Signed print 41 x 51cm
"The introduction of pit head baths had a dramatic impact on mining communities. Previously, miners returning home from work in filthy pit clothes with dirty faces stood out from other workers and so travelling on public transport could be humiliating. Dirt from the pit also had a major impact at home. Many miners' homes had no bathrooms and no running hot water. Preparing baths for husbands and sons, often on different shifts, washing and drying pit clothes were arduous and time-consuming tasks for women. Through a levy on coal, the Miners Welfare Fund was established in 1920, a separate fund was introduced for building pit head baths, identified as a fundamental requirement. Initially, many miners disliked the idea of communal showers, but pit head baths became an accepted part of the working day, and a chance to socialise at the end of a hard shift.
After a 2pm start on a Friday at Whitburn Colliery all thoughts were to exit the cage at 9pm, dash through the lamp cabin into the dirty side of the pit head baths, a quick shower, into the clean side, throw on your clean travelling clothes, exit the baths and catch the Economic bus that ran a couple of miles down the coast to South Shields, alight from the Eco, dash into the New Crown bar where my Dad would have a pint waiting for me on the bar counter just before the pub closed at 10pm."