Childrens Employment Commission 1842
The following extracts are from the report by R F Franks to the Children's Employment Commission on the East of Scotland District which was published in 1842.
- (Sir George Clerk, Bart., M.P., &c., of Pennicuik.)
No.54 Mary Macqueen, 12 years old, coal-bearer:-
I have been wrought three years at coal carrying, and go below generally at three in the morning and return at five or six and sometimes three in the afternoon. I take a piece of bread or bannock, which does till I return home, when I get my broth or flesh.
I carry my father's coal; my usual quantity is four to five tubs daily; each tub holds 4 1/4 cwt.; it takes me five journeys to fill one tub: the distance to my father's room is 80 fathoms and I have one ladder to descend before I get to the road which leads to the pit bottom. Mother is a bearer and can fill a tub in two journeys. I once got hurt by the roof falling and confined for some days. I wash and change when home: the pit is just by the houses. I have not been to school for two years. Father is in bad health. Brother who is 14 past, works at the coal wall.
I read a little but never was at the writing. The Testament was the book I read in but I do not know who wrote the Gospels. Jesus is God and we are to pray to Him; don't know much about God; has heard he is a spirit; don't know what is meant by the word spirit.
No.55 Ellison Jack, 11 years old, coal-bearer:-
I have been working below three years on my father's account; he takes me down at two in the morning and I come up at one and two next afternoon. I go to bed at six at night to be ready for work next morning: the part of the pit I bear in the seams are much on edge.
I have to bear my burthen up four traps, or ladders, before I get to the main road which leads to the pit bottom. My task is four to five tubs; each tub holds 4 1/4cwt. I fill five tubs in 20 journeys.
I have had the strap when I did not do my bidding. Am very glad when my task is wrought, as it sore fatigues.
I can read, and was learning the writing; can do a little; not been at school for two years; go to kirk occasionally, over to Lasswade: don't know much about the Bible, so long since read: knows many of the Questions.
A brief description of this child's place of work will better illustrate her evidence. She has first to descend a nine-ladder pit to the first rest, even to which a shaft is sunk, to draw up the baskets or tubs of coals filled by the bearers; she then takes her creel (a basket formed to the back, not unlike a cockle-shell, flattened towards the neck, so as to allow lumps of coal to rest on the back of the neck and shoulders) and pursues her journey to the wall-face, or as it is called here, the room of work. She then lays down her basket, into which the coal is rolled and it is frequently more than one man can do to lift the burden on her back. The tugs or straps are placed over the forehead and the body bent in a semicircular form, in order to stiffen the arch. Large lumps of coal are then placed on the neck and she then commences her journey with her burden to the pit bottom, first hanging her lamp to the cloth crossing her head. In this girl's case she has first to travel about 14 fathoms (84 feet) from wall-face to the first ladder, which is 18 feet high: leaving the first ladder she proceeds along the main road, probably 3 feet 6 inches to 4 feet 6 inches high, to the second ladder, 18 feet high, so on to the third and fourth ladders, till she reaches the pit-bottom, where she casts her load, varying from 1 cwt. to l 1/2 cwt., into the tub. This one journey is designated a rake; the height ascended and the distance along the roads added together, exceed the height of St. Pauls Cathedral; and it not unfrequently happens that the tugs break and the load falls upon those females who are following. However incredible it may appear, yet I have taken the evidence of fathers who have ruptured themselves from straining to lift coal on their children's backs.
No.56 David Burnside, l2 years old, coal-hewer:-
I work at Loanhead coal-mine; have done so upwards of two years: work on mother's account, with two brothers and sister. Father bas been dead 10 year. Little brother is 10 years old; bears the coal with sister. We go to work at four in the morning and return at two in the day; sometimes five.
When I work all night I gang at five or six in evening and return five or six in morning.
I pick at the coal wall; it is gai sair work; more so some days than others.
We have no holidays but what we make ourselves.
Bad air frequently prevents one working below: when the weather is warm the damp stops the breath.
I never got any hurt and have my meals at home, except the piece I take away.
I can read [reads well], and do the writing a little; have not been to school since dawn.
I seldom go to kirk: used to know all the Questions; forget them now.
All four can take away £2 on pay-day. We can generally reckon 10 days in fortnight; there are 12 days in a fortnight, and two Sabbaths. Two pounds are forty shillings - twice 40 = 80; 4 quarters in the hundred-weight, 22 cwt. in the ton.
