Coal-miners 1930s

Extract from Memoir of Labhrás Ó Nualláin
Coal- miners
I was influenced by social conditions I saw around me as I walked through the slum areas of Hulme, Ancoats and Miles-Platting, and of course by my own personal experience of being one of the expendable unemployed and attending the Labour Exchange during the years 1931-1933, the grim years of “the Black Thirties”, as they were so described by many political commentators of the time.
I still have a vivid memory of my first glimpse of the coal miners as they went home after the end of their shift at the colliery which was situated between Ancoats and Droylsden.  Physically, they presented a picture of small, undersized, tired-looking men, coal-black hands and faces, with a look of resignation written all over their faces, and wearing well-worn, coal-dusted clothes, cloth caps and carrying their food-containers in which they brought their meagre meals.  They ate deep down in the bowels of the earth, far beneath the passing traffic and the grimy-looking workers houses.
I felt a great pity for such men, barely eking out a living for themselves and families, under atrocious working conditions, often in situations of danger, for a pittance, as it was in the twenties and thirties.  I have long since held the view that such men are entitled, as of right, to extract out of the coal-owners – whether it be a state organisation or private company – as high a rate of wages and greatly improved working conditions as their trade unions could win for them.  My father held the opinion that the leaders of the trade union movement had deserted the miners at the general strike in 1926.
©  Labhrás O Nualláin

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: