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Author The good old days
carnkie

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The good old days
Posted: 29/04/2008 17:32:14
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Was just having a stroll around the local industrial heritage around West Linton and came across this little snippet.

In 1842 a Parliamentary Commissioner visited 2 local collieries and interviewed women and children working there, including a 16 year old girl:

Margaret Watson - Coal-bearer:

"I was first taken below to carry coals when I was six years old and have never been away from the work, except a few evenings in the summer months when some of go to Carlops two miles away to learn the reading.

"Most of us work from 3am to 4 or 5 pm at night. I makes 20 rakes a day and 30 when mother bides at home. What I mean by a rake is a journey from the daylight with my wooden 'backet' to the coal wall and back with my coal to the daylight, when I throw the coals on father's heap and return.

"I carry on my back never less than 1cwt. We often have bad air below: had some a short time ago and lost my brother by it, he sunk down and I tried to draw him out but the air stopped my breath and I was forced to gang."

The mine in question was 51 ft deep, descended by a turnpike stair and the coal face was 600ft distant from the pit bottom.

This description gives a chilling insight into the conditions in these primitive mines.

In 1842 in the Lothians and North Peeblesshire 40% of the labour force was under 18 years old and 25% was under 13 years old.

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skippy

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The good old days
Posted: 29/04/2008 17:35:01
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Why bother with prisons - just chuck them all down a coal mine....


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The Meek Shall Inherit The Earth
... but not the Mineral Rights...
IP: 91.84.15.191
JR

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The good old days
Posted: 29/04/2008 19:02:06
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In old prisons the use of the treadmill was limited to what was considered a 'humane' number of revolutions. The total number of steps prisoners took was often well short of the steps taken by miners on the ladderways of the deeper Cornish mines. Then the poor sods has to do a days work AND climb back up before walking home.
We honestly don't know how lucky we are to be born in the 20th century.
IP: 88.111.208.71
Gwyn

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The good old days
Posted: 29/04/2008 19:08:23
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Export them to the Antipodes! IP: 172.201.24.139
JR

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The good old days
Posted: 29/04/2008 19:22:16
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I did ! I've got a son and daughter in law on the north island of N. Zealand and a step daughter on the south island.
(D'yer think they may be trying to tell me something ? Crying )

--

Once I thought I knew all life's answers. Now I don't think I understand the questions.
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royfellows

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The good old days
Posted: 29/04/2008 20:51:42
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jr48 wrote:

In old prisons the use of the treadmill was limited to what was considered a 'humane' number of revolutions. The total number of steps prisoners took was often well short of the steps taken by miners on the ladderways of the deeper Cornish mines. Then the poor sods has to do a days work AND climb back up before walking home.
We honestly don't know how lucky we are to be born in the 20th century.


Slightly interesting snippet, but little to do with mining.
In London there was an institution known as "Coldbath Fields" where convicts as they where known in those days, (what nowadays, "Guests", "First class citizens"?) were forced to operate treadmills. It was the place that was really dreaded, known colloquially as "the fields", only the most hardened criminals were sent there. It didn’t shut down until 1910, pity it shut down at all, we would not have the problems what we have now.
Basically, the most dangerous criminals in society went in as wolves and came out as bunny rabbits.The thing about the so called “good old days” is that they really were what it says on the tin, life was hard, but people where safe in their own homes and generally happy. Nowadays everyone expects too much out of life and some go off their perch when they don’t get it.



--

'There's a lot of activity for a disused mine!' - Bond in 'A view to a kill'
IP: 89.242.3.142 Edited: 29/04/2008 20:56:19 by royfellows
carnkie

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The good old days
Posted: 29/04/2008 22:05:49
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royfellows wrote:

jr48 wrote:

In old prisons the use of the treadmill was limited to what was considered a 'humane' number of revolutions. The total number of steps prisoners took was often well short of the steps taken by miners on the ladderways of the deeper Cornish mines. Then the poor sods has to do a days work AND climb back up before walking home.
We honestly don't know how lucky we are to be born in the 20th century.


.The thing about the so called “good old days” is that they really were what it says on the tin, life was hard, but people where safe in their own homes and generally happy. Nowadays everyone expects too much out of life and some go off their perch when they don’t get it.



Generally happy, Roy? Reading "London Labour and The London Poor" by Henry Mayhew or "Mid-Victorian Britain 1851-1875" by Henry Best doesn't give me that impression. I do agree with your last observation though. I was thinking of ranting on about the food riots in Cornwall, mainly led by miners, but thought again because it might pre-empt future events. We seem to have wandered slightly from my initial innocent observation.
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Mr.C

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The good old days
Posted: 29/04/2008 23:20:22
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I think it's safe to ignore what happens in London as abnormal - after all, there aren't any mines there.

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If things dunner change - the'll stop as the' are.
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carnkie

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The good old days
Posted: 29/04/2008 23:39:12
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Mr.C wrote:

I think it's safe to ignore what happens in London as abnormal - after all, there aren't any mines there.


