a Woman's Life Was The Pits
Wigan pit brow lasses brought one of the most gruelling jobs imaginable back
to life in a major radio documentary, about 2004. Their
stories combined with archive material for a special BBC Radio Four program.
spent six months compiling interviews for the hour long programme,
Women in the Pit, which was the most detailed broadcast study yet of the Wigan
coalfield and the people who worked in it.
author Ian Winstanley, who has written six books about the Wigan coalfield and
the disasters which befell it, acted as a consultant and was also interviewed walking
around the site of the former Lime Pit coal screen in Haydock.
Many of the
relatives of the Wigan Pit Brow lasses included in the programme came forward
after an appeal published in the Wigan press.
The last pit brow lasses - whose
job involved picking stones and shale from the coal on the screen before washing
- worked in Wigan as late as the early 1960's.
Times - Pit Brow Lasses at work at their gruelling jobs
whose web site, Coalmining
History Resource Centre, was a standard point of reference for teachers
and historians, he added "I've been lucky enough to be sent a copy of the programme
and Wiganers will be delighted with the finished result, which is very impressive.
"At least three quarters
of the hour long programme concentrated on the Wigan coalfield and a number of
named Wigan pits.
combined a lot of archive material with interviews recorded just weeks before."
Ian added that, after consideration,
the producers had decided to stick solely to the story of the gruelling lifestyle
of Pit Brow Lasses and not to include the role of the "pit camp women"
in steadfastly opposing closures during the 1985 national pit strike.
it is dialect you like, go and talk to an old pit lass. Girls like these three,
seen on the pit bank at the old Moss Hall Colliery spoke nothing else.
Pit gear being lifted (Wigan 1978)
cleaning 70 years ago (Wigan Evening Post)
Goodbye 'Mr Bickershaw'
Bill Smith, the man known throughout the South West Lancashire coal field as 'Mr
Bickershaw' retired after 41 years.