Lives and Voices
The Museum’s social history collection contains material about the personal lives of miners and their families. It covers miners’ communities, leisure time, personal items and home life as well as the more human resource aspects of the industry such as trade unions, pit management, health and safety and disasters.
All items have a strong link to the mining industry, often with interesting stories attached. The collection is particularly strong in the areas of commemorative material, management and training ephemera, rescue and medical equipment. The Museum also has a rare collection of pit brow lass clothing worn in Wigan in the 1960s and is home to a collection of union banners, currently on loan from the National Union of Mineworkers (Yorkshire Area). The Museum is actively looking to collect items that relate to canteens, leisure activities and items from outside the Yorkshire area.
Oral history is the recording of spoken memories and experiences. Our collection includes recollections from a whole range of individuals connected with the coal mining industry and mining communities. From union workers to miners’ wives, and MPs to miners’ children, everyone has something interesting to say and experiences that we can learn from. Hearing people speak in their own words makes this all the more powerful.
The oral history collection is growing and includes poetry, music and the spoken word. Visitors can listen to recordings in the Museum library and the majority now have full transcripts and detailed summaries.
You can listen to an extract from an oral history interview with a former miner talking about his memories of the camaraderie between the men who worked together here:
This will send you to our Museum Soundcloud account, where you can listen to a selection of extracts from our large, and growing, oral history collection. This collection is also fully accessible from our on-site Museum library.
Research & Access
You can look at our artefact catalogue which contains social and oral history items by clicking here.
Contact: Anne Bradley, Curator of Social & Oral History