No.57 William Burnside, 10 years old, coal-bearer:-
I gang with brother and sister; have done so two months. I can fill one tub in the day: it takes me 17 journeys, as my back gets sore. A tub holds near 5 cwt. I follow sister with bits of coal strapped over my head and back. The work fatigues me muckle. Mother sent me as the teacher had left and no school open no school since. Reads a little.
No.58 Agnes Fuller, 17 years old, coal-bearer:-
Works at Sir George Clarke's coal pit; has done six years. I left once for service in Edinburgh; remained six months; have tried outbye work, that is, field labour, and prefer the work below. If could get a situation which suited, in a family, would like it better than coal work. Mistress in Edinburgh kept me too close to the house, so I left.
I was at school five years; have forgotten the learning, except the reading and shaping a few letters.
Sometimes go to kirk and Sabbath-school. I think David wrote the Psalms and Moses the commandments: don't know how many there are. Moses brought the Children of Israel from Egypt through the Jordan. Saul wrote the Proverbs. Edinburgh is in Scotland. London is in Ireland. Never was taught the counting; can't say how many days in the year - knows there are 12 months.
No.59 Mary Smith, 17 years old, coal-bearer:-
I have been a coal bearer six years and like the work well enough. Tired service: was at Dr. Brunton's six months and would have remained but father said he needed me below. I did not wish to leave, as the place suited. Coal work is o'ersair for women. Was at school six years. I can read [reads well] and write a little.
[Knows most of the questions in the shorter catechism and Scripture history well but very counting and knowledge of general facts.]
No.60 Elizabeth Pentland, 13 years old, coal-bearer:-
Wrought three years in coal-mines; came from Gilmerton, where the coals are on the edge as they are here: don't dislike the work, as I am now used to it; never tried any other; my ankles swell sometimes when I am overworked.
Was at Gilmerton school; was taught the Ten Commands and the reading; not been for four years to any other.
Forgot all my learning since away. Moses and God made the world: Christ is God; don't know whether he was crucified. I know there are Ten Commands but I cannot say what they are, or what they mean; for I cannot read just now. Has heard of Edinburgh; don't know where it is. To sin is not to do my bidding: thinks telling lies is sin.
No.61 George Hunter, 15 years old, coal-hewer:-
I hew the coal. and sometimes carry; the carrying is the most sore: when work is over am very fatigued. Work with brother father's account. Mother died in child-birth with laddie who now works with me. Wrought below five years.
Have not been to school for three years; was reading then in the Testament.
Matthew is the first book in the Testament. God made the world. Do not know how Commandments there are nor who brought them to the Israelites.
Always been in Loanhead; believes it is in Scotland. Queen Victoria lives in London. London is in Scotland. Five times six makes 25; can't say how much four times eight make.
- (Messrs. Taylor, Kenneth, and Co.)
No.62. Mr. Kenneth, Managing Partner of the Dryden Glen Colliery Company:
Am unable to enter into general details as the new works will be some months before they are ready for carrying on extensive operations.
At this time we have only some 17 colliers, 12 women and five or six children. The ladder pits and part of the bearing system will, I expect, be abolished when our new fitting, by inclined plane, is finished.
The bearing system is the least expensive mode and any intervention would seriously affect the parents.
I think the exclusion of children would not be attended by any disadvantage to the coal proprietors but, as I before said, be seriously felt by the parents themselves.
No.63. Jane Young, 11 years old, coal-bearer:-
I have wrought 15 months below in the Ladder Pit on the same work with Jane Kerr and her sister. We don't go so early as Kerrs and mother sends us warm porridge for breakfast. We live a little way, not half a mile. Sister and I fill six and eight tubs daily; they take us 18 journeys.
We go down six ladders to pit bottom and then descend three more on the plane of coal before we get to the wall face; it is a good bit; I cannot say how many fathom.
I get the strap sometimes.
Mother was in the pits till last two years. We do no need her now and she bides at home; she has seven children in life; none of us read. Sometimes I go to kirk to see the people and the preacher; I canna understand all he says. I am very sore fatigued when home and have little time to look about me.
No.64. Jane Kerr, 12 years old, coal-bearer:-
I get up at three in the morning, and gang to the work at four, return at four and five at night. It takes us muckle time to come the road and put on our clothes. I work every day for when father does not work, the master pays me 6d. a-day for bearing wood for him.
I never get porridge before my return home but I bring a bit of oatcake and get water when thirsty.
Sister and I can fill one tub of 4 1/4 cwt. in two journeys. Sister is 14 years of age.
My sister and brothers do not read but I did once go to school to learn reading when at Sir John's work; have forgotten all the letters.
The Ladder Pit in which I work is gai drippie and the air is a kind of bad, as the do lamps do na burn sa bright as in guid air.
My father straps me when I do not do his bidding. The work is very sair and fatiguing.
I would like to go to school, but canna wone [go] owing to sair fatigue.
Mother was a coal-bearer but stays at home now, as there are seven bairns. We have one room to our house and two beds; three laddies sleep with I and sister and the two wee anes with mother and father. I do not know what father takes away on pay-day: he never works on Monday; sometimes not on Tuesday.
[No scriptural knowledge; very acute beautiful child; did not appear above 10 years of age.]
No.65. Agnes Kerr, 15 years old, coal-bearer:-
Was nine years old when commenced carrying coals; carry father.s coal; make 18 to 20 journeys a-day; a journey to and fro is about 200 to 250 fathom: have to ascend and descend many ladders; can carry 1 1/2 cwt.
I do not know how many feet there are in a fathom but I think two or three yards: know the distance from habit; it is sore crushing work; many lassies cry as they bring up their burthens.
Accidents frequently happen from the tugs breaking and the loads falling on those behind and the lasses are much fashed with swelled ancles.
I canna say that I like the work well; for I am obliged to do it: it is horse work.
Was at school five years since. I was in the Bible [can read well]; forgotten all about it. Jesus Christ. led the Jews out of Egypt: believes Jesus was God; does not recollect what death he died, or the names of any books in the Bible or Testament. Often goes to buy meal; gets a peck; can't say whether it weighs 7lb. or 14lb.; can't sew or knit. I would go to kirk if I had clothes.
No.66. Jane Kerr, 12 years old, coal-bearer:-
I work with my cousin Agnes on my father's account and have done so three years. Have just come from Sir John Hope's work. I don't dislike now; it is very sair. Was at New Craighall School a little ago. Was in the Testament. Don't know who was the Son of God. I canna gang to school as there is none near. We have no clothes for kirk.
No.67. Alexander Kenny, 10 years old, coal-bearer:-
Worked below eight months; likes it fine; am thinking nobody told me to say so. It is better than going to school, as I do not get the licks that teacher gave me at Craighall, where we came from.
Was at school four years and could read the Testament; nearly forget it now. Master used to teach us the questions. Knows God and that if we are wicked we shall be burnt up to char. There are two bawbees in a penny and four in two pennies. Father gives me a bawbee on pay-day; I buy sweeties with it. I don't know what countryman my father, is but he is a collier.
New Craighall Colliery
-parish of Inveresk.-(Sir John Hope, of Pinkie, Baronet.)
No.68. Alexander Gray, 10 years old, below-ground pump-boy:-
I pump out the water in the under bottom of the pit, to keep the mens rooms dry. I am obliged to pump fast or the water would cover me. I had to run away a few weeks ago, as the water came up so fast that I could no pump at all and the men were obliged to gang.
The water frequently covers my legs and those of the men when they sit to pick.
I have been two years at the pump. I work every day, whether men work or not. Am paid 10d. a-day: no holidays but Sabbath.
I go down at three, sometimes five, in the morning; and come up at six and seven at night. I know that I work 12 and 14 hours, as I can tell by the clock.
I know the hours: the minute-hand is longer than the one which points to the hour: and I can read and do a little at writing.
I go to night-school when there is no work: canna gang after work, am o'er fatigued.
I get flesh and kail when I return home and take my pieces of oaten bread wi' me.
Can go the length of some of the Questions: the teacher taught me. I know who made the heaven and earth - it was God: our Saviour was his Son. The Devil is sin: sin is any want of conformity to the law of God; so it says in my Questions. I don't know what conformity is, nor the law of God.
No.69. Robert Thomson, 11 years old, horse-driver:-
Drives a pony in the Tunnel Mine; works 12 and 14 hours: has done 18 months. Would like it fine if the time would allow me to see the daylight.
The pit is very wet and sair drappie. The women complain of the wet but they are obliged to like it.
I work to father and go to Sabbath-school at Fisherrow.
[Reads well, and writes very clear.]
