1950s, Culture, History, Nostalgia, Photography, Pics, Vintage

Kind Eyes

all images by Carl Mydans, unless specified

Yesterday we visited Yorkshire coalminers sipping pints in a colliery club. Today we visit them on the job. Above is a coalminer from Durham, England in 1952.

The miner with the buoyant tresses is named Dixen Bell, and he’s 300 feet down in the mine.

These snug fellows are working 19 inch narrow seams.

It’s hard to believe those conditions were better than those of the 1890s, such as the East Pool Mine below. Does any of that look stable?

http://www.miningartifacts.org

The men of Dolcoath Mine evidently weren’t claustrophobic.

How nice it must have been to finally emerge into fresh air!

http://www.miningartifacts.org, Forest of Dean, England

9 thoughts on “Kind Eyes”

  1. I can’t imagine what it was like to go hundreds of feet into the ground, pick- ax rock and then load it into a cart all while breathing coal dust. And then shove it top side and do it all over again. Strong fellows. Now wonder they needed a pint afterwards. I think I would lean toward a pint of whiskey over a pint of ale.

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    1. That does make more sense. I guess each generation gets more and more comfortable. From coughing up coal dust to now having Alexa wake you up for school. We didn’t have a/c in my family car or house as a kid, and I recall sleeping with open windows and a box fan, sweating in summer. My teen has never slept on a floor or slept without a/c (minus camping), never sat in a truckbed on a curvy road. And now all the movie seats recline. How much more comfie do you suppose they could get?

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  2. Tough life. I recently read that in China the life expectancy of a coal miner who started in the mines at 15 was just over 49 years at death. Mostly due to accidents and lung ailments. Thirty years in the mine kills ya dead. Once, we visited the Mollie Kathleen gold mine up in Cripple Creek Colorado and after descending 1,000 feet and touring the shafts, the guide challenged me to shovel a wheelbarrow full of the rock pieces at the mine face. I could barely do it. Unbelievably strenuous. He then said the guys back then would do that work for 8 or more hours straight. Eye opening.

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    1. You really descended 1000 ft?? I can’t even imagine that backbreaking work. Surely they could have found some other work? Anything had to be better. There were pics of kids who looked 11 or 12 at best. I didn’t have the heart to post those pics. 😦 Little sweet sooty faces. And the ponies, too!

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      1. Yep, that is the only 1000 ft vertical mine in the US. Judging by license plates, lots of Texas folk visit Cripple Creek, Creed and other central Colorado towns. You should visit. Much cooler, too.

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