Queen Coal? Why Remember Women in Post-War Mining Communities

Domestic Life: A 1950s Mining Home

These extracts are from a sociology text book, Coal is Our Life. The authors observed and interviewed members of a 1950s coal mining village community.


Young women in Ashton see their future in terms of being married and running a household; they have no prospects of professional or other social interests and activities outside the home. 

The normal state of affairs in working-class families where the wife is a housewife and the husband a breadwinner is accentuated in Ashton, where the main industry cannot employ female labour and where other jobs for women are scarce. 

The wifeís confinement to the household, together with the acceptance of the idea that the house and children are primarily her responsibility, emphasise the absence of any joint activities and interests for husband and wife.

Of her husbandís work at the pit, a wife in Ashton knows very little. She will hear all her life conversations between her father, brother or husbands with their friends, much of it about the pit, and yet she will rarely have a realistic picture in her mind of the work of a miner. No women are employed underground, and very few wives have the opportunity of making a trip down the mine-shaft [...] 

So far as his family is concerned, he goes to work, preferably everyday, and brings home wages on a Friday. The miners wife is... interested more in seeing her husband work regularly than seeing how hard he works.


Accentuated - to make something more obvious
Confinement - being limited or imprisoned

Primarily - first of all

Professional - involving  a paid job or career

Realistic - true to life

Scarce - rare


Download the worksheet (link below) on Post-War Domestic Life for more extracts about life in a post-war mining home.

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Document icon Learning article provided by: National Coal Mining Museum for England | 
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