14. Work at the Colliery: Not just mining

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Not all mineworkers were occupied cutting coal at the coal face.

Extract from a pay book showing different types of job, Risca Collieries, Jan 1854-Jan 1856 (D1423/1/1)

On average nearly half the number of underground workers were not colliers. Pay books sometimes record workers’ occupations. Jobs included rippers, roadmen, repairers and ostlers.

Group of surface craftsmen, Great Mountain Colliery, c.1906 (DNCB/14/1/45)

Photographs show the large scale of colliery surface operations. The scale of the works meant that a variety of different roles were undertaken on the surface. Jobs included farriers, banksmen, medical attendants, coal pickers, lamproom workers and clerks.

Female surface hauliers, c1880 (DNCB/14/3/3)

Before the 1842 Mines Act, women, and children as young as six, were employed underground. Women hauled the coal to the pit bottom. Children worked up to 12 hours a day in roles such as door-keepers.

Extract from Report on the Employment of Women and Children in the Iron Works of South Wales, 1866 (DG/C/5/15a)