No.70. Janet Moffatt, 12 years old, coal-putter:-
Works from six morning till six night: alternate weeks works in the night-shift. Descends at six at night, and return five or six in morning, as the coals are drawn whiles later.
I pull the waggons, of 4 to 5 cwt., from the mens rooms to the horse-road. We are worse off than the horses, as they draw on iron rails and we on flat floors.
We have no meals below. Some of us get pieces of bread when we can save it from the rats who are so ravenous that they eat the corks out of our oil-flasks.
I draw the carts through the narrow seams. The roads are 24 to 30 inches high: draw in harness, which passes over my shoulders and back; the cart is fastened to my chain.
The place of work is very wet and covers my shoe-tops.
I work on mother's account with sister, as father was killed in the pit five years since. There are often accidents below; a woman was killed 3 months since by one of the pit waggons.
Mother has eight children. Three of us work below; we are her only support.
[Can read, and knows Scripture very well: can sign her name but very indifferently.]
No.71. James M'Kinley, 9 years old, below-ground pumper:-
I gang below with two sisters at three in the morning. We take bits of bread: we get nothing else until we return at three and four in the day. We work all night week about. Father gets 10d. a-day for my work. I used to go to school and so did sisters, before we came down. Sisters are 12 and 14 years of age. I have down nine months, they many years. I could read in Testament, am too fatigued to gang, after work, to the school. Mother worked till she broke her hands.
[Reads very badly.]
No.72. Mr Thomas King, mining overseer, New Craighall Colliery:-
We employ in the works below about 600 persons; 573 below ground: 155 are females and 102 boys and lads.
The number of young persons are not always the same, as the parents take them down as they need them; and it must be admitted that children are taken below much too early. We have no control over them.
The men regulate the out-put of their work, as also the limit for their children's claims for work. Taking children very young down has an injurious effect. I have known them carried underground at six and seven years of age, on purpose to claim the privileges.
Boys of 12 and 14 years of age can acquire the positions and practical part of coal-hewing better than when younger. Maturity gives them rigour; they are more active and infinitely more useful.
Children are detained frequently longer below than parents, as they have to wait their turns in drawing up their father's or master's coal.
The labour below but more especially bearing coals, severely injures the females; and they suffer much in after-life. Men suffer much who work below on the stone-mining: few reach 40 years of age.
No.73. Ellspee Thomson, 40 years old, coal-bearer:-
I wrought all my life, till a stone, 14 months ago, so crushed my leg and right foot, below ground, that I could no' gang.
If women did not work below the children would not go down so soon; and it would better for them, as they would get more strength and a little learning.
Can say to my own cost that the bairns are much neglected when both parents work below; for neighbours, if they keep the children, they require as much as women sometimes earn and neglect them.
The oppression of the coal-bearing is such as to injure women in after-life; and few exist whose legs are not injured, or haunches, before they are 30 years of age.
Has known many women leave for service but for want of proper instruction have not be able to hold to the places: the liberty women have unfits them for restraint. Thinks colliers' daughters full as virtuous as other women, only their habits are so different from being taken down so early, especially as collier men think the lassies need less education.
The hours children are wrought are much too long; many work 15 hours, none less than 12.
I do not know any women that have much suffered from the bad air but most of the men begin to complain at 30 to 35 years of age and drop off before they get the length of 40.
No.74. Mr. David Wilson, overseer to the New Craighall Colliery:-
I have been in this part of Mid-Lothian many years: 20 years in capacity of overseer and connected with coal working full 40 years.
I have evidenced much dissipation and changeableness in consequence of colliers being allowed to employ women in the oppressive part of the labour.
Sir John Hope endeavoured some years since to abolish the most degrading and hard part of the labour of women and was opposed by the women and husbands, as interfering with their rights. After great loss, much dispute and delay, many women yoked to the new mode of pulling or pushing and gave up bearing coal.
Since horses have been employed many women have kept their homes and I have witnessed a vast change in the habits and health of whole families.
The want of domestic training is most severely felt by the females themselves, and much as they desire a change of life they feel their own unfitness to that degree as to abandon all hope.
Some few colliers have, on this work, married respectable domestic servants and I have evidenced a vast change in the homes, cleanliness and comforts of the people and children, especially when compared with those whose wives work below ground.
No.75. Walter Pryde, aged 81 years, coal-hewer:-
I have not wrought for six years. Was first yoked to the coal work at Preston Grange when I was nine years of age: we were then all slaves to the Preston Grange laird.
