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3 Comments Vintage
I can remember visiting my grandmother in Newcastle-on-Tyne the late 1950’s. 3 of my uncles arrived home from the pit and took it in turns to get cleaned up in a in bath by the fire. Those enormous men with black faces, white eyes and teeth speaking broad Geordie could not stop smiling at my English accent while I had no idea what they were saying. The memory is ingrained in me more that the coal dust was in them.
[Black-and-white photograph of a woman in a dress and apron and a man wearing only trousers and shoes, both kneeling by a small tub on the floor. The man is leaning over the tub with his hands under the water; his head, neck, and arms to the elbow are black with coal dust. The woman is washing his back.]
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My gran used to talk about her father coming home in the evening and spending an hour soaking in the hip bath by the fire before it was even worth talking to him. When the pits closed during the recession the miners would break in to steal coal to take home, if they didn’t there was a good chance some of the children wouldn’t have survived the winter nights.