Voices in the Coalshed: Chronology
Home / Voices in the Coalshed / Voices in the Coalshed: Chronology

Voices in the Coalshed: Chronology

It’s no paper round!

We are fortunate that voices from the past are available to us because people who lived at the time thought they were worth recording as oral and written testimonies.

As a library volunteer I came across such a record in the ‘Dirty History of Coal Mining in Heywood.’

Can you imagine your child working in these conditions?

A 12-year-old boy descending with other coal miners down the shaft for work at the coal face. It was about six or seven in the morning when he went down the shaft with the pitmen. He said, “it was like going down a waterfall”.  When the men arrived at the bottom of the shaft the water was up to their knees, as a child it was up to his chest.

The miners worked in appalling conditions, bent double in cramped spaces, passages too low for even a child to stand. Some of the coal seams were 50cm high. It was reported that the boy was so terrified by all of this and the total darkness that he never went down the pit again.

Paper rounds are also becoming a thing of the past but compared to pit work a paper round would be preferable!

This week’s Voices in the Coalshed post was researched and written by Library volunteer Karen. If you would like to join Voices in the Coal Shed, please get in touch with voicesinthecoalshed@gmail.com


Why not pay a visit to our Library and you too can make some interesting discoveries! Access to our Library is currently open Thursdays and Fridays, by appointment only: https://www.ncm.org.uk/library/using-the-library/