Therefore, by definition 6 year old girls going down coalmines is normal? I must admit that I find any defence of the social attitudes of Victorian Uk difficult to understand. Agreed one has to put it into context (sorry Gwyn) but come on. Sad
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Barney

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The good old days
Posted: 30/04/2008 01:14:00
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Act of Parliament 1842 [Mines and Colliers Act] An Act to prohibit the employment of women and girls in mines and collieries, to regulate the employment of boys, and to make other provisions relating to persons working therein. 5 & 6 Vict., c. 99: 7pp fol. ['Lord Ashley's Act, Royal Assent 10 August 1842, came into effect 1 March 1843, banning the employment of girls and women, and of children younger than 10 years, underground in coal mines. Seymour Tremenheere was appointed the first Inspector, December 1842]





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markc

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The good old days
Posted: 30/04/2008 10:20:41
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I have to agree with Roy. Times were hard but people had respect for themselves & others, worked hard and were reasonably content. Nowdays people have more than ever and are still not satisfied. Life is now too easy for some people.
Maybe not 6 year olds down mines, but a few teenagers wouldn't hurt!
Bad lads army proved that point.
(sorry if i'm a bit off the topic, just wanted to comment)
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ICLOK

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The good old days
Posted: 30/04/2008 11:03:43
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This seems hot topic generally and I had a long debate on this the other night..... I blame alot of todays problems on parents not being interested in their kids and a lack of centrally provided facilities and a world driven by wealth before all else.... its strange but all the kids/youths I know (lots inc my own) that do something with their time like football, drama, caving, railways, fishing etc seem fine as they learn control, discipline, respect and team work and learn about the things about them .... The kids I see with lager and fag in hand don't have hobbies, don't have self respect, dont give a toss about anyone or anything as mum and dad just kick em out with a fiver as its easier than interacting with them and there is nowhere to go anyway, then they grow up self centred and disrespectful to those around them and expecting to be given it all, why... because we lost the one thing that kept us straight and narrow....COMMUNITY.
In the Good old days, there was an angling club, local brass band, social club events, galas, fishing clubs, miners welfares, rambling societies, computer club, railway society, model club, youth club and so on..... people didn't have much money but they had each other and they had a huge amount of organised cheap activities.... especially in mining communities, it was brill!
I'm not saying everything was rosy then but I grew up at the latter ends of those days and was never in.... too busy walking, singing, painting, trainspotting or mending bikes. Because of this i met a railwayman and got a railway apprenticeship, he knew a guy at the local miners welfare who did caving, who got me introduced me to the PDMHS and mining, thence into industrial archaeology.... I never had time to come off the rails!!
When you crossed the line then you were rightly punished accordingly and in most cases it was enough. Now you cant punish as the lines are blurred and kids know it!!! I get p***ed of with politicians and councillors who tell us on one hand that we all have to work as a community then don't bother giving us the tools to do it or punish those that seek to destroy it. The world has moved on and i know those days of close working communities have gone.... but theres the rub, if they had have financed the facilities and organisations to carry on after the local pit or factory closed they might not have the problems they have today... which would have meant less policing, less expense, nicer kids, better life.... Sorry for the rant....
Angry

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Manxman

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The good old days
Posted: 30/04/2008 11:24:43
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D'you know, I have been following the progress of this website since it's inception, wondering whether or not to register as a contributer. Having read the intelligent and informed comments lately, I'm glad I did. The observations of ICLOK are so well-perceived and accurate. I watched a couple of kids the other day while waiting for my two to come out of school: fag in hand, every other word the f-word, and with such malevolent and gormless looks on their faces ... God help us!

Definitely the thinking mine explorers forum.
IP: 87.113.54.186
carnkie

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The good old days
Posted: 30/04/2008 11:43:22
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ICLOK wrote:

This seems hot topic generally and I had a long debate on this the other night..... I blame alot of todays problems on parents not being interested in their kids and a lack of centrally provided facilities and a world driven by wealth before all else.... its strange but all the kids/youths I know (lots inc my own) that do something with their time like football, drama, caving, railways, fishing etc seem fine as they learn control, discipline, respect and team work and learn about the things about them .... The kids I see with lager and fag in hand don't have hobbies, don't have self respect, dont give a toss about anyone or anything as mum and dad just kick em out with a fiver as its easier than interacting with them and there is nowhere to go anyway, then they grow up self centred and disrespectful to those around them and expecting to be given it all, why... because we lost the one thing that kept us straight and narrow....COMMUNITY.
In the Good old days, there was an angling club, local brass band, social club events, galas, fishing clubs, miners welfares, rambling societies, computer club, railway society, model club, youth club and so on..... people didn't have much money but they had each other and they had a huge amount of organised cheap activities.... especially in mining communities, it was brill!
I'm not saying everything was rosy then but I grew up at the latter ends of those days and was never in.... too busy walking, singing, painting, trainspotting or mending bikes. Because of this i met a railwayman and got a railway apprenticeship, he knew a guy at the local miners welfare who did caving, who got me introduced me to the PDMHS and mining, thence into industrial archaeology.... I never had time to come off the rails!!
When you crossed the line then you were rightly punished accordingly and in most cases it was enough. Now you cant punish as the lines are blurred and kids know it!!! I get p***ed of with politicians and councillors who tell us on one hand that we all have to work as a community then don't bother giving us the tools to do it or punish those that seek to destroy it. The world has moved on and i know those days of close working communities have gone.... but theres the rub, if they had have financed the facilities and organisations to carry on after the local pit or factory closed they might not have the problems they have today... which would have meant less policing, less expense, nicer kids, better life.... Sorry for the rant....
Angry


