  the experimental pit-head baths of the Atherton C o l l i e r i e s i n Lancashire i n 1915, were;g%yen a good r e c e p t i o n .  "The t e s t i -  mony a l i k e of miners and t h e i r wives, and of enlightened employers and inspectors was unanimous."  ^  During and a f t e r the F i r s t World War, branches of the Women's Labour S e c t i o n grew up throughout the South Yorkshire coalfield.  The 1922 Motes and Minutes of the Women's Labour  Section of one of these branches i n the heart of the mining industry —  South E l m s a l l , Moorthorpe and South Kirkby —  i n d i c a t e the existence of branches of v a r y i n g strengths i n Rotherham, Featherstone, C h e s t e r f i e l d , S h e f f i e l d , York, Outwood, Leeds, Penistone, Cudworth, Askern and Ackworth. They ranged from 250 members i n S h e f f i e l d t o 20 members i n Featherstone.  From t h i s l i m i t e d source, i t i s hard t o gauge  the extent of the i n f l u e n c e of p o l i t i c s among women i n the c o l l i e r y towns, though i t i s i n t e r e s t i n g t o note the extreme enthusiasm and hope f o r the future which marked the notes of t h i s small branch of p o l i t i c a l l y a c t i v e women. As might be expected t h e i r main concerns were f o r c h i l d welfare through the schools —  " I t i s our duty t o mother the nation"? problems  of unemploymentj  votes f o r women a t 21 years of age? higher  t a x a t i o n of the wealthy? and, a f t e r the holocaust they had  165 r e c e n t l y experienced i n the Great War, a desire f o r no more war, .  "Why  should men and science be out f o r d e s t r u c t i o n  instead of r e c o n s t r u c t i o n and world peace?" they asked.  ^  I t i s almost impossible t o t e l l however how many wives were a f f e c t e d by s i m i l a r i n t e r e s t s i n p u b l i c questions i n the period w i t h which we are concerned. F i n a l l y , i n order t o attempt t o understand the wife of the coalminer f u r t h e r , the element of r i s k t o the l i f e of the  breadwinner must be taken i n t o account.  The element of  danger extended t o every member of the community, but f e l l e s p e c i a l l y hard upon the women who had t o bear the consequences of a f a t a l a c c i d e n t , which struck down the centre of s e n t i ment, and the breadwinner of the f a m i l y .  There i s no denying  that the t h r e a t of t h i s p o s s i b l e e v e n t u a l i t y c o n t i n u a l l y hung over the women-in the mining community, though i t was a threat w i t h which they had t o come t o terms i f p o s s i b l e . 1969,  As l a t e as  Rex Lucas found i n h i s study of the i m p l i c a t i o n s of a  mining d i s a s t e r upon those involved t h a t , "the d a i l y t h r e a t of death t o the breadwinner a f f e c t e d the f a m i l i e s of the miners. Many wives s t a t e d that as they saw t h e i r husbands o f f t o work, 68  they wondered i f they would see them a l i v e a g a i n . " I f p o s s i b l e , a wife had t o conceal her f e a r s from her husband and f a m i l y .  G.A.W. Tomlinson wrote how h i s own mother  was able t o hide her emotions: Sometimes there would be rumours of an accident a t the p i t and though Mother never t o l d us, we knew that she was troubled. Then we could s i t q u i e t l y together on the sofa w h i l s t she v/ent on preparing the supper f o r a man v/ho might never need i t . God alone knows what f e a r s she kept hidden from us and how w i t h i r o n cont r o l she continued t o attend t o the cooking of the supper. 69  166  When an accident d i d occur, a woman had t o r e t a i n the same i r o n w i l l and composure that she displayed under the threat.  The p i t posed a harsh t h r e a t t o l i f e , and had t o be  faced w i t h a s i m i l a r ruthlessness.  There e x i s t e d a sense  of community i n misfortune, so that one family's l o s s was everyone's l o s s , but a t the same time, s e n t i m e n t a l i t y was masked.  A poignant d e s c r i p t i o n of the e f f e c t s of tragedy i s  given by Tomlinson, when he w r i t e s from  experience:  Tears are r a r e things i n c o l l i e r y towns and v i l l a g e s . C o l l i e r s and t h e i r wives seldom c r y . I sometimes wish they d i d c r y o c c a s i o n a l l y , f o r the s i g h t of a woman's face when her man or son i n brought home from the p i t i n j u r e d i s one that haunts the mind f o r a long time a f t e r wards. I have seen them so many times as they have met the sweating party of men c a r r y i n g a husband or son — no excitement, no f l u t t e r i n g around the s t r e t c h e r , no f a i n t i n g , no t e a r s . Just the question, "Is i t very bad?" The muscles of the face s e t i n hard l i n e s , the l i p s drawn t i g h t together and the voice as steady as i t was when the man s t a r t e d o f f for the day's work. But i t i s i n the eyes that a man dare not look. 70 It i s l i t t l e wonder that the men who l e f t t h e i r l i f e s t o r i e s behind them were struck by the heroism of the women i n the mining communities. The women who were l e f t without means by a f a t a l a c c i dent t o the wage earner could r e l y on the.ihelp of the other members of the community f o r m a t e r i a l a i d . Apart from the occasional instances of compensation from the c o l l i e r y company —  t h i s appears t o be rare —  and a i d from the Union  or F r i e n d l y S o c i e t y , she would a l s o r e c e i v e help from neighbours.  I n a d d i t i o n t o h i s , explosions gave r i s e t o a f l o o d  of b a l l a d s and poetry-sheets,  which were s o l d i n the c i t i e s  167 and neighbouring towns to r a i s e money f o r the v i c t i m s of tragedy.  Such mining b a l l a d r y , though sentimental i n the  extreme, was e f f e c t i v e i n s t i r r i n g consciences and r a i s i n g alms.  One such b a l l a d was the Trimdon Grange E x p l o s i o n .  w r i t t e n i n 1882 by a working Durham c o l l i e r , Thomas Armstrong. Seventy-four men were l o s t i n t h i s p a r t i c u l a r tragedy, which e l i c i t e d t h i s ballad? "Oh l e t * s not t h i n k of tomorrow, l e s t we disappointed be. Our joys may t u r n t o sorrow, as we a l l may d a i l y see, Today we may be strong and healthy, but soon there comes a change, As we may see from the explosion that has been at Trimdon Grange. Men and boys l e f t home t h a t morning f o r t o earn t h e i r d a i l y bread, Nor thought before t h a t evening they'd be numbered w i t h the dead. Let's t h i n k of Mrs Burnett, once had sons but now has none — By the Trimdon Grange E x p l o s i o n , Joseph, George and James are gone. February l e f t behind i t what w i l l never be forgot? Weeping widows, h e l p l e s s c h i l d r e n may be found i n many a cot. Now they ask i f f a t h e r ' s l e f t them, and the mother hangs her head, With a weeping widow's f e e l i n g s , t e l l s the c h i l d i t s f a t h e r ' s dead. God protect the l o n e l y widow, and r a i s e each dropping head ? Be a f a t h e r to the orphans,never l e t them c r y f o r bread. Death w i l l pay us a l l a v i s i t , they have only gone before. We'll meet the Trimdon v i c t i m s where explosions are no more." 71  I t i s impossible t o say e x a c t l y what type of woman the miner's wife was, because she l e f t behind her no w r i t t e n record of her own.  I t can only be suggested from personal  168 accounts and inference that she possessed some or a l l of the above c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s .  On t h i n g i s c e r t a i n , the nature of  her s o c i a l and domestic r o l e d i d d i f f e r from that of other working c l a s s wives i n the ways suggested above.  It is  proposed that a l l miners* wives possessed some s i m i l a r c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , because of the nature of t h e i r work and environment, and i n t h i s respect they shared a degree of solidarily.  I n the words of the s o c i a l commentators I . Lubin  and H. E v e r e t t , which a p p r o p r i a t e l y conclude t h i s chapter: They are a l l f i g h t i n g the same b a t t l e against the d i r t brought home from the p i t : they a l l face the same round of meals ^preparation of bath water and the dry/ing of p i t clotnes i n houses where modern s a n i t a r y conditions are v i r t u a l l y unknown. I f t h e i r husbands and sons are working on d i f f e r e n t s h i f t s , t h e i r struggle may begin a t four i n the morning and end a t midnight. And through the hard r o u t i n e runs the d a i l y fear of d i s a s t e r f o r one's f a m i l y , and the despression that comes from moving among those whom death or serious accident has l e f t desolate. The l o t of a miner's wife gives t o her the same f i x i t y of purpose, the same i n t e n s i t y of c o n v i c t i o n as that of her husband. I f one asks the secret of the miner's "staying power" i n times o f c o n f l i c t , one must look t o the miner's wife f o r the answer. 72  FOOTNOTES TO CHAPTER V 1  N, Dennis, F. Henriques. and C. Slaughter, Goal i s our L i f e (London, 1956).  2  Peter Stearns, "Working-Class Women i n B r i t a i n . 1890 - 1914," i n S u f f e r and Be S t i l l . Women i n the V i c t o r i a n Age Ed. Martha V i c i n u s , (London, 1972), p. 113.  3  Lady Florence B e l l , pp. 242 - 243.  At The Works (London, 1911),  169  4  Coal and Power. The Report of an Enquiry presided over hy the Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd George, (London, 1924), p. 7  5  A, Hutt,  6  Report of the Departmental Committee on the P r o v i s i o n of Washing and Drying Accommodation a t Mines, B.P.P. 1913, XXXIV, p. 6.  7  G. H i t c h i n ,  8  I b i d . . pp. 13 - 14.  9  R.P. Arnot, The Miners: (London, 1953TTp. 148.  10  I b i d . , pp. 147 - 148.  11  J . Lawson,  12  F. Zweig,  13  Lawson, Op. C i t . . pp. 47 - 48.  14  Paul de Rousiers, The Labour Question i n B r i t a i n (London, I896), pp. 173 - 174.  15  G.A.W. Tomlinson,  16  M. Benney, C h a r i t y Main. (London, 1946), p. 19.  17  Hitchin,  Op. C i t . , pp. 21 - 22  18  Lawson,  Op. C i t . . pp. 59 - 6 0 .  19  E. Pontefract and M. H a r t l e y ,  20  J.E. W i l l i a m s , p. 449.  21  I b i d . , p. 449.  22  See Stearns,  23  H. Bosanquet,  24  Ibid.  25  The Condition of the Working Class (London,  1933), P. 3 0  Pit-Yacker (London, 1962), p. 20.  A Man's L i f e (London, 1932), pp. 5 2 - 53. Men i n P i t s  1950), p. 19.  (London, 1948), pp. 101 - 102.  Coal-Miner  (London, 1937), pp. 21 - 22.  A C o a l f i e l d Chronicle  Yorkshire Tour (London,  The Derbyshire Miners (London, 1962),  Op. C i t . , on t h i s t o p i c , p. 104.  1902), p. 103. t  Years of Struggle V o l . 2.  The Strength of the People  (London,  p. 107.  P. Reeves,  Family L i f e on a Pound a Week (London,  1912), p. 16.  170 26  I b i d . , p. 17.  27  Bell,  28  Report of the Interdepartmental Committee on P h y s i c a l D e t e r i o r a t i o n . B.P.P. 1904. XXXII, Appendix V, p. 123.  29  C i t e d by M. Hewitt i n , Wives and Mothers i n V i c t o r i a n Industry (London, 1958). p. 120.  30  Report on P h y s i c a l D e t e r i o r a t i o n . 1904. p. 124.  31  See M. Anderson, Family S t r u c t u r e i n Nineteenth Century Lancashire (Cambridge. 1971).  32  N.J. Smelser, S o c i a l Change i n the I n d u s t r i a l Revolution (London, 1959), p. 282.  33  I . Pinchbeck, Women Workers and the I n d u s t r i a l Revol u t i o n . 1750 - 1850 (London. 1930). P. 263.  34  Hewitt,  35  See Bosanquet,  36  F. Zweig, Op. C i t . . pp. 142 - 143.  37  B.L. Coombes,  38  R. Haddow, "The Miners of Scotland," The Nineteenth Century. V o l . XXIV, ( J u l y - Dec. 1888), p. 366.  39  S i r J . Tudor Walters, (London, 1927), p. 31  40  C i t e d i n J.E. W i l l i a m s , Op. C i t . . p. 453.  41  Report on the I n v e s t i g a t i o n i n the C o a l f i e l d of South Wales and Monmouth. B.P.P. 1928 - 29. V I I I . p. 6. "Languor" i s defined by Webster's D i c t i o n a r y as "lack of v i t a l i t y . "  42  L. Oren, "The Welfare of Women i n Labouring F a m i l i e s : England, I860 - 1950," Feminist Studies. V o l . I , (Winter/Spring 1973) P. 119.  43  N. Dennis et a l . , Op. C i t . . p. 243.  