Even if we had no work on the colliery in my father's time we could seek none other without a written licence and agreement to return. Even then the laird or the tacksman selected our place of work and if we did not do his bidding we were placed by the necks in iron collars called juggs, and fastened to the wall, "or made to go the rown." The latter I recollect well the men's hands were tied in face of the horse at the gin and made run round backwards all day.
When bound the hewers were paid 4d. a tub of 4cwt. And could send up six to eight tubs, but had to pay their own bearers out of the money, so that we never took more than 8s. to 10s. a-week. The money went much further than double would do now.
There are few men live to my age who work below. My wife is 82 and she worked at bearing till she was 66 years of age. We are very poor, having had to bring up 11 children; five are alive. Sir John allows us a free house and coal and the Kirk Session allows us one shilling per week each. Should die if it were not for neighbours and son, who have a large family, and can ill afford to give.
No.76. David Gordon, 17 years old, coal-hewer, Craighall Coal-Town:-
I hew coal: have done so four years on Sir John's work. Before I went below could read and do the writing: have nearly lost all learning. The irregular nature of the work prevents my seeking the school.
The pit we are wrought in there have been many accidents, as the roof is soft, and the water rises sometimes nearly to the roof.
I can earn 2s. 6d. a-day when on full work. Sometimes I push the hurlies and my sister Janet assists, as the work has made me weak in the limbs.
The lassies draw with ropes and chains: the harness they purchase themselves, it costs 5s. and is made very strong, as the hurlies contain 5 to 7cwt. of coal.
Knows some few of the questions in shorter Catechism; very little knowledge of Scripture or arithmetic; can sign own name and that very badly.
I know the colliers' children are school freed but very few attend after work and some parents do not send their young children, as they get too much of the strap.
[There was scarcely any furniture in the hut and the filthy appearance of the children was disgusting; the fowls were roosting over the bed and appeared by their noise to know that a stranger was present. The mother had been a coalbearer: she had seven children in life, four worked below with father. While in the cottage the father returned, having left two children in the pit: he said they had wrought 15 hours and were waiting their turn below.]
No.77. Agnes Johnson, aged 17 years, road-redder:-
Assists in redding the road in the Tunnel Pit and work 12 hours. It is very sore work but I prefer it, as I work on the master's account and get 14d. a-day. When I work with father he keeps me 15 and 16 hours at coal-carrying, which I hate, as it last year I twisted my ankles out of place, and I was idle near 12 months.
No.78. Robert Inglis, aged 82:-
I am the oldest collier on Sir John Hope's work, and have not been able to do much for many years, but am employed about at light work, which gets me a maintenance; am very ill at present, though I move out.
I was born 9th Sept. 1759 and worked at Pinkie Pit long before the colliers got their freedom; the first emancipation took place on the 3rd of July, 1775 - we always kept the day as a holiday. Lord Abercorn got us out of our slavery.
Father and grandfather were slaves to the Laird of Preston Grange and after the works had stopped and we got licence from Mr. Peter Hunter, the then tacksman, we could not get work, as the neighbours kenned that the Laird of Preston Grange would send the sheriff after us and bring us back.
So binding was the bondage, that the lairds had the power of taking colliers who had left them out of any of his Majesty's ships, or bringing back any who had enlisted in the army.
Such ill-feelings existed against colliers and salters years past that they were buried in unconsecrated ground; this was common in Fife.
If colliers had been better treated they would have been better men.
Rosewell and Barley Dean Collieries
- parish of Lasswade. - (R. B Wardlaw Ramsey, Esq., Proprietor of Whitehill.)
No.79. Mr John Wright, Manager of the Rosewell and Barley Dean Coal Mines:-
It is now four years since the practice of employing females and very young children ceased in these mines and although I have not the manager's office so long, yet I have evidenced the advantage of the change religiously, morally and socially.
In these works, since the discharge of women, marriages have been formed with greater care and more appropriately; few now marry till 23 or 24 and we have not had a bastard since the disemployment of females.
On the old system men married more from the advantage their physical strength might procure them, than any degree of affection.
Men labour here regularly and average 11 to 12 days in the fortnight, whereas when they depended on their wives and children, they rarely wrought nine days in the same period.
Colliers are now stationary, with very few exceptions; the women themselves are opposed to moving since they have felt the benefit of homes.