Don't disagree with any of that except my original 'good old days' was referring to the 'Great ' Victorian period in Britain.
Barney made the point about the 1842 Act of Parliament but the !834 New Poor Laws Act tended to throw a spanner in the works. But that's another subject. I've uploaded a paper by John Rule which I found interesting, particularly the role that religeon played.
IP: 88.105.217.172 Edited: 30/04/2008 11:47:51 by carnkie
ICLOK

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The good old days
Posted: 30/04/2008 11:52:30
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Yes I know.... sorry Wink

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Barney

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The good old days
Posted: 30/04/2008 14:20:15
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Two more acts of Parliament, very powerful acts when they were introduced, both very similar but aproppriate for the type of mineral....

Act of Parliament 1872 Coal Mines Regulation Act [An Act to consolidate and amend the Acts relating to the regulation of coal mines and certain other mines] 35 & 36 Vict. Cap. 76: 47pp [Royal assent 10 August 1872 - came into effect 1 January 1873 (1 January 1874 in Ireland) - dealt with 'mines of coal, mines of stratified ironstone, mines of shale, and mines of fireclay' - deals with the employment and hours of working of women and children, the education of children, employment above ground as well as underground at mines, the registration of boys and young persons employed, penalties, wages, the prohibition of mines with single shafts (other than in specified exceptional circumstances), return of minerals to be made, returns of employees above and below ground (classified by age etc) to be made, notification required of accidents or of the opening of abandonment of mines, the fencing of abandoned mines, the sending of plans of abandoned mines to the Secretary of State, the inspection of mines, and applicable safety rules, and other matters [BL]

Act of Parliament 1872 Metalliferous Mines Regulation Act, [An Act to consolidate and amend the law relating to metalliferous mines] [Royal Assent 10 August 1872] 35 & 36 Victoria c. 77: 26 pp [This Act shall apply to every mine of whatever description other than a mine to which the Coal Mines Regulation Act, 1872, applies. The Act came into force on 1 January 1873. It contains provisions relating to the employment of women, children, and young persons; hours of work; registration of boys employed'; wages; returns to be made (quantities of minerals sold or produced, numbers of persons employed above and below ground); notices of accidents and of the opening and abandonment of mines; fencing of mines; the deposit of plans of abandoned mines (where 'more than 12 persons have been ordinarily employed below ground); inspection, rules, and penalties. The Act applied (with modifications) to the Isle of Man][BL]





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carnkie

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The good old days
Posted: 30/04/2008 15:41:47
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There were a number of PPs as well such as the "Report to Commissioners on the Condition of all Miners in Great Britain 1864." IP: 88.105.243.136
hymac580c

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The good old days
Posted: 30/04/2008 17:19:39
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It was a fact that in Victorian and even predating that working conditions were hard to say the least.
But now sometimes things have gone to the extreme the other way. Like the health and safety issue will make working imposible due to so many rules and regulations.
And as for yob rule. I think it started when do-gooders wanted more rights for children and adults. Now children have more rights than adults. Which would be fine in the perfect world.
Mind you I used to get a slap at school for daydreaming. I then paid more attention so that I did not get another one.
When we were kids in the 1960's and 70's my parents left the key in the front door.

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Art thou a figment of mine imagination? Or be I one of thine?
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hymac580c

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The good old days
Posted: 30/04/2008 17:29:05
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Sorry but perhaps just a bit off topic but I think I should tell of an incident at one of our depots.
the health and safety inspector did an inspection and found the toilet seat cracked as it was old and of course well used. The manager said it would be replaced.
Then the inspector said it should be done by a contractor that is licenced to work with asbestos just in case it contained asbestos.
That is just one example of the extremity of life at the modern workplace.

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Art thou a figment of mine imagination? Or be I one of thine?
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royfellows

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The good old days
Posted: 30/04/2008 17:34:24
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hymac580c wrote:

Sorry but perhaps just a bit off topic but I think I should tell of an incident at one of our depots.
the health and safety inspector did an inspection and found the toilet seat cracked as it was old and of course well used. The manager said it would be replaced.
Then the inspector said it should be done by a contractor that is licenced to work with asbestos just in case it contained asbestos.
That is just one example of the extremity of life at the modern workplace.


It would have been more appropriate if the inspector had changed the seat himself in case it contained Sh-t.
Obviously he must be experienced in working with this substance as he continually talks it.


--

'There's a lot of activity for a disused mine!' - Bond in 'A view to a kill'
IP: 89.242.3.142
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