44  Stearns, Op. C i t . . p. 107  45  A. P l a t e r ,  46  Ibid.  47  Stearns,  Op. G i t . , p. 278.  Op. C i t . . p. 75. Op. C i t . . p. 191. These Poor Hands (London, 1939), p. 21  The B u i l d i n g of 12.000 Houses  Close the Coalhouse Door  Op. C i t . . p. 108.  (London, 1969)  171  48  I b i d . , p. 110  49  I b i d . , p. 112.  50  M. Young, "The D i s t r i b u t i o n of Income w i t h i n the Family," B r i t i s h J o u r n a l of Sociology. No. 3. ( 1 9 5 2 ) .  51  R. L l e w e l l y n , p. 8.  52  I b i d . , p. 228.  53  Stearns,  54  J . Brophy, p. 8.  55  Pinchbeck, Op. C i t . . pp. 262 - 263.  56  Lawson, Op. C i t . , pp. 59 - 60.  57  J . Wilson,  58  J.R. L e i f c h i l d , Our Coal and Our Coal-Pits> the People i n them and the Scenes around them (London. 1856). P. 219.  5$  Wilson,  60  Lawson, Op. C i t . , p. 64.  61  I b i d . , p. 66.  62  Dr. M. P h i l l i p s ( E d i t o r ) , (London, c i r c a 1919).  63  I b i d . . pp. 89 - 90  64  I b i d . , p. 90.  65  R. S m i l l i e ,  66  Phillips,  67  Notes and Minutes of the Women's Labour Section? South E l m s a l l , Moorthorpe and Sourth K i r k b y , 1922. MSS Cusworth H a l l Museum, Doncaster, Yorkshire.  68  R. Lucas,  69  G.A.W. Tomlinson,  70  I b i d . , pp. 154 - 155.  How Green was my V a l l e y (London, 1939)  Op. C i t . . p. 108. A Miner's L i f e (Madison and Milwaukee, 1964),  Memoirs of a Labour Leader (London, 1910).  Op. C i t . , pp. 268 - 269.  Women and the Labour Party  My L i f e f o r Labour (London, 1924), p. 153. Op. C i t . . p. 91  Men i n C r i s i s  (New York, 1969), p. 10.  Op. C i t . . p. 22.  172 A.L. L l o y d , PP. 78 - 79  Come A l l Ye Bold Miners (London, 1952),  I. Lubin and H. E v e r e t t , The B r i t i s h Coal Dilemma (New York, 1927), P. 193.  173 CHAPTER VI THE  COALMINER - HIS WORK  I am proud t h a t I am a miner, and the son of a miner, and although I have hated the p i t I am g r a t e f u l f o r what the men of the p i t s have taught me. 1 We must now t u r n t o the coalminer h i m s e l f and c o n s i d e r his  life  i n both i t s v o c a t i o n a l s o c i a l c o n t e x t s .  U n l i k e the  women of the c o a l towns, much has been w r i t t e n about the c o a l m i n e r s , and most w r i t e r s agree t h a t the s o l i d a r i t y which e x i s t e d between the coalminers as a group was t h e i r most n o t a b l e and d i s t i n c t i v e f e a t u r e . two —  The purpose of the f o l l o w i n g  chapters i s t o present some r e f l e c t i o n s on the coalminer on h i s work, h e a l t h , l e i s u r e p u r s u i t s , h i s s o c i a l  roles,  and t o attempt t o d i s t i n g u i s h some common f e a t u r e s of pers o n a l i t y which emerged from these f a c t o r s . to  They a r e an attempt  s k e t c h a p i c t u r e of the miner i n h i s o c c u p a t i o n a l and  s o c i a l r o l e -- a p i c t u r e which can only be an o u t l i n e , because of the sheer s i z e of the t o p i c .  The primary aim of  these d e s c r i p t i o n s i s t o i l l u s t r a t e the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c and s o l i d a r i t y which bound the coalminers t o g e t h e r .  cohesion  Reasons  why the coalminers have been designated as "a r a c e a p a r t " by h i s t o r i a n s and s o c i a l observers a r e put forward. Although  t h e r e a r e great v a r i a t i o n s i n l i f e  s t y l e s and  work among the c o a l f i e l d s , some p a r a l l e l s and common f e a t u r e s are drawn out i n these two c h a p t e r s .  The g r e a t e s t problem  here l i e s i n the d i f f e r i n g o p i n i o n s t h a t observers have h e l d of  the coalminers* behaviour.  S o c i a l commentators and  i n v e s t i g a t o r s have w r i t t e n both d i s p a r a g i n g and u p l i f t i n g assessments of the c o a l m i n e r s , and from these  differing  174 opinions we must attempt t o evaluate the character of the coalmining population.  This involves f i r s t l y ,  an examination  of the occupational r o l e and the a c t u a l working l i f e of the coalminers, how they were regarded by non-miners, and a l s o , the a t t i t u d e s t h a t the miners have taken towards  themselves.  The opening quotation from a working miner c r y s t a l l i z e s how most coalminers have regarded t h e i r l i f e and work.  I Despite the f a c t t h a t the coalmining i n d u s t r y was i n t e g r a l t o the economy of Great B r i t a i n i n the nineteenth century, the coalminers as a c l a s s were regarded as an i n f e r i o r group, set apart from the r e s t of the population by t h e i r p a r t i c u l a r l i v i n g and working c o n d i t i o n s . An observer i n 1842 s a i d t h a t " i n the character of the c o l l i e r population there are phenomena which demarcate i t from every other c l a s s 2 of the community."  For the l a s t two c e n t u r i e s , Frank  Machin s a i d that the coalminers had been assigned a lowly s o c i a l status by observers and that they had been described as "a people apart and an i n f e r i o r race."  J  Comments made by contemporary observers i l l u s t r a t e the general a t t i t u d e displayed towards the pitmen.  In the 1760 s  Arthur Young described them as "a most tumultuous, set  ,  sturdy  of people, g r e a t l y impatient of c o n t r o l , and much v o i d  of common i n d u s t r y . "  The very nature of the miners  1  work  caused outsiders t o regard them as being something l e s s than human.  Their work was t o many, unnatural, and as such added  175 a s i n i s t e r facet to t h e i r character.  The c o n d i t i o n s under  which they l a b o u r e d , i t was b e l i e v e d , f o s t e r e d d e g r a d a t i o n and immorality.  The i n v e s t i g a t i o n of the Royal Commissioners  i n t o C h i l d r e n ' s Employment i n 1842 added weight t o t h i s b e l i e f i n the p u b l i c mind. Moreover, the miners were regarded as b e i n g dangerous and v i o l e n t .  In 1839» a Welsh M.P. Wrote t o the Home Sec-  r e t a r y u r g e n t l y r e q u e s t i n g troops t o q u e l l C h a r t i s t  disturbances.  He lamented h i s s i t u a t i o n when he wrote, "a more l a w l e s s s e t of  men than the c o l l i e r s and miners do not e x i s t  ... I t  r e q u i r e s some courage t o l i v e among a s e t o f savages."  J  One of the reasons why o u t s i d e r s regarded the miners i n t h i s way was t h a t l i t t l e was r e a l l y known about them. I s o l a t e d g e o g r a p h i c a l l y from t h e r e s t of t h e p o p u l a t i o n , the  miners were m i s t r u s t e d and were a source of misunderstan-  d i n g s , s t o r i e s and rumours.  The m a j o r i t y o f miners l i v e d i n  v i l l a g e s p h y s i c a l l y i s o l a t e d from other workers, "out of s i g h t of the r e s t o f the community and w h o l l y out of i t s ken."  People d i s p l a y e d a remarkable ignorance about the  l i f e of the mining p o p u l a t i o n .  Even W i l l i a m Cobbett h e l d  a mistaken b e l i e f about the coalminers when he wrote i n h i s P o l i t i c a l R e g i s t e r i n 1832, "Here i s the most s u r p r i s i n g t h i n g i n the whole worldj of  thousands of men and thousands  horses c o n t i n u a l l y l i v i n g underground:  c h i l d r e n born  t h e r e , and who sometime never see the s u r f a c e a t a l l , they l i v e t o a c o n s i d e r a b l e age."  though  7  Cobbett was not alone i n b e l i e v i n g t h a t the mining popul a t i o n a c t u a l l y r e s i d e d underground.  As l a t e as 1856, we  176  have a reference t o t h i s same misunderstanding when John Wilson, the Durham miners' leader was working on the " c o l l i e r s " shipping sea c o a l t o London.  In h i s autobiography he des-  c r i b e s the f o l l o w i n g conversation he had with a London barman: "He was t o l d I was a pitman.  Pressing f o r more information,  he enquired how long I had been down the p i t . 'Seven years,' was the answer.  In most s u r p r i s e d tones he s a i d , 'Have you  not been up t i l l now?'  I was s u r p r i s e d at him, and r e p l i e d ,  'Yes, every day except on rare occasions.' 'Why,  I thought Q  you pitmen l i v e d down there always!' s a i d the q u e r i s t . " W. Palmer, a pitman f r i e n d of John Wilson's experienced a s i m i l a r i n c i d e n t i n London when h i s occupation was the cause of great i n t e r e s t t o the southerners: That increased the s u r p r i s e of the Londoner, and he requested the Northerner t o accompany him t o a tavern nearby, and took him i n t o the p a r l o u r , where a number of persons were s i t t i n g , and made Palmer walk round l i k e a horse showing h i s paces at a f a i r , and the general c r y was, "Why, he can walk as s t r a i g h t as ourselves. We thought those pitmen could only walk i n a doubled-up posture owing t o the cramped condit i o n of t h e i r work and t h e i r c o n t i n u a l residence underground." 9 So l i t t l e was a c t u a l l y known about the miners that i t i s hardly s u r p r i s i n g that "to the m a j o r i t y of people, especia l l y those i n the non-mining d i s t r i c t s , the miner was a c u r i o s i t y of i n f e r i o r s o c i a l s t a t u s . "  1 0  At l e a s t one miner bene-  f i t e d f i n a n c i a l l y from t h i s p u b l i c c u r i o s i t y .  John M a r s h a l l ,  reputed t o be the f i r s t c o l l i e r t o leave the p i t s i n the great n a t i o n a l stoppage of 1912, earned h i s l i v i n g a f t e r t h i s time as an a t t r a c t i o n i n the London music h a l l s .  He appeared  on the stage i n h i s work c l o t h e s , c a r r y i n g a p i c k and h i s , i miner's lamp. 11  177 I t was disaster  o n l y on t h e o c c a s i o n o f some g r e a t  or p r o l o n g e d  lock-out, that public lot  c e s s a t i o n o f work t h r o u g h a t t e n t i o n was  of the coalminers.  habits  the  seriously  public  interest  a n d b o y s were k i l l e d ,  the rescue workers f o r t h e i r However, s u c h p u b l i c t h e c a s e , and K e i r H a r d i e  expressed  a l a r m was n o t a l w a y s  his indignation  the r e s t  colliers  o u t s i d e r s , a p a r t from  pity  the focus of c u r i o s i t y ,  during times  was,  and h a v i n g l i t t l e  i n fact,  their  lives.  of the miners their  from  of tragedy, they  f e a r and d i s g u s t . the r e s t  i s o l a t i o n a n d by t h e n a t u r e  characteristic  lost  the explosion  I f t h e y were e v e r c o n s i d e r e d b y  as a c l a n n i s h s e t , c u t o f f f r o m  lifestyle,  after  t h e r e f o r e , received scant a t t e n t i o n  of the population.  by p h y s i c a l  i n the  o f t h e House t o  Wales m i n e r s  t h e A l b i o n C o l l i e r y when 260 m i n e r s The  praised  bravery.  House o f Commons i n 1894 a t t h e f a i l u r e  at  i n 1862,  of the r e l a t i v e s  o f Durham p u b l i c l y  and o f f i c i a l  sympathy t o t h e S o u t h  disaster  On  t h e Queen g a v e t h e l e a d  i n donating subscriptions f o r the r e l i e f of the v i c t i m s , while the Bishop  districts.  f o r instance.  o c c a s i o n o f t h e famous H a r t l e y C o l l i e r y  express  or  drawn t o t h e  outside of the coalmining  u s u a l l y provoked  when 204 men  a strike  N o t h i n g was known o f t h e l a b o u r o r  of the c o l l i e r s  Tragedy  colliery  T h e y were  regarded  of the population o f t h e i r work a n d  concern with  outsiders.  which most i m p r e s s e d  solidarity.  were  The  outsiders  178 II There were great variations between the working conditions of the d i f f e r e n t c o a l f i e l d s i n B r i t a i n and any assessment of the working s i t u a t i o n therefore, has to include some generalizations.  In examining these conditions, i t may be  seen that there were c e r t a i n common or c h a r a c t e r i s t i c features in the actual working s i t u a t i o n of the miners which served to d i s t i n g u i s h them further from other working-class  groups.  Throughout a l l c o a l f i e l d s , there was a hierarchy of workers ranging from the supervisors, deputies and overmen down to manual labourers.  