In the nineteenth century the rapidly expanding coal industry was the key to Britain’s industrial growth.
The workforce consisted not only of men, but also of thousands of coalmining women, who mined, sorted and transported the coal. Angela John looks at the lives and struggles of these women, and their fight in the 1880s to keep their jobs at the pit.
She focuses on the contrasting careers of two women from very different backgrounds: Jane Brown, a Lancashire pit lass; and campaigner Margaret Park, and Mayoress of Wigan. Through the campaign, the author throws new light on Victorian attitudes to working women, and working conditions in general in a major nineteenth-century industry.