Voices in the Coalshed: Pithead Bath Rule
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Voices in the Coalshed: Pithead Bath Rule

How strict is your bath time routine?

Miners were issued with a handbook and rules for using the pit head baths. Some of these can seem a little strict to us today.

This one caught our attention:

Pithead Baths Rule

Today, we all understand about passing on disease and infection, probably better than the miners when the baths opened, but the language here is very interesting. If rules were broken the miner could be suspended from work until the matter was investigated. In the case of this rule, he was not allowed to work until he could produce a doctor’s certificate to prove that he was no longer infectious. Today, that would not be a problem for most people, but many Pit Head Baths were built before the founding of the N.H.S. This was a time when a visit to the doctor would cost 5 shillings – each time you went – and you would have to pay for a doctor’s certificate too. This doesn’t sound too much, 5/- is the equivalent of 25 pence. When you think that a typical miner’s wage in the 1930s was £1-19-5 ½ per week, less than £2, you can see how expensive this rule could be.

Can you recall a rule that you found difficult to keep at a pit or maybe even at a swimming pool?

Want to find out more about the Pit Head Baths? Book on to our interactive Pit Head Bath Explore at 2pm on most Sundays. Visit https://www.ncm.org.uk/whats-on/pithead-baths-explore/ to find out more information and to book your place on the next Pithead Bath Explore!

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