Leaving aside the supervisory s t a f f ,  the most highly respected and wellpaid workers were those who worked on the coal face i t s e l f .  The stone-men whose  job was to blow down the roof to form roadways and g a l l e r i e s were considered to be at the top of the hierarchy, followed c l o s e l y by the coal cutters and hewers.'  These men alone worked  on a piece-rate, and i n fact they employed t h e i r own putters and f i l l e r s or haulage men on a d a i l y wage rate.  The face  men and the haulage men together governed the attitudes of t h e i r community, f o r they dominated the hierarchy of workers. They were the most i n f l u e n t i a l voices i n the l o c a l lodges, and most trade union disputes revolved around t h e i r grievances.  After these s k i l l e d and semi-skilled workers came the  poorly paid and i n a r t i c u l a t e lower orders i n the scale — the manual labourers and the surface workers. Rex Lucas, i n his study of Canadian coalmining, had argued that s o c i a l s t r a t i f i c a t i o n centred upon t h i s job struc12 ture.  However, t h i s s t r a t i f i c a t i o n was weak since there  179 was  no  closed  or f o r m a l  whereby a s e l e c t echelons could the  of the  few  apprenticeship  w o u l d be  job  scale.  coalmining  allowed t o reach the  Every healthy  e x p e c t t o become a hewer by  unique a p p r e n t i c e s h i p  system i n  and  upper  willing  his early twenties  system which p r e v a i l e d  boy through  i n the  coal  communities. The  c o a l owners p r e f e r r e d  miners r a t h e r ties  i n the  pitmen.  than outsiders, f o r they f e l t  was  c o n n e c t i o n s f o r the  discriminatedagainst  own  job  t o t h o s e who  by  identified being  coal-  close  and  already  skilled  or r e l a t i v e  reliable  had  mining  work.  Some  here, f o r outsiders  relegated  i n the  family  t o more m e n i a l  p i t , and  various  he  types  were tasks.  attached  would  to  gradually  o f work, up  the  scale.  of l a b o u r the  therefore  t o the  different  tasks,  up  at  coal face.  the  t o the  a high  described  p h a s e s o f work,  This  informal  h i s working  typical  This  of  internal  and  lowliest,  well-paid  apprenticeship the  recruitment  form of a passage  from the  most h i g h l y s k i l l e d  b e l o w was  autobiographers.  degree  mines which t o o k the  open t o a l l s o n s o f m i n e r s , and  in  that  l e a v i n g s c h o o l , w o u l d be  through a l l the  T h e r e was  all  be  however, on  father  work h i s way  given  more h i g h l y p a i d  f o r m o f s e l e c t i o n may  his  sons of  i n d u s t r y p r o d u c e d more k n o w l e d g e a b l e and  Preference  A l o c a l boy  t o employ t h e  career  i s what a m i n e r ' s s o n  menial  positions  system  of George  of those d e s c r i b e d  by  might  through  was  Parkinson  the  miner  expect  life:  On t h a t l e v e l o f l i f e , I p a s s e d f r o m c h i l d h o o d t o manhood t h r o u g h t h e o r d i n a r y c u r r i c u l u m o f t h e northern pitboy's l o t . I graduated s u c c e s s i v e l y  180 from the s t a r t i n g - p o i n t of a doorkeeper i n the mine a t n i n e y e a r s o f age, t h r o u g h a l l t h e s t a g e s of a m i n e r ' s t o i l and i t s d a n g e r s , t i l l a t 21 y e a r s of age I t o o k my d e g r e e a s a c o a l hewer, t h i s b e i n g the h i g h e s t u n o f f i c i a l p o s i t i o n a t t a i n a b l e a t the c o s t o f t h e h a r d e s t f r o m o f m i n i n g l a b o u r known. L i k e an a p p r e n t i c e c o m p l e t i n g h i s "time", so the " p u t t e r " , o r c o n v e y o r o f c o a l , b e c o m i n g a hewer, has r e a c h e d h i s h i g h e s t l e v e l , and i n t h e o l d p i t p h r a s e , "He's now a man f o r h i s s e l ' . " 13 Although  t h e r e was  community e x p r e s s e d H e n r y P e l l i n g has  a form of a p p r e n t i c e s h i p  by means o f t h e  a r g u e d t h a t t h e r e was  w i t h i n t h e m i n i n g community. men  who  worked  as h a v i n g no  its  formal,  class  on t h e  reached  was  the  no  Though t h e  f a c e were r e s p e c t e d top  of the  social  highest by  the  selective  overtones.  age.  cleavage  entrance  Hewers and their  T h e r e was  mining  hierarchy, cleavage paid  crafts-  community  occupational scale, there  l a b o u r a r i s t o c r a c y o f E . J . Hobsbawm's d e f i n i t i o n  p a i d pitmen but and  occupational  i n the  requirements,  and  lower middle  f a c e w o r k e r s were t h e  highest  o n l y q u a l i f i c a t i o n s were t h e i r  t h e r e f o r e , "the a b s e n c e  of  with  strength  social  s u c h as m i g h t a p p l y where a l a b o u r a r i s t o c r a c y 14  existed." The  d e g r e e o f p r o m o t i o n depended upon a man's s t r e n g t h  and  t h e r e w o u l d be  some weaker men  the  promotion race.  well-paid  surface  immigrant  labourers.  of  They spent  or underground  who  never entered  t h e i r working l i f e jobs, working  archy,  but  or t e n s i o n s  as  in  less  alongside  However, t h e i r c a r e e r s were n o t  t h e n o r m a l work c y c l e o f t h e m i n e r s .  been r e g a r d e d  into  i n f e r i o r by t h o s e  i t is difficult  a t the  typical  T h e i r j o b s may top  of the  hier-  t o prove t h a t a s t r o n g s o c i a l  emerged between them and  more h i g h l y p a i d  have  gap  workers.  181 Family circumstances v a r i e d enormously, according t o the number of dependants, wage earners and paying lodgers, i n d i c a t i n g that s o c i a l s t r a t i f i c a t i o n was weak i n the coalmining communities. A man might serve h i s apprenticeship and graduate  into  the mining e l i t e , but he l i v e d i n the same house, drank i n the same pub, and, under a wage system whereby earnings were d i v i d e d up by a team of workers according t o the i n d i v i d u a l ' s labours, no s o c i a l pretensions could be assumed.  Earnings,  and therefore s o c i a l s t a t u s , could be estimated by a l l i n the c l o s e working and l i v i n g c o n d i t i o n s of the mining community.  Status symbols, f o r instance, held l i t t l e sway.  The miner, moreover, was bound i n time t o be r e l e g a t e d t o a l e s s strenuous but poorly paid job once h i s strength began to f a i l him. This expectation operated against h i s opening up a s o c i a l r i f t w i t h h i s i n f e r i o r s i n the job s c a l e , since he would not be able t o maintain i t throughout h i s l i f e t i m e . If we examine the ages of workers i n the coalmining i n d u s t r y , the t y p i c a l career of the coalminer described above, can be traced.  Table I taken from the Census Report of 1891  shows the numbers of coalminers i n various age groups i n England and Wales, i n that year. TABLE I To show the numbers of coalminers a t eight groups of ages. 1891. Total  10-  15-  15 20-  25-  35-  L  5-  55-  65-  Coal Miners 31,518 94,312 85,175 126,785 86,366 54,327 26,801 8,559 513,843  182 T h i s t a b l e i n c l u d e s workers i n a l l phases o f c o a l m i n i n g . T h e r e i s a l a r g e i n c r e a s e i n t h e numbers o f m i n e r s i n t h e age  g r o u p 25 t o 34 y e a r s , a n d a f t e r t h i s ,  decline,  so t h a t t h e r e a r e f a r fewer coalminers  o f 55 y e a r s table  than  t h e r e a r e under t h e age o f twenty y e a r s .  55 y e a r s  of age.  In Table  This  —  The t a b l e shows f i g u r e s  both  o f miners i n  c o a l f a c e , work,  h a u l a g e a n d m a i n t e n a n c e , a n d s u r f a c e work — 1911.  normally  I I , the occupation  b r o k e n down e v e n f u r t h e r t o show t h e number  the t h r e e main c a t e g o r i e s o f c o a l m i n i n g  and  over t h e age  and t h e r a t e o f r e t i r e m e n t and death  escalated after  in  steadily  i n d i c a t e s t h a t c o a l m i n i n g was p r i m a r i l y a y o u n g man's  occupation,  is  t h e numbers  a t v a r i o u s ages  f o r England  and Wales,  f o r our model, t h e A d m i n i s t r a t i v e County o f Y o r k s h i r e .  TABLE I I Occupation England and Wales W orkers at the face  To show t h e numbers o f c o a l m i n e r s a t s e v e n g r o u p s o f a g e s f o r E n g l a n d a n d W a l e s , a n d Y o r k s h i r e . 1911. 16  10-  7,249  Other Worker Under ground Workers on t h e surface  7,807  York -shire workers at the face  96  15-  20-  25-  35-  45-  55-64  43,970 77,841 155,717 115,41C 56,405 39,901  39,903 26,521 15,598  81,968 42,991  51,925  17,195 11,164  17,948 14,788 11,577  2,991 11,085 25,854  8,168  20,006 11,416 5,318  183 TABLE I I - continued Occupation Others under ground  10-  2fi-  15-  3,559  Workers on the surface 1,996  25-  35-  45-  55-64  16,452 6,998  6,848  ^,575  2,732  1,390  2,851  3,054  2,448  1,810  1,169  1,771  On both the n a t i o n a l and the county l e v e l , i t can be seen that the numbers of hewers increased w i t h age among the younger workers, and more e s p e c i a l l y i n the age period 20 t o 34 years.  The huge decline i n the number of other wor-  kers underground a f t e r the age of 20 years and the r a p i d increase i n the number of hewers a t t h i s age, i n d i c a t e s that the process of promotion from haulage t o face work was a t work here.  The number of surface workers i n the age period  20 t o 24 years f a l l s i n both cases below the number of j u v e n i l e s and older men i n t h i s category of work.  At t h i s age  a young man was probably promoted t o more h i g h l y paid work underground.  A f t e r the age of 25 years, the number of sur-  face workers was swelled by those miners who had been i n j u r e d underground and were confined t o l e s s strenuous jobs on the surface, and those u n s k i l l e d immigrants who were too o l d or too f a r removed from mining t o be taught more s p e c i a l i z e d underground work.  I t may be noted from t h i s t a b l e that boys  and youths began t h e i r careers p r i m a r i l y i n underground support work, which was u s u a l l y connected with t r a n s p o r t , maintenance or v e n t i l a t i o n .  The e a r l i e s t age a t which work  184 commenced was twelve years, though the minimum age f o r p i t work had been raised to fourteen years i n 1911.  Those  who  began work at t h i s early age perhaps combined some part time schooling with t h e i r job. The actual working conditions that t h i s hierarchy of workers experienced have been amply described i n secondary sources, but i t i s the distinguishing features of pitwork that are of importance here.  The d i f f i c u l t i e s presented  to the miners by the working environment "serve to d i s t i n -  17 guish them i n some ways"  from other occupational groups,  and " i t i s invariably said by the miners that pitwork can never be other than an unpleasant, d i r t y , dangerous and •I  d i f f i c u l t job."  Q I f we examine the attitudes of outside  observers to the miner's work, and the r e f l e c t i o n s of the miners themselves upon t h e i r jobs, i t can be seen how the miners were distinguished from other occupational groups by the nature of t h e i r work and i t s environment. The f i r s t aspects of"coalmining tobe considered are the special p e c u l i a r i t i e s of the physical working s i t u a t i o n . The surroundings of the underground workers were constantly moving as the earth settled over the caverns and tunnels created by the miners.  In t h i s respect the environment can be  described as being dynamic and unpredictable.  Unlike other  occupations.working conditions were constantly changing, and planning therefore could not be uniform or standardized. No  two coal faces were ever a l i k e and, indeed, one coal face  could go through many phases of change, from r o l l s i n the  185  f l o o r or roof s t r a t a t o f a u l t s where the c o a l might disappear completely.  The r o o f or f l o o r might become wet, and a r e l a -  t i v e l y safe working area might suddenly become u n c e r t a i n or dangerous. The u n c e r t a i n t y and u n p r e d i c t a b i l i t y of the working s i t u a t i o n a f f e c t e d the a t t i t u d e of the coalminer t o h i s work, and r e q u i r e d a high degree of a l e r t n e s s and s e n s i t i v i t y t o changing c o n d i t i o n s on the part of the miner.  