Boys from 12 to 15 can learn their profession and postures as well as younger; it is a vulgar prejudice to think it requires very young boys to get the position.
Girls employed as bearers are subject to severe deformities in ankles, feet and haunches and have always the marks of it when they arrive at womanhood.
We have advantaged ourselves with every new improvement in ventilation, which economises time and greatly promotes health.
No.80. Robert Seton, 11 years old, coal-putter:-
Father took me down when I was six years old and I have wrought below ever since.
Brother and I draw one waggon which holds 6cwt. of coal. The work is as sair as ever laddie put his hand to: the distance we run the waggon on the rail is 200 fathoms and back. The floor of the pit is very dry and there are very few accidents. I got my leg crushed by a coal falling and was laid idle a while.
Mother worked below until the new regulations forced the women out of the pits.
I canna gang to school now, as there is no night teaching. Mr. Colquehon, the teacher, says it did not pay.
[Reads well; can scarcely shape a letter; understands a few questions in the Catechism. No counting.]
No.81. Andrew Salton, aged 39, coal-hewer:-
Wrought on coal and stone-mining upwards of 20 years. Have two sons below: was obliged to take them down early, as the oppressive nature of the work made me short in the breath; and my wife, who had been a coal-bearer all her life, was obliged to work in the pit till Mr. Ramsay's new regulations to exclude the women people came into operation two years ago.
I consider it a great boon to keep the women away from the mines. Miners require comforts and good homes as well as other men.
I am well satisfied with the regulations to keep boys away till they are 12 or 14 years age; for when the roads are well kept and the boys strong, men have more regular employ and the work is quicker done. Many men left with their families at first new rules but were returning fast.
No.82. William Naysmith, 12 years old, putter:-
Have wrought below three months at the putting: it is very hard, extraordinary hard work. I am now learning to hew the coal. I work sometimes all night, which is only the case when coals are in demand and then we have two sets.
I am wrought about 12 to 13 hours; the night-shift is always the largest, 14 hours. Mother sends my breakfast down at nine, the hours most of the people get theirs.
Have tried farm work and prefer it; but it is not so certain, or so profitable. I came to this as it would be more benefit to my father, who is off work with bad breath. Father, mother and five other children depend on the labour of brother and myself. Brother is 17 years of age and wrought seven years in the mines.
[Reads and writes well and very well informed in history and arithmetic.]
No.83. Henry Naysmith, 65 years of age, collier:-
Wrought upwards of 50 years: been off work near ten years. Much afflicted with shortness of breath: it is the bane of the colliers and few men live to my age. We think the disease arises from the reek of the lamps and the sulphur which is in the metal, together with the frequent bad air which is found in pits not ventilated. The air above rules the air below; and soft summer air generally stops the work, as south wind causes bad air to rise.
Vast many colliers have stiff joints and rheumatic pains, from sitting on wet floors: too many are careless when health is upon them but it soon reaches them in after-life.
Most of the colliers here are pleased at the masters keeping the women out; sensible men prefer their wives at home instead of their carrying like brutes.
No.84. David Penman, 17 years old, coal-hewer:-
Wrought below seven years was taken down by mother, as father died of the colliers' asthma and she needed me.
I work from five in the morning till five and six at night: never got much hurt: there are accidents from stones falling; none serious lately.
Mother and sisters are excluded from going below: two sisters are at service.
Three brothers and self work on mother's account: do not know what she receives for our wages; could earn, if on own account, 15s. to 17s. a-week.
I was at the school six years but could not take the learning; it was, I am thinking, from being o'ersair wrought at first going down.
[Scarcely can read; quite ignorant of writing and destitute of common instruction: evidently been much neglected: very civil, and has a good character for industry.]
No.85. William Muckle, 70 years old, coal-hewer:-
Left work three years: wrought 57 years below ground: has been married 52 years; was obliged to get a woman early, as at that time all the profits of a collier's wages were taken to pay the bearers. Marriage was absolutely necessary and it is so in all pits where females are employed. Women calculate upon early marriages: colliers are proverbial for large families: in fact, children were and are property, for they are taken down as soon as they can carry coal.
Although the colliers get more money now, they do not get so much of the necessary food as they did 52 years ago: the 20s. wife and I earned would get us more than 30s. could purchase now - we could get butcher meat at one-third and meal at half: whisky was then too cheap and destroyed men and women.