3. Bands and Choirs: Song of the Mines

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Music played an important part in the lives of colliery workers. Many men joined colliery bands and choirs.

Coegnant Male Voice Choir singing ‘Song of the Mines’, 1947 (DNCB/14/4/33/9)

Music and singing were seen as wholesome leisure activities, distracting workers from the pubs – and politics – and keeping them out of trouble.

Park Colliery Male Voice Choir, Ocean and National Magazine, 1930 (D1400/9/3/7)

Being part of a choir or band fostered a sense of pride in their colliery. Healthy rivalry between collieries was encouraged, and inter-colliery competitions were hotly contested.

[Ammanford Brass Band], 31 Jan 1964 (DNCB/14/4/158/10/8)

Band members and choristers were ambassadors not only for their workplace but for their village or town.

Fernhill Colliery Band, agreement with Gabriel Collins for payments towards a tenor horn, 1922 (D1100/1/2/1)

If you wanted to be in a choir or band you had to be committed, and would be expected to contribute from your wages for the purchase of instruments and scores.