This served  t o draw the miners more c l o s e l y together f o r , "the s o l i d a r i t y and independence of the miners... must i n part be due t o f e e l i n g s engendered by working i n a world of t h e i r own faced 19  with an ever-present sense of danger."  Other more s t r i -  king d i s t i n c t i o n s concern, "... the p e c u l i a r nature of the environment... work.  compared w i t h a f a c t o r y or other place of  The miner descends i n t o a world where the most obvious  features are darkness, dust and a sense of i s o l a t i o n .  In  many cases these c o n d i t i o n s are coupled w i t h excessive heat, 20  water and cramped working c o n d i t i o n s . "  These "dark, d i r t y  and dangerous" aspects of coalmining were the reasons why the miners had "a psychology p e c u l i a r t o t h e i r trade and  why  non-mining people o f t e n regard miners w i t h an ambiguous mix21  ture of respect rand r e j e c t i o n , " Coalmining encompasses c o n d i t i o n s of extreme v a r i e t y . Seams may be narrow so that men can never work i n a standing position?  the atmosphere can be dry, dusty and e x c e s s i v e l y  hot; or c o n d i t i o n s may be wet and s l i p p e r y .  Whatever the  p e c u l i a r c o n d i t i o n s of the mine, there were c e r t a i n d i f f i c u l t i e s t h a t the miner had t o l e a r n t o overcome i n h i s  186  everyday  work.  One  f e a t u r e common t o a l l c o a l m i n e r s , was  constant b a t t l e a g a i n s t darkness understandable from his  and  t h a t the miner f e l t  h i m s e l f t o be  o t h e r i n d u s t r i a l w o r k e r s , and work a s m a r k i n g him  Although  o f f from  P a u l de  that outsiders regarded  other  occupational  observations  implementation  R o u s i e r s was  still  a machine w i t h o u t  any  from  groups.  end  of  i n 1893  that  his  "their  t h a t o f t h e f a c t o r y hand  muscular f a t i g u e  the  of v a r i o u s s a f e t y  a b l e t o w r i t e from  i n the L o t h i a n c o a l f i e l d  work i s v e r y d i f f e r e n t  It i s  distinct  working c o n d i t i o n s improved towards the  n i n e t e e n t h century, with the feature,  i t s limitations.  the  tending  i n a l a r g e and  well-  22 ventilated By visited was  building."  studying the  experiences  o f o b s e r v e r s who  actually  the p i t s  w a t c h e d men  work, we  how  regarded  and  by n o n - m i n e r s .  overcome by t h e v i s i t o r , In  1835,  in  descending  was  John H o l l a n d noted  The  first  can  see  major o b s t a c l e t o  the a c t u a l  descent  i n h i s experiences  various c o l l i e r i e s  that  p i t work  of the  be  shaft.  that i t  was  "sensations bordering  23 on t h e a w f u l a r e The  inevitably  c o a l f a c e c o u l d be  the bottom of the distance  on f o o t  s h a f t , and  experienced." a n y t h i n g up the  t h e u n d e r g r o u n d - r o a d w a y s on f o o t was was  one  t h a t G e o r g e O r w e l l had  His description of  any  of t h i s  had  from  to travel  began.  difficulty  The  miles  this  Travelling  an a r t i n i t s e l f ,  o p e r a t i o n i s one  s t r a n g e r underground.  to five  collier  b e f o r e h i s w o r k i n g day  y  and  i n mastering. o f t h e most g r a p h i c  d i f f i c u l t i e s ' he  encoun-  187 t e r e d r e f l e c t those of any newcomer t o the mine quoted  and  are  i n f u l l t o demonstrate a f u r t h e r s p e c i a l i z e d c o n d i -  t i o n of the miner's  occupations  • U s u a l l y i t i s bad going underfoot - t h i c k dust or jagged chunks of s h a l e , and i n some mines where t h e r e i s water i t i s mucky as a farmyard. Also there i s the t r a c k f o r the c o a l t u b s , l i k e a m i n i a t u r e r a i l w a y t r a c k w i t h s l e e p e r s a f o o t or two a p a r t , which i s tiresome t o walk on ... At the s t a r t t o walk s t o o p i n g i s r a t h e r a joke, but i t i s a joke t h a t soon wears o f f . I am handicapped by b e i n g e x c e p t i o n a l l y t a l l , but when the r o o f f a l l s to f o u r f e e t or l e s s i t i s a tough job f o r anybody except a dwarf or a c h i l d . You have not o n l y got to bend double, you have a l s o got t o keep your head up a l l the while so as t o see the beams and g i r d e r s and dodge them when they come. You have, t h e r e f o r e , a constant c r i c k i n the neck, but t h i s i s n o t h i n g t o the p a i n i n your knees and t h i g h s . A f t e r h a l f a mile i t becomes (I am not exaggerating) an unbearable agony. You b e g i n t o wonder i f you w i l l ever get t o the end - s t i l l more, how on e a r t h you are going t o get back. Your pace grows slower and slower. You come t o a s t r e t c h of a couple of hundred yards where i t i s a l l e x c e p t i o n a l l y low and you have t o work y o u r s e l f along i n a s q u a t t i n g position. Then suddenly the r o o f opens out t o a mysterious h e i g h t - scene of an o l d f a l l of rock probably - and f o r twenty whole yards you can stand u p r i g h t . The r e l i e f i s overv/helming. But a f t e r t h i s there i s another low s t r e t c h of a hundred yards and then a s u c c e s s i o n of beams which you have t o crawl under. You go down on a l l f o u r s j even t h i s i s a r e l i e f a f t e r the s q u a t t i n g b u s i n e s s . But when you come to the end of the beams and t r y t o get up a g a i n , you f i n d t h a t your knees have t e m p o r a r i l y s t r u c k work and r e f u s e t o l i f t you. You c a l l a h a l t . . . Your guide (a miner) i s sympathetic. He knows t h a t your muscles are not the same as h i s . . . f i n a l l y you do somehow creep as f a r as the c o a l f a c e . You have gone a mile and taken the best p a r t of an hour; a miner would do i t i n not much more than twenty minutes. Having got t h e r e , you have t o sprawl i n the c o a l dust and get your s t r e n g t h back f o r s e v e r a l minutes before you can even watch the work i n progress w i t h any k i n d of i n t e l l i g e n c e . 24 Orwell was  a l s o h i g h l y impressed w i t h the work  performed  by the miners, under c o n d i t i o n s which he compared t o h i s  188 mental impression of h e l l .  Under these conditions he watched  t e r r i f i c feats of work being performed by the f i l l e r s .  These  men could each load between ten and f i f t e e n tons of coal 25 per "day on to the conveyor belts or into tubs. -\ It i s impossible to watch the " f i l l e r s " at work without f e e l i n g a pang of envy f o r t h e i r toughness. It i s a dreadful job that they do, an almost superhuman job by the standards of the ordinary person. For they are not only s h i f t i n g monstrous quantities of coal, they are also doing i t i n a p o s i t i o n that doubles or trebles the work. They have got to remain kneeling a l l the while - they could hardly r i s e from t h e i r knees without h i t t i n g the c e i l i n g ... And the other conditions do not exactly make things easier. There i s the heat - i t v a r i e s , but i n some mines i t i s suffocating and. the coal dust that s t u f f s up your throat and n o s t r i l s and c o l l e c t s along your eyelids... But the f i l l e r s look and_work as though they were made of iron. 26 The miners had to adapt to cramped working conditions, and i n fact became expert at working i n a kneeling or l y i n g position.  Those miners who wrote i n t h e i r autobiographies  of the experiences they encountered when they were f i r s t learning the miner's trade describe the s p e c i a l i z a t i o n s and adaptations required by mining.  The environment  i n which  the coalminer laboured necessitated the development of special s k i l l s , strength, and attitudes to work, and an i n t u i t i v e avoidance of injury.  B.L. Coombes who entered mining  in South Wales from an a g r i c u l t u r a l background found that: The need to watch where you step, the d i f f i c u l t y of breathing i n the confined space, the necessity to watch how high you move your head, and the trouble of seeing under these strange conditions are a l l confusing u n t i l one has learned to do them automatically. My mate lay on his side and cut under the coal. It took me weeks to learn the way of swinging elbows and twisting wrists without moving shoulders. 2? Of the end of h i s f i r s t s h i f t of work he wrote: How glad I was to drag my aching body toward that c i r c l e of daylight! I had sore knees and was wet from  189 the waist down. The back of my r i g h t hand was raw and my back f e l t the same. My eyes were h a l f closed because of the dust and my head was aching where I had h i t i t against the top, but I had been eight hours i n a strange, new world. 28 The hours worked by the miners were a source of controversy, and from the 1860's to 1908, the Miners' Federation of Great B r i t a i n was committed to a p o l i c y t o secure an eight-hour day.  Apart from the obvious advantages of spen-  ding l e s s time underground i n the c o n d i t i o n s described above, the Federation was i n t e r e s t e d i n keeping c o a l production down t o a l e v e l whereby the market would not be swamped. Ben P i c k a r d , the Yorkshire miners' leader fought a r d e n t l y f o r shorter hours, f o r the sake of s a f e t y and h e a l t h .  In 1891,  he addressed the J o i n t Conference of Coal Owners and the M.F.G.B. i n the f o l l o w i n g ways The long hours our men have t o put i n from the time they leave t h e i r homes t o engage upon t h e i r work i n any s h i f t i s on the average longer than i n any other trade or occupation i n the country. The average i s from f i v e i n the morning u n t i l two or three i n the afternoon, which means 1 0 i t o 11 hours a c t u a l l y engaged e i t h e r i n g e t t i n g t o t h e i r work or being engaged at the c o a l f a c e . . . . W h i l s t these men on the surface ( i n other occupations) are breathing pure a i r , being s u p p l i e d w i t h warm food and d r i n k s , w i t h t h e i r half-hour t o breakfast and t h e i r hour to dinner, w i t h such i n t e r v a l s i n t h e i r t o i l , our miners are h u r r y i n g as i f f o r l i f e or death from home to the p i t bank, and when they descend the mines the only pure a i r they possess during that day i s what they take down w i t h them. From the time they enter the mine they are breathing impure a i r , r i s k i n g t h e i r l i v e s every moment they are underground, and t h e i r t o i l i s more dangerous and exhaustive than any other work known on the surface. We have more permanently d i s a b l e d men than any other t r a d e , and there i s not the s l i g h t e s t doubt that we have more k i l l e d , s e r i o u s l y i n j u r e d , and non-seriously i n j u r e d than h a l f the trades of the country put together. I t has j u s t been a s c e r t a i n e d  190 t h a t a great p o r t i o n of the a c c i d e n t s r e s u l t i n g i n persons k i l l e d and i n j u r e d occurred d u r i n g the l a t e r hours of the s h i f t worked. 29 I t was  t h i s l a s t f a c t t h a t e v e n t u a l l y helped  o f f i c i a l eight-hour  day  f o r the coalminers  t o win  i n 1908,  the  which  reduced the average working day f o r the miner from between f i f t y minutes and  one  hour.  Working c o n d i t i o n s were t h e r e f o r e , of an and  d i s t i n c t i v e nature f o r the coalminers.  s p e c i a l s k i l l s , and  exceptional  They a c q u i r e d  adapted t h e i r bodies t o working i n c l o s e  s i t u a t i o n s so t h a t the a c t u a l work i n v o l v e d i n hewing and t r a n s p o r t i n g c o a l underground seemed t o be second nature t o them t o outside  observers.  