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Parliamentary Papers on Women Miners

Parliamentary Papers on Women Miners -...

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[ http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1842womenminers.html ] Modern History SourceBook Women Miners in the English Coal Pits From Great Britain, Parliamentary Papers , 1842, VoL XVI, pp. 24, 196. In England, exclusive of Wales, it is only in some of the colliery districts of Yorkshire and Lancashire that female Children of tender age and young and adult women are allowed to descend into the coal mines and regularly to perform the same kinds of underground work, and to work for the same number of hours, as boys and men; but in the East of Scotland their employment in the pits is general; and in South Wales it is not uncommon. West Riding of Yorkshire: Southern Part - In many of the collieries in this district, as far as relates to the underground employment, there is no distinction of sex, but the labour is distributed indifferently among both sexes, except that it is comparatively rare for the women to hew or get the coals, although there are numerous instances in which they regularly perform even this work. In great numbers of the coalpits in this district the men work in a state of perfect nakedness, and are in this state assisted in their labour by females of all ages, from girls of six years old to women of twenty-one, these females being themselves quite naked down to the waist. "Girls," says the Sub-Commissioner [J. C. Symons], -regularly perform all the various offices of trapping, hurrying [Yorkshire terms for drawing the loaded coal corves], filling, riddling, tipping, and occasionally getting, just as they are performed by boys. One of the most disgusting sights 1 have ever seen was that of young females, dressed like boys in trousers, crawling on all fours, with belts round their waists and chains passing between their legs, at day pits at Hunshelf Bank, and in many small pits near Holmfirth and New Mills: it exists also in several other places. 1 visited the Hunshelf Colliery on the 18th of January: it is a day
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