c o n d i t i o n s such as bad d i s e a s e s and  However, the a c t u a l environmental  a i r , d i r t , poor l i g h t i n g and  the  i n j u r i e s t h a t they promoted, c o u l d not be  come so e a s i l y and from o u t s i d e r s ,  over-  the miners t h e r e f o r e deserved sympathy  John Brophy found i n h i s experiences  mining t h a t the coalminer  withstood  hardships  s i t y , but t h i s d i d not make those hardships bear.  To be a s u c c e s s f u l miner was  having  the r i g h t a t t i t u d e t o the  out  any  of necces-  easier to  simply a q u e s t i o n  job.  in  of  T h i s s e t him apart  from  the newcomer i n t o mining: An experienced miner would o f t e n work c a l m l y on under c o n d i t i o n s t h a t would t e r r i f y a n o v i c e . T h i s was not because he l i k e d t a k i n g chances, but because he had t o work s t e a d i l y , w i t h as l i t t l e l o s t time as p o s s i b l e , t o get out a good day's p r o d u c t i o n . He had t o develop something l i k e a s i x t h sense t h a t would t e l l him when the chances were going a g a i n s t him, and never miss t h a t warning or h i s c a r e e r i n mining would be a s h o r t one. 30  191  III The  coalminer  d i d not escape unharmed i n h i s l i f e t i m e  of labour i n t h i s environment. impaired,  He  expected t o have h i s h e a l t h  or t o succumb t o i n j u r y at some time i n h i s c a r e e r ,  as a d i r e c t r e s u l t of the c o n d i t i o n s a l r e a d y We  must now  described.  c o n s i d e r the e f f e c t s of these c o n d i t i o n s upon  c o l l i e r y s a f e t y and the h e a l t h of the miner. The nature had  of the miner's work p l a c e was  such t h a t he  t o be aware a t a l l times of the dangers t h a t might b e f a l l  him.  Roof f a l l s ,  f l o o r movements, f i r e s , f l o o d i n g and p o i -  sonous gas were ever present t h r e a t s .  The h i g h a c c i d e n t r a t e  of the i n d u s t r y i n d i c a t e s the u n p r e d i c t a b l e nature ground work. a coalminer to  his  To combat the dangerous nature  of under-  of h i s job,  developed a s e n s i t i v i t y and knowledge p e c u l i a r  occupation:  A man w i l l g e n t l y tap the r o o f w i t h the head of a pick-shaft. The sound w i l l t e l l him how s a f e i t is. He must d i s t i n g u i s h between a prop t h a t i s merely c r e a k i n g and one t h a t i s about t o break. The d i s t a n t rumbling of a runaway tub, the s l i g h t e s t change i n the movement of the a i r , a d u s t i ness i n the atmosphere, the mighty b e l c h as the f l o o r heaves upwards, or a t r i c k l e of stones from the r o o f j each w i l l b r i n g a miner's senses t o concert p i t c h . 31 However, a c c i d e n t a l deaths from e x p l o s i o n s , f l o o d i n g , and  (most w a s t e f u l  of a l l of l i f e ) , r o o f  occurred t o a t r a g i c degree.  I f death r a t e s  are c o n s i d e r e d ,  with the e x c e p t i o n  mining  was,  the most dangerous occupation researches  asphyxiation,  in Britain.  i n t o the m o r t a l i t y of coalminers  falls,  through:violence,  J.S.  of s e a f a r i n g , Haldane's  demonstrated  t h a t the miners had a h i g h e r than average r a t e of death to  accidents.  Table  I I I below draws upon h i s f i g u r e s .  due  192 TABLE I I I To show the annual death rates from a c c i d e n t s , -per 1.000 l i v i n g i n B r i t a i n , i n age groups. 32 15 - 25  25 - 35  35 - 45  45 - 55  55 - 65  1849 - 53 A l l Males  0.9  1.0  1.15  1.4  1.6  Coalminers  5.7  5.3  6.2  6.9  5.9  1910 - 12 A l l Males  0.4  0.5  0.6  0.8  1.1  Coalminers  1.3  1.2  1.6  . 1.9  2.3  (Notes  the f i g u r e s i n the l a t e r time period include those r e t i r e d males as w e l l as occupied males.)  The wide v a r i a t i o n i n the f i g u r e s f o r coalminers  between  these two dates i n d i c a t e s that the accident rate was d e c l i ning considerably, due to the i n t r o d u c t i o n of s a f e t y l e g i s l a t i o n i n mining. However, the rates f o r the coalminers were s t i l l more than double those of the n a t i o n a l r a t e s i n the l a t e r period.  The f i g u r e s f o r the Midlands c o a l f i e l d s during  the e a r l i e r period were considerably l e s s than the n a t i o n a l rates f o r coalminers. sand coalminers  Thus, deaths by violence per one thou-  i n Yorkshire, Derbyshire,  Nottinghamshire,  Warwickshire, and L e i c e s t e r s h i r e combined ( t o t a l of 33»000 men)  were as f o l l o w s f o r each year from 1851 to 1853*-  a l l accidents — 3 . 4 j  explosions — 1.1?  and other accidents - 1.3 per thousand.  3 3  roof f a l l s — In the  l.Oj  Black  Country, where 32,500 miners worked i n these years, the a l l -  34 accident r a t e was 7.1 per thousand employed. J  I t was the small scale or i n d i v i d u a l tragedies from roof f a l l s which claimed the greatest annual t o l l of l i f e . For instance, between 1903 and 1912 the annual death rate  193 per  1,000  coalminers  explosions —  follows:  Shaft a c c i d e n t s — causes) —  (all  i n certain 0.17;  0.11;  0.78;  types falls  o f a c c i d e n t s was of ground  miscellaneous  as  —  0.74;  —0.44;  above  a n d , u n d e r and above  ground  ground  ( a l l causes)  35 —  1.33.  I t was  unnnoticed  t h e r e f o r e , those  by t h e p u b l i c  a c c i d e n t s w h i c h went  w h i c h were t h e most d e s t r u c t i v e o f  life. Deaths  i n c o a l m i n i n g u s u a l l y caught the a t t e n t i o n of the  p u b l i c when t h e y these  the b a s i s of the f o l k - l o r e disasters  made t h e p u b l i c  of the miners.  conscious  o f how  c o n d i t i o n s under which the c o l l i e r  comment, dangers  different  laboured  which  "These  most  more k e e n l y aware o f t h e u n u s u a l and  i t was  i n m i n i n g b a l l a d r y and  l e d t o e n q u i r i e s , occasioned  the miners' occupation the  i n d i s a s t e r p r o p o r t i o n s , and  a c c i d e n t s t h a t were r e c o r d e d  formed major  occurred  as  of  were  compared  36 with  other workers." Table  IV r e c o r d s  v  some o f t h e more n o t a b l e  colliery  d i s a s t e r s i n B r i t a i n , w h i c h p r o m p t e d t h e sympathy o f t h e p u b l i c . Those which o c c u r r e d i n Y o r k s h i r e a r e i n d i c a t e d . TABLE IV To show t h e p r i n c i p a l c o l l i e r y d i s a s t e r s i n B r i t a i n .  1856 Name o f  18W.37  colliery  Lund H i l l ( Y o r k s h i r e Risca The Oaks ( Y o r k s h i r e ) Ferndale Swaithe Main ( Y o r k s h i r e ) Blantyre Haydock Abercarne Risca Seaham Pendlebury Llanerch Thornhill (Yorkshire) Albion C o l l . , Pontypridd  Number Dead  Date Feb. Dec. Dec. Nov. Dec. Oct. June, Sept. July, Sept. June, Feb. July, June,  1857 1860 1866 1867 1875 1877 1878 1878 1880 1880 1885  1890  1893 1894  189 130 361 178 143 207 189 268 120 164 178 176 139 290  194 The most devastating accident i n B r i t i s h coalmining h i s t o r y occurred i n 1913 at Senghenydd i n South Wales, when 439 men and hoys were k i l l e d at one time. Between I856 and 1880, an average of one thousand miners died annually under v i o l e n t circumstances i n the p i t s .  With  increased numbers of miners at work at the t u r n of the century, t h i s annual f i g u r e rose i n some years t o 1 , 5 0 0 . alone, 1,818 miners were k i l l e d .  In 1910  Four miners died each day,  on average, i n the B r i t i s h c o a l f i e l d s between 1880 and 1910. However, these f i g u r e s do not i n d i c a t e the every day dangers that the miners had t o face, so i m p r e s s i v e l y , as do the f i g u r e s f o r n o n - f a t a l accidents.  Under the 1906 Notice of  Accidents A c t , the f o l l o w i n g numbers of i n j u r i e s were reported i n the United Kingdom, as causing disablement f o r periods 39  longer than seven days.  J 7  1908 - 143,258  1911 - 168,360  1909 - 154,740  1912 - 1 5 2 , 3 0 2  1910 - 160,638  1913 - 178,962  These f i g u r e s represent between 14 and 15 per cent of the t o t a l number of employed i n mining.  They do not record  minor accidents which caused disablement f o r l e s s than one week, and probably not a l l accidents were reported.  It i s  c e r t a i n , however, from these f i g u r e s t h a t the miner had t o expect some i n j u r y t o b e f a l l him during h i s working l i f e , and t h a t , " the f a m i l i e s of the miners l i v e at a l l times under the shadow of calamity, great or s m a l l . " In times of a c c i d e n t , the c o l l i e r s formed t h e i r  own  rescue teams, and consequently the m a j o r i t y of miners were  195 aware of the d e s t r u c t i v e e f f e c t s of an e x p l o s i o n , f l o o d or roof f a l l , e i t h e r through personal experience  or hearsay.  No miner who witnessed or heard the d e t a i l s of a tragedy could remain unmoved, and the importance of d i s a s t e r s l i e s i n t h e i r impact upon the miners and the mining community. There are many d e s c r i p t i o n s from observers and i n v e s t i g a t o r s of the e f f e c t s of explosions, which leave l i t t l e t o the imagination.  One such d e s c r i p t i o n of a fire-damp explosion i n the  C o l l i e r y Manager's Handbook of 1896  perhaps throws some l i g h t  upon the o f f i c i a l a t t i t u d e t o t r a g e d i e s , on the part of the management.  Here, the waste of human l i f e was granted  the  same importance as the d e s t r u c t i o n of m a t e r i a l objectss In i t s d e s t r u c t i v e progress (the fire-damp explosion) everything presenting an impediment, unless strong enough t o r e s i s t the b l a s t , i s hurled t o one side or overthrownj doors, a i r - c r o s s i n g s , trams, horses, men, the timbers f o r securing the roadways, e t c . , u s u a l l y o f f e r no obstacle t o the f u r y of the exp l o s i o n . The road timbers being knocked down the roof f a l l s i n , and the v e n t i l a t i o n i s a r r e s t e d . In other parts of the roadways the timbers are c o n s i derably charred and d e f l e c t e d from an upright p o s i t i o n : t h e i r a l t e r e d s t a t e and appearance p o i n t i n g almost as c e r t a i n l y as a f i n g e r - p o s t i n the d i r e c t i o n of the b l a s t . Too often the evidence of such mute objects i s a l l that i s t o be obtained, f o r those who escape the violence of the explosion are poisoned by the after-damp, and not one i s spared to throw l i g h t upon the calamity. 41 A more sympathetic  d e s c r i p t i o n i s afforded by John  Holland of the F e l l i n g C o l l i e r y d i s a s t e r i n Durham.  The  explosion occurred i n May of 1812, but the 92 dead were not f i n a l l y recovered u n t i l September: Mr. Hodgson (Rev.) d e t a i l s w i t h much minuteness the circumstances i n which the bodies of the s u f f e r e r s were r e s p e c t i v e l y discovered - sometimes buried beneath the f a l l of r o o f , but mostly l y i n g e x a c t l y i n the p o s i t i o n i n which they appeared t o have been thrown at the moment of the explosion. In one p l a c e , twenty-one bodies l a y together i n ghastly confusion: some l i k e mummies, scorched as dry as i f they had been baked. One wanted i t s  196 h e a d , a n o t h e r i t s arm. The s c e n e was t r u l y f r i g h t ful. The power o f t h e f i r e was v i s i b l e u p o n a l l ; b u t i t s e f f e c t s were e x t r e m e l y v a r i o u s ; w h i l e some were a l m o s t t o r n o t p i e c e s , t h e r e were o t h e r s who a p p e a r e d a s i f t h e y h a d sunk down o v e r p o w e r e d w i t h sleep. 42 The  last  poisoning,  mentioned  o r t h e d e a d l y "after-damp".  who p e r f o r m e d ters  had b e e n overcome w i t h  i n an o f f i c i a l  capacity,  from poisonous g a s . Durham, i n 1885:  way.  After-damp  fact).  Clothing not torn  or d i s l o c a t i o n s .  i n any J  r e c o v e r y o f b o d i e s s u c h a s t h i s was o b v i o u s l y a  commented t h a t effects.  own s a f e t y : just  o f death.  Body much p u t r e f i e d . "  a c t e d a s a n ambulance man a n d f i r s t - a i d  be  cause  F r o n t t e e t h were l o o s e a n d q u i t e p i n k i n  p a i n f u l process f o r the s u r v i v i n g miners.  its  explosion,  s i n g e d where i t was n o t c o v e r e d b y h i s  (a remarkable  No f r a c t u r e s The  a n d e x p l o s i o n s , t h o s e who h a d d i e d  "Thomas W e t h e r a l l .  c a p w h i c h was on.  disas-  f o u n d , among o t h e r s c r u s h e d  F o r i n s t a n c e , from t h e Usworth  h a i r was s l i g h t l y  appearance  and J.B. A t k i n s o n ,  p o s t - m o r t e m s on many b o d i e s f r o m m i n i n g  and m a n g l e d b y r o o f f a l l s  The  W.N.  carbon-monoxide  " I cannot  check t h e f e e l i n g  is falling,  a t r a m when t h e r o p e The m i n e r  or w i l l  that  some d a y I s h a l l  when j u m p i n g  back  from  be j u s t a y a r d t o o n e a r  snaps."  learned t o avoid predictable accidents, but  the nature of the working accidents  of apprehension f o r h i s  important second t o o l a t e  a stone which  man i n t h e p i t s ,  t h e f r e q u e n t c o n t a c t w i t h d e a t h and i n j u r y had He a d m i t t e d f e e l i n g s  that  3.L. Coombes who  environment  o c c u r r e d , a n d t h e s e promoted  the miners and t h e i r  families.  c a n m i n i n g community, Rex L u c a s  was s u c h t h a t feelings  freak  o f f e a r among  In a study of a North found t h a t ,  "despite  Amerigroup  197  support, group control of behaviour, and a f e e l i n g of masteryover some threats, each miner faced anew each day an uncert a i n , unpredictable, and threatening s i t u a t i o n , " "the  J  and,  miners, t h e i r f a m i l i e s , the townspeople, the mining com-  pany, and union were a l l a l e r t to the threat of death and 46  injury i n the mine." Indeed, perhaps the most important aspect of a disaster, was i t s effect i n welding the mining community together under a common sorrow.  Tragedy had a unifying effect on the towns-  people, as noted by G. Ridley M.P.  when he reported on the  South Normanton c o l l i e r y explosion of 1937 to the House of Commons.  Eight c o l l i e r s had died.  I had never quite r e a l i z e d before, and I think that the house as a whole cannot r e a l i z e , the long shadow which i s cast by a mining disaster. I v i s i t e d i n the course of the day, a man i n the middle t h i r t i e s , a normal, healthy, v i r i l e man who had, 48 hours before, been within 50 yards of the disaster. In that 48 hour<s he had succumbed, a nervous wreck, conscious for the f i r s t time i n h i s mining l i f e what fear i n the presence of death r e a l l y meant... The shadow cast i t s e l f not only upon a man i n the immediate v i c i n i t y of the disaster, but I could f e e l i t i n the whole of that mining constituency. There was a new nervousness, a new apprehension of what i t meant to be i n the presence of such an emergency... 47 Individual accidents as well as great disasters had a s i m i l a r e f f e c t on the miners f o r : ... what are f i r e and flood compared with the d a i l y t o l l over two centuries: the sudden silence i n the mine and the mournful groups with the s t i l l body on the rough ambulance? These things have brought s u f f e r i n g and broken hearts, but they have welded these people into a unity which i s more than economic. They have brought an i n s t i n c t i v e understanding to a l l miners and a l l workers i n a l l lands, and created a sense of s o l i d a r i t y which no amount of education could have given by i t s e l f . 48  198 The sented  working c o n d i t i o n s of the coalminer  not only  pre-  him w i t h s a f e t y problems, but a l s o had an adverse e f -  f e c t on h i s h e a l t h .  I t was i n the realms of i n d u s t r i a l  d i s e a s e t h a t perhaps the g r e a t e s t death t o l l  lay.  Disasters  c o u l d be t a b u l a t e d i n s t a t i s t i c s , but death from d i s e a s e not be assessed on the extent  could  so e a s i l y . , Opinion has t h e r e f o r e d i v i d e d  o f the harm t o h e a l t h which adverse working  c o n d i t i o n s engendered. The  1842 Royal Commission i n t o C h i l d r e n ' s Employment was  q u i t e emphatic t h a t work i n the coalmines r e s u l t e d i n "cert a i n p o s i t i v e d i s e a s e s , p a r t l y the d i r e c t r e s u l t o f e x c e s s i v e muscular e x e r t i o n , and p a r t l y the r e s u l t of such e x e r t i o n combined w i t h t h e unhealthy s t a t e of t h e p l a c e of work." The  ^  Report i d e n t i f i e d the symptoms of these d i s e a s e s as l o s s  of a p p e t i t e , stomach and back p a i n s , rupture  and b o i l s .  ftausea,  l i v e r troubles,  Most miners aged prematurely, were a s t h -  matic by t h e age of t h i r t y , and many c o n t r a c t e d t u b e r c u l o s i s , while rheumatism and inflammation o f the j o i n t s were common complaints. T h i s p e s s i m i s t i c view was assumed by the miners thems e l v e s and those sympathetic with t h e i r l o t , and i s a l s o supported by. some o f f i c i a l data and s t a t i s t i c s . who recorded  their l i f e  Those miners  s t o r i e s were most b i t t e r about the  i l l - e f f e c t s of mining on h e a l t h . c u l a r l y s t r o n g bone of c o n t e n t i o n . owners r e f u s e d t o r e c o g n i z e  S i l i c o s i s was a p a r t i F o r many years t h e c o a l  t h i s disease  or i t s cause, but  A r t h u r Horner was b i t t e r l y aware of i t s e f f e c t s :  199 E v e r s i n c e I was a b o y , I c a n remember t h e men c h o k i n g t h e m s e l v e s t o d e a t h a f t e r l o n g y e a r s i n t h e mine. Nobody who h a s n ' t l i v e d w i t h t h e m i n e r s c a n u n d e r s t a n d what t h e t o l l o f t h i s d i s e a s e meant. Go t o t h e g r a v e y a r d s o f West W a l e s and l o o k a t t h e t o m b s t o n e s and s e e how i t d e c i m a t e d t h e y o u n g manhood o f t h e Welsh v a l l e y s . T h e r e was t h e c a s e o f t h e G l y n N e a t h :, f o o t b a l l teami a l l e l e v e n o f them, m i n e r s w o r k i n g i n the a n t h r a c i t e p i t s , d i e d from s i l i c o s i s . 50 Statistics to  and  official  i n v e s t i g a t i o n s c a n a l s o be  support these i n d i v i d u a l views.  was  t a k e n by t h e c o m m i s s i o n e r s  into Physical Deterioration. entry  of boys i n t o mining  A pessimistic  of the The  that,  Report  anything else  also  attitude  Investigation  commented on  " i t does n o t m a t t e r  managers w h e t h e r t h e y a r e s c r o f u l o u s , or  1904  cited  rickety,  t o the  phthisical  - t h e y g e t them i n t o t h e p i t .  i n s t a n c e d t h e c o a l m i n e r s as a c l a s s  the  liable  Dr.  Young  t o degene-  51 ration."  George R o s e n , who  gathered together  from v a r i o u s d o c t o r s * i n v e s t i g a t i o n s from as f a r back as the the h e a l t h and  of miners  i n t o miners'  he  said  that  was  impaired because  l e s s than the average 52 the p o p u l a t i o n .  d u r a t i o n of l i f e  A l t h o u g h h e a l t h c o n d i t o n s improved half  of working  t h e mean d u r a t i o n o f l i f e  was  diseases  seventeenth century, concluded  t h a t m o r t a l i t y r a t e s were a d v e r s e l y a f f e c t e d .  1850,  evidence  that  conditions,  Before  f o r the  miners  f o r the r e s t  somewhat i n t h e  of  second  of the c e n t u r y w i t h the a m e l i o r a t i o n of c o n d i t i o n s i n  t h e m i n e s , t h e c o a l m i n e r s * d e a t h r a t e s were s t i l l average  among o l d e r men  mortality rates  and  youths.  higher than  T a b l e V compares  f o r c o a l m i n e r s g e n e r a l l y and  f o r those  the in  t h e West R i d i n g , w i t h t h e n a t i o n a l m o r t a l i t y r a t e w h i c h i s t a k e n as a b a s e o f  100.  200 TABLE V  To compare the m o r t a l i t y r a t e f o r coalminers w i t h the n a t i o n a l r a t e . 1908 53 AGES 45  55  65 and upwards  100  100  100  100  86  77  94  119  143  ?° .  77  89  126  138  20  25  35  Occupied males 100  100  100  Coalminers generally  150  111  Coalminers i n West R i d i n g  115  92  15  The age p e r i o d from 25 years t o 54 years appeared t o he q u i t e healthy years f o r coalminers, when compared t o the average f o r a l l occupied males.  Yet, the miners suffered  worse h e a l t h i n t h e i r e a r l y working l i f e and a f t e r 55 years of age when the death r a t e s were comparatively higher than the n a t i o n a l r a t e .  Rosen concluded t h a t most deaths i n miners  were due t o r e s p i r a t o r y and chest diseases, e s p e c i a l l y bronc h i t i s and pneumonia. From the seventeenth century autopsies had discovered the presence of a t h i c k , black macous substance i n the lungs of the miners who had died from r e s p i r a t o r y diseases.  Medical  knowledge, however, was l i m i t e d i n t h i s e a r l y p e r i o d of c o a l mining, and the causes of miner's "black lung" were not conv i n c i n g l y i d e n t i f i e d by e a r l y p h y s i c i a n s .  Rosen i s never-  t h e l e s s emphatic about the adverse e f f e c t s of breathing i n c o a l dust, and a t t r i b u t e s these e a r l y cases of lung d e t e r i o r a t i o n t o pneumoconiosis.  His conclusions from h i s study  of h e a l t h and the coalminer are t h a t : In the f i r s t p l a c e , i t i s evident that a l l miners s u f f e r e d most from various pulmonary diseases. In consequence of the prevalence of these morbid  201  conditions, the rates of mortality were generally higher among miners than among non-mining males, although an excessive divergence i n the mortality rates of the two groups did not become very apparent u n t i l the fourth decade of l i f e . 5 L  One f i n a l disease which was peculiar to miners, was eye disease, nystagmus.  the  This was caused by poor illumination,  and could be severe enough to prevent a miner from working. In 1908,  460 cases of nystagmus merited compensation, while  i n 1910, "this figure had r i s e n to 1,618, and again to 6,000 cases i n 1913.  By 1922, the wide prevalence of nystagmus  was recognized, and i t was estimated that 5 0 per cent of a l l coalminers suffered from t h i s , with dizziness and other head complaints to some degree, There can be no doubts about the detrimental effects of coalmine work upon the miner's health.  Yet t h i s has been  disputed and evidence has been produced to support a favourable view of work i n the mines.  S i r Richard Redmayne,  a Chief Inspector of Coal Mines, suggested  i n h i s autobio-  graphy that although mining was dangerous, coalminers on the whole provided the healthier section of the community. In  1892: ... the general manger of some c o l l i e r i e s . , said before the Royal Commission on Labour: "Coalmining i s not an unhealthy occupation. The atmosphere i n which the miner works i s temperate, and of necessity fresh and comparatively pure. The coalminer i s not l i a b l e to ... wet and dry... He i s l i a b l e to accidents of various description:, but he added that there was a considerable number of workmen between the ages of 5 5 and 7 0 s t i l l following t h e i r occupations. 5 7  But the Coal mine mangers doubtless tolerated s o c i a l e v i l s . more e a s i l y than t h e i r employees. E.H,  Phelps Brown maintains that the coalminers were  202 h e a l t h i e r than t i n miners, p o t t e r s , seamen, u n s k i l l e d labour e r s , b u i l d e r s and t e x t i l e workers.  The d i f f e r e n c e s i n stan-  dards of h e a l t h were due, he w r i t e s , t o b e t t e r income, d i e t and housing, r e c r e a t i o n , a healthy physique demanded by minework and the f a c t that the miners insured themselves f o r the provison of medical care. ^ support t h i s contention.  S t a t i s t i c s can a l s o be used t o  J.S. Haldane i n v e s t i g a t e d the causes  of death among coalminers and concluded that as an occupational group, they were f a r h e a l t h i e r than might have been expected. Although death r a t e s among coalminers had once been higher than average, they had improved out of a l l p r o p o r t i o n s as a r e s u l t of i n ovations i n , mining such as improved v e n t i l a t i o n systems.  He provided the f o l l o w i n g f i g u r e s t o support h i s  statement: TABLE VI  To show the annual death r a t e s per 1.000 Iby ages, at two periods. 59  living.  AGES  15  - 25  25  - 35  35  - 4-5  45  - 55  55 -  65  1) 1849  -  53  A l l males Coal Miners 2) 1910  -  8.1 14.5  10.1 14.5  12.7 17.2  18.9 26.3  31.8 44.0  4.7 4.4  7.9 6.7  14.6 12.6  30.1 30.1  12  A l l males Coal Miners (Note:  2.85 3.5  the f i g u r e s i n the l a t e r time period include r e t i r e d as w e l l as occupied males.)  This t a b l e demonstrates that a s i g n i f i c a n t improvement had occurred i n the death r a t e s of coalminers during t h i s period of time.  In middle age, from 25 years t o 54 years,  203  we see once again that the miners had a r e l a t i v e l y low rate of death i n the l a t e r of the two time periods.  Haldane  attri-  buted a higher death rate f o r miners among the younger men to a higher than average accident rate, and among the older men, to the prevalence of lung diseases i n old miner.  But on  the whole, he suggested that coalminers were not unhealthy. Indeed, he produced figures to suggest that annual death rates from lung diseases were considerably less than average f o r miners before old age was reached, thus denying Rosen's e v i 60 dence.  I t must be borne i n mind however, that J.S. Haldane's  investigations came under the auspices of the coal mine owners and his biases combined with a general i n e f f i c i e n c y i n recording deaths from s p e c i f i c causes, may have affected these figures. C o l l i s and Greenwood both maintained that the coalminers had a lower death rate than might be expected, e s p e c i a l l y when compared with other occupational groups.  Thus, t h e i r  l i f e expectancy was s l i g h t l y higher than factory workers and workshop employees. TABLE VII To show the expectation of l i f e at the age of 20 years i n c e r t a i n occupational groups, based on mortality figures f o r 1900 to 1902^ 61 L i f e expectancy Occupation i n years Clergy A g r i c u l t u r a l labourers Clerks Coal Miners Cotton manufacturers Carpet manufacturers Shoemakers Tailors Printers  4?,1 46.2 43.2 43.2 41.4 42.2 42.6 42.3 42.1  204 I t can be seen t h e r e f o r e t h a t a c o n f l i c t e x i s t s  between  those who take the p a r t of the coalminers and argue poor h e a l t h due t o working c o n d i t i o n s , and those who r e g a r d  coal-  mining as b e i n g no u n h e a l t h i e r than other occupations.  It  i s a c o n t r o v e r s y from which no d e f i n i t e  conclusions  about  the miner's h e a l t h can be drawn, as c o n v i n c i n g evidence has been put forward rages  on both s i d e s .  Even today, a c o n t r o v e r s y  i n the U n i t e d Kingdom between the N a t i o n a l Union of  Miners and the N a t i o n a l Coal Board over the e f f e c t s  of c o a l  and stone dust on t h e miner's h e a l t h , and where t h e f i n e d i s t i n c t i o n between b r o n c h i t i s and pneumoconiosis should be drawn.  Problems which f a c e today's  observer, when attemp-  t i n g t o i d e n t i f y the exact extent of i n d u s t r i a l d i s e a s e , a r e multiplied  when an assessment i s attempted of i l l - h e a l t h  i n the past.  Perhaps the most important  c o n c l u s i o n which  can be drawn i s t h a t , d e s p i t e the c o n t r o v e r s i e s over the a c t u a l extent of d i s e a s e , the miners g e n u i n e l y d i d regard themselves t o be a t a disadvantage  i n this respect.  b e l i e v e d t h e i r work t o be abnormally  They  unhealthy, and the q u e s t i o n  of d i s e a s e provided one of t h e i r major g r i e v a n c e s .  The e f f e c t s  of t h i s b e l i e f was t o f u r t h e r a l i e n a t e the coalminers  from  the c o a l owners, and t o s t r e n g t h e n s o l i d a r i t y w i t h i n the mining communities.  Here was a f u r t h e r reason, combined w i t h  g r i e v a n c e s over s a f e t y c o n d i t i o n s , why miners should  feel  themselves t o be d i s t i n c t and separate from other o c c u p a t i o n a l groups.  205 IV The working c o n d i t i o n s of the coalminers and the r e s u l t i n g a c c i d e n t s and  impaired h e a l t h had c e r t a i n u n i f y i n g  upon the coalminers as an o c c u p a t i o n a l group. c e r t a i n a t t i t u d e s developed  effects  Furthermore,  from t h i s s p e c i a l i z e d working  s i t u a t i o n which were d i s t i n c t i v e of the c o a l m i n e r s .  These  a t t i t u d e s alone c o u l d p r o v i d e the t o p i c f o r a whole new  thesis,  but i n t h i s i n s t a n c e space permits only a b r i e f survey of the e f f e c t s of h i s o c c u p a t i o n upon the  coalminer.  The c o a l mine o b v i o u s l y dominated the working l i v e s of the m a j o r i t y of men  i n the c o a l towns, as t h e r e were  other employment a l t e r n a t i v e s .  I t i s t o the work of the c o a l -  miner t h a t we must look f o r the key t o h i s a t t i t u d e s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , and  i t was  few  and  i n the c o a l mine t h a t h i s s o c i a l  c o n t a c t s , and h i s outlook on l i f e , were moulded.  Once a  man  became a coalminer, he became a member of a g e o g r a p h i c a l l y , s o c i a l l y and c u l t u r a l l y i s o l a t e d group — p a r t i c u l a r norms and a t t i t u d e s .  he a c q u i r e d i t s  These a t t i t u d e s  developed  p r i m a r i l y from the p e c u l i a r nature of the coalminer's work, and were dominated by a sense  of u n i t y , e x c l u s i v e n e s s , and  s h a r i n g i n a common s t r u g g l e i n l i f e  and work.  L u b i n and  E v e r e t t have i d e n t i f i e d what they term a "group mind" or "group m e n t a l i t y " among the miners,  emerging from t h e i r  shared  l i v i n g and working c o n d i t i o n s , and t h e i r p r e o c c u p a t i o n w i t h a common p a s t .  Because of the l a c k of d i v e r s i t y of a c t i v i -  t i e s f o r the coalminer i n these s i n g l e i n d u s t r y towns, everyone shared the same p r e o c c u p a t i o n s .  206  also  The  coalminers  were aware  the  distinctiveness  of  of  their  these  common p r o b l e m s ,  problems  from those  and  of  other  }  occupational  groups.  There  tion  a unique  solidarity,  tion  and a mutual t r u s t  recognized  by the  that,  more  "far  and because and  dangers,  highly  safety  burden grew at  are  were a l l  of  work  of  in his  the  the  far  study as  I  cooperation....  the  c o l l i e r must  of  Moreover,  to  of  this  their  to  same lift  working positions  to  work:  at  Sigal  each  other  without  this  "At skills  i n the  daily to  of arts  which his  mate  ^ led to  collier  automatically,  there  high level  united  working s i t u a t i o n  for  great  requisite  marriage."  The  and  area.  o r more h o u r s is  complete  found  sensitivity  he  in  camaraderie.  for  a consistently  inherent  or  and from t h i s  w i t h a companion f o r  suit  discomforts  own s a f e t y ,  Barnsley  seven  together  their  in pairs  i n the  occupational  pit  of  pits.  down i n p i t ,  close  miners  i n the  two most  was  workers,  a unique  fellows,  coopera  stated  E a c h man c a r r i e d a  the  endure  For the  for  his  a pit  and an  developed  of  who  same  either  and mutual u n d e r s t a n d i n g .  i n the  learned  for  can t e l l ,  spend  by d e v i l i s h bonds  "we  group.  interdependence  of  worked  whole  expenditure,  friendship  i n the  situa-  This  coalmining called  miners  willingness  physical  by  the  responsibility  as  peculiar nature  they  degree  i n 1911  industrial  involved  presented  between  a unique  first,  by the  high  working  coalminers.  and worked underground  dangers  cooperation the  other  d i s c i p l i n e d teams,  The  the  investigators  t h a n most  they  from the  a necessarily  between  Census  were bound t o g e t h e r  developed  ties B.L.  many y e a r s to  change  saying  a  of Coombes where, our  word,  207 and t o  vary  our  rest.  F o r some  weeks and b a d , The Failure  to  keep  years fears  complete of  the  up the  we  the  shared  of  was  for  colleagues  If  some  joys,  real  a man t o  o f work meant  through  and  we w e r e  held back.  work,  should give  our t r o u b l e s  pit  quota  t e a m was  his  change  and a m b i t i o n s —  his  pace  he w o u l d e x p e c t out.  so t h a t  c a r d i n a l s i n i n the  production to  jobs  that  "butties". be  lazy.  the  whole  a man was  illness  or  or w o r k i n g sons  unable  o l d age, to  help  If,  however,  a man c o n s i s t e n t l y  fell  laziness,  then the  team would exclude  him from t h e i r  In mining c i r c l e s ,  this  against  the  image  of  against  the  cooperation  The m a j o r i t y every  other  tation  or a c t u a l his  importance  nions  of  develop called  his  to  for  the  is  coalminers  families,  the the  miner that  were  as  were  this  might  could not  influence  often of  hub  his  social  colliers, of  social  already  s h i p w h i c h emerged  be  of  disaster  been  i n the  classified  remarked upon.  opito  This  for  a  man's  contacts  of  of  mutual  coalmining."  workers Indeed,  w o r k i n g s i t u a t i o n was  was  allowed  and d i s t r e s s the  it  system  structure  to  i n the  and l e i s u r e  the  went  repu-  safety.  within this  worked  known  and  ranked h i g h l y  Antagonisms  it  through  in social relationships too,  team the  he  ranks.  situation.  a worker,  the  him  and a l s o  working  either  community, w h i c h encompassed has  miner,  in a pit  mine,  for  a b i l i t y and w o r t h as  The u n i f y i n g e f f e c t s coalmining  to  shame,  then  through  E a c h man was  pit,  " the  dependence,  essential  of  behind  working experience.  harmony  work c o n t a c t s also,  of  for  manliness  workmates.  i n the for  the  a cause  w o r k i n g man i n t h a t  according to of  was  good  put  in  the  and the  their friend-  into  208 practice of  and c h a n n e l l e d  tragedy,  and t h i s  further  community  of misfortune,  Men h a v e  in  their  at  the  nature  sents.  Well,  sense  of  of  so  this  they  cohesion  of  w o n d e r e d why  need not  of  "there  is  poverty, it  c l a n n i s h ; and they w e l d i n g and  during  times  community f e e l i n g for,  a fellowship  sometimes  unions are  operations  combined w i t h the  sorrow to  Grief.  a  i n t o rescue  the  is  a  definite  a Guild  that  the  strength It  is  it  of  of  miners  have marveled  wonder more.  of  too  repre-  the  mine,  66 its  dangers If  left  respect. of  be  "sacred  until  the  their  their  struggle  the  loyalty  Mining  to  existed  also  lore  owners  then average  mentioned  that  and a c c e p t e d and  it  was  not the  despite  mark  miners' to  possible threat of  i n the  miners  to  the  heroism  coalfields  the  here.  of  miners to  their  hours,  warpay  in unionization  strike  However,  is  it  when t h e i r  o r wages were  tangible  in  protracted  questions  m i n e r s were a g g r e s s i v e  of  if  in tales  propensity  discussed  realms  the  the  and i n t h e i r  over  working conditions  i n the  a  t r a p p e d workmates  abounds  s o l i d a r i t y of  be  day as  disaster,  a u n i t y among t h e  and t h e i r  and w i l l  the  tradi-  workmates.  The  known,  of  workmates  rank and f i l e  and c o n d i t i o n s . higher  of  his  work c o n t i n u e d  conditions,  colliery  rest  found,  by the  trapped  better  w i t h the  rescue  body had been  mine,  serious  Rescue  displayed  for  the  o f more  ^  own l i f e .  There  i n the  work f o r  duty."  last  and courage  fare  killed  h o n o u r deemed  rescuer's  in  need."  In times  code a  its  a man w e r e  tionally of  and  well  must  known  threatened,  working and  be  living  209  grievances  t h a t they were i n v o l v e d , r a t h e r than i n p o l i t i c s .  G.D.H. Cole e x p l a i n e d own  c o n d i t i o n s , and  the f o l l o w i n g  the c o a l m i n e r s '  struggle to better t h e i r  the s o l i d a r i t y t h a t t h i s engendered i n  way:  The miner not o n l y works i n the p i t : he l i v e s i n the p i t v i l l a g e , and a l l h i s immediate i n t e r e s t s are concentrated a t one p o i n t . The town f a c t o r y worker, on the other hand, l i v e s o f t e n f a r from h i s p l a c e of work and mingles w i t h workers of other c a l l i n g s . The townsman's experience produces perhaps a broader outlook, and a q u i c k e r response t o s o c i a l s t i m u l i coming from without: but the miners* i n t e n s e s o l i d a r i t y and l o y a l t y t o t h e i r Unions i s undoubtedly the r e s u l t of the c o n d i t i o n s under which they work and l i v e . . . t h e i r i s o l a t i o n m i n i s t e r s t o t h e i r own s e l f s u f f i c i e n c y and l o y a l t y one t o another.... They are narrow and slow t o understand others or t o f e e l the i n f l u e n c e of outside p u b l i c opinion. 68 Once the coalminers had  f i x e d upon a course of a c t i o n ,  they pursued t h e i r aims a g g r e s s i v e l y . of the p a s t , and  the common knowledge of past s t r u g g l e s w i t h  c o a l owners served of s t r i k e s and  They were k e e n l y aware  t o b i n d them together  lock-outs  had  more c l o s e l y .  Stories  become f i x e d i n mining l o r e ,  and  t h i s c o n t r i b u t e d t o the s t r o n g i n f l u e n c e of t r a d i t i o n a l i s m among the miners.  T h i s b r i n g s us t o the f i n a l way  the work of the coalminer served The the  t o strengthen  p h y s i c a l i s o l a t i o n of the coalmining  i n which  solidarity. communities  i m p o s s i b i l i t y of t r a n s f e r r i n g the t e c h n i c a l s k i l l s  and  of  the  miner t o other c r a f t s , meant t h a t a t r a d i t i o n a l i s m emerged i n coalmining  whereby sons n a t u r a l l y f o l l o w e d  their  fathers  i n t o the f a m i l y t r a d e , and an a t t i t u d e of r e s i g n a t i o n emerged, so t h a t the numbers who  l e f t the c o a l t r a d e were s m a l l .  George H i t c h i n wanted t o leave  mining \ . but was  forced  to  210 s t a y , because no-one among h i s f a m i l y or f r i e n d s c o u l d the  s l i g h t e s t guidance.  In t h i s r e s p e c t , he  says he  give was 69  s u f f e r i n g from, " s o c i a l and The  economic  claustrophobia."  mining c l a s s t h e r e f o r e became s e l f - p e r p e t u a t i n g because  of i t s geographic i s o l a t i o n and the mining t r a d e .  The  the t r a d i t i o n a l a t t i t u d e t o  p h y s i c a l d i f f i c u l t i e s of l e a v i n g mining  combined w i t h a conservatism, a l a c k of i n i t i a t i v e and of h a b i t , inherent  i n the mining c l a s s , meant t h a t f a m i l i e s  devoted themselves t o coalmining n a t i o n to t h i s  force  and were u n i t e d i n a r e s i g -  vocation.  As w e l l as the tremendous u n i f y i n g f o r c e of working c o n d i t i o n s , c e r t a i n a t t i t u d e s came out  of the working s i t u a -  t i o n which were c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the mining c l a s s . the coalminers were b a s i c a l l y c o n s e r v a t i v e h o s t i l i t y to innovations  Firstly,  i n outlook.  i n the mine, such as the  Their  introduc-  t i o n of machinery, demonstrated t h e i r b a s i c d i s t r u s t of change and  t h e i r d e s i r e t o perpetuate c o n d i t i o n s as they knew them.  T h i s conservatism can be b a l l a d r y and  i d e n t i f i e d i n the f o l k - l o r e c u l t u r e ,  s u p e r s t i t i o n s of the c o a l f i e l d s , f o r , "...  t r a d i t i o n a l b a l l a d s and  songs of the c o a l f i e l d are the  of a s l o w l y e v o l v i n g c o n s e r v a t i v e  i n d u s t r y which l a c k s  the product the  sudden i n v i g o r a t i n g experience of r a p i d t e c h n o l o g i c a l change." Furthermore, the i s o l a t i o n i n which the miners l i v e d combined w i t h an awareness of a l o n g h i s t o r y , f o s t e r e d o r a l t r a d i t i o n l a r g e l y r e v o l v i n g around s t o r i e s and s t r i k e s , dangers and and  conservative  an  songs of  d i s a s t e r , " f o r t h a t which i s t r a d i t i o n a l  f l o u r i s h e s best where workers l i v e i n  211 71 i s o l a t i o n , with l i m i t e d o c c u p a t i o n a l o p p o r t u n i t i e s . " ' The  s u p e r s t i t i o n s of the mining c l a s s e s were concerned  w i t h the q u e s t i o n of s a f e t y , and a great d e a l of a t t e n t i o n was  g i v e n t o dreams and premonitions  type  of d i s a s t e r s .  "This  of work, w i t h at l e a s t f o u r times as many a c c i d e n t s  as  i n other i n d u s t r i e s , must he a breeding p l a c e f o r a l l kinds  of  72 s u p e r s t i t i o n s and  premonitions."  t i o n s appear t o be  illogical —  r e t u r n home f o r the day work.  I f ;,a man  '  Some of these s u p e r s t i -  f o r i n s t a n c e , a miner would  i f he passed a woman on h i s way  d i d not awake a t h i s u s u a l time t o r i s e f o r  work, then he would not go t o the p i t t h a t day c o u l d s t i l l get there on time. r e a s o n i n g behind of Mines i n 1844,  to  even i f he  There must have been s t r o n g  the s u p e r s t i t i o n d i s c o v e r e d by a Commissioner f o r t h i s p a r t i c u l a r h a b i t has p e r s i s t e d  among some miners u n t i l today: I found d u r i n g c a s u a l v i s i t s t o t h e i r c o t t a g e s from time t o time a f t e r the hours of l a b o u r , some hundreds of men i n the a c t of washing; the backs of every one of them were q u i t e b l a c k , and every one of them gave the same reason i n the same words f o r not washing h i s back, namely, "that i t would weaken i t " . The u n i v e r s a l i t y of t h i s h a b i t was allowed by a l l the managers and persons i n a u t h o r i t y , whom I questioned upon the subject. 73 The  e x i s t e n c e of such b e l i e f s suggest t h a t the  d i d f a c t f e e l f e a r because of t h e i r  jobs and  despite  maxim " f a m i l i a r i t y breeds contempt," i t might be  coalminers the  inferred  from the p e r s i s t e n c e of such s u p e r s t i t i o n s t h a t the miners never r e a l l y overcame t h e i r f e a r as time and experience  passed  hy. Secondly, the coalminer  f e l t a great d e a l of p r i d e i n  h i s working a b i l i t y , mingled with f e e l i n g s of e x c l u s i v e n e s s .  212 His p r i d e o r i g i n a t e d from two sources.  He r e a l i z e d t h a t h i s  job was d i f f i c u l t and dangerous and drew upon great of p h y s i c a l s t r e n g t h . his at  skill.  reserves  He f e l t t h a t no non-miner c o u l d match  In the second p l a c e , h i s p r i d e was a l s o an attempt  s e l f - a s s u r a n c e and a r e a c t i o n a g a i n s t the i n f e r i o r  status  t h a t the miner had been given i n the p a s t . The miner's task was indeed and  experienced  coalminer  responsible for his l i f e  one which only a w e l l t r a i n e d  c o u l d perform.  He was u n i q u e l y  and the l i v e s of h i s workmates.  He was aware t h e r e f o r e of h i s own s p e c i a l i z e d s k i l l s , but was a l s o aware of the contempt with which h i s c l a s s was by o u t s i d e r s .  The French observer  Paul de Rousiers  t h a t mining made no c a l l upon the i m a g i n a t i o n  regarded  believed  or b r a i n power,  and t h a t the c o l l i e r depended p u r e l y on sheer muscle power. But  74  one S c o t t i s h ' c o l l i e r t o l d Robert Haddow i n the 1880's: J u s t now any s t r o n g s t i c k of a f e l l o w can come i n t o a p i t and hash and smash and c a l l h i m s e l f a c o l l i e r ; but i f a l l the men i n the p i t were such, then t h e p i t would go t o wreck and r u i n . T h i s i s a p o i n t on which we have a very keen f e e l i n g , and i t would be u s e l e s s t o d i s g u i s e the f a c t t h a t the i n t r o d u c t i o n of u n t r a i n e d men - mostly Irishmen - i n t o the p i t , i s what keeps the c a l l i n g of a c o l l i e r a t so low a level. 7 5 The  coalminers  mining were capable were a hindrance  f e l t t h a t only those who were born t o of l e a r n i n g the t r a d e , and t h a t o u t s i d e r s  and a danger i n the p i t .  The i n f l u x of  outside labour i n t o mining a t the end of the n i n e t e e n t h  cen-  t u r y caused a c o n s i d e r a b l e degree o f a n x i e t y t o the miners, and there was a g e n e r a l c a l l from the unions t o the c o a l owners not t o employ men from other occupations age  of 16 years.  a f t e r the  In 1890, Frank H a l l of Y o r k s h i r e  voiced  213  t h i s alarm when, a d d r e s s i n g a union meeting, he was  reported  as s a y i n g : Since the c o a l t r a d e had improved, t h e i r p i t hanks had presented a s i m i l a r s p e c t a c l e t o what they d i d i n 1872, and they were a g a i n "being v i s i t e d by farm l a b o u r e r s . He d i d not say t h a t out of any d i s r e s p e c t t o t h e i r a g r i c u l t u r a l f r i e n d s , but, he d i d say "Every man t o h i s t r a d e " . Let a g r i c u l t u r a l i s t s t h e r e f o r e s t i c k t o the land and they as miners would s t i c k t o t h e i r t r a d e i n the c o a l p i t s . 76 The h o s t i l i t y t h a t the miners showed towards l a b o u r , which was  outside  expressed through t h e i r unions, was  effec-  t i v e i n keeping the numbers of f o r e i g n immigrant miners  low.  (There was a f e a r among B r i t i s h miners t h a t i f f o r e i g n labour was arise —  employed, then problems  a dangerous  of communication  s i t u a t i o n i n the c o a l p i t s . )  would The num-  bers of North American and European miners enumerated  i n the  c o a l p i t s of England and Wales were as f o l l o w s from 1861  1911:-  to  77 1861 — 36 1871 -- 11 1881 — 51  1891 — 1901  109  —  559  1911 —  882  (319 from the United States)  The numbers of f o r e i g n e r s i n B r i t i s h p i t s were t h e r e f o r e n e g l i g i b l e u n t i l the t u r n of the c e n t u r y , when American mineworkers, i n p a r t i c u l a r , began t o e n t e r B r i t i s h  mines.  F i n a l l y , the miners were n o t o r i o u s l y c a r e f r e e i n t h e i r a t t i t u d e t o l e i s u r e , and the r e c r e a t i o n a l p u r s u i t s of the miners were f r i v o l o u s i n the sense of g i v i n g "no thought f o r the morrow".  T h e i r " l i v e f o r today" a t t i t u d e emerged d i r e c t l y  from t h e i r work.  The ever-present t h r e a t of death or i n j u r y ,  and the i n s e c u r i t y of employment, e i t h e r through i n j u r y or  214 the  reduced s t a t e of the market f o r c o a l , l e d them t o make  the  "best of l i f e while they were able.  This was c h a r a c t e r i z e d  by the c a r e f r e e , s p e n d t h r i f t a t t i t u d e of the majority of miners.  Involved i n t h i s a c t i v e p u r s u i t of l e i s u r e was ab-  senteeism from work.  Absenteeism served a dual purpose  —  i t acted as a s t r a i n - r e d u c i n g mechanism a t times when a miner f e l t himself t o be a l i a b i l i t y t o the s a f e t y of h i s workmates; and when a miner working on piece-rates f e l t that he had earned a l l he needed, he would take time o f f from work t o pursue more pleasurable a c t i v i t i e s . It i s t o the question of how the coalminer spent h i s time when not at work that we must now turn i n a new chapter. Aspects of working l i f e and i t s e f f e c t s upon the community and upon the a t t i t u d e s of the mining c l a s s have been discussed. We must now examine i n more d e t a i l , what e f f e c t s the working s i t u a t i o n had upon the coalminer i n the s o c i a l sphere.  FOOTNOTES TO CHAPTER VI Coal-Miner (London, 1937)» p. 84  1  G.A.W. Tomlinson,  2  F. Machin, The Yorkshire Miners V o l . I . (Barnsley, 1958), p. 4  3  I M d . , p. 3.  4  I b i d . , p. 3.  5  C.R. Fay, L i f e and Labour i n the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, 1920), p. 185.  6  Machin, Oy. C i t . .  7  J . Holland, F o s s i l Fuel. The C o l l i e r i e s and the Coal Trade of Great B r i t a i n (London, 1st E d i t i o n , 1835), p. 242.  p. 24