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Photos of Wigan
Photos of Wigan

Photo-a-Day Archive
Photo-a-Day Archive

Photo-a-Day  (Sunday, 24th January, 2016)

Pit Brow Cap

Pit Brow Cap
Cap of a pit brow lass - Museum of Wigan Life.

Photo: David  (Canon Powershot G15)
Views: 3,380

Comment by: Neil Cain on 24th January 2016 at 08:28

For those interested in the lives of Pit Brow Women Alan Davies' book of that name is a worthwhile read. Alan is also giving talks on the subject at the Museum of Wigan Life and at Wigan Local History and Heritage Society shortly.

Comment by: PeterP on 24th January 2016 at 09:02

reminds me of when we watch cowboy pictures and the pioneer women in their wagons.

Comment by: maggie on 24th January 2016 at 09:05

My Grandma was one of these girls. her photo is in the album. We are so lucky, we do not have to toil like they did. Anyone know what stopped them?

Comment by: Vb on 24th January 2016 at 10:31

I remember old ladies in the fifties wearing these as normal everyday wear in white. They called them dust caps. Probably the housework was more arduous .....especially beating carpets and soforth.

Comment by: Anne on 24th January 2016 at 11:41

Is it genuine? Were these caps widely worn? Looking at old pictures of pit brow lasses there seems be more head scarves worn in various fashion than this type of head gear.
Nice clear piccy, the weave is showing up well.

Comment by: David on 24th January 2016 at 11:59

The card in the display case next to the cap reads:
Pit Brow Lass Cap, 20th century.
Probably the last surviving pit brow cap. Until banned by the Coal Mines Act 1842, woman worked underground. After the ban, Pit Brow Lasses sorted coal on the surface, shocking Victorians by wearing trousers under their aprons.

Comment by: Roy on 24th January 2016 at 12:57

Mines were starting to close in the 60s maggie, that's when the girls started to finish, plus possibly a bit of modernisation. I remember looking down on the pit brow girls from a gantry above, watching them working on the conveyers, that would have been at the end of the 40s at the Victoria pit in Standish. I did read that at one time, mainly because of coal, the Wigan area was the biggest employer of female labour in the country.

Comment by: maggie on 25th January 2016 at 08:43

I love he story about when Victorian tried to ban these women because of their unsuitable clothing - they actually dared to wear trousers. Some of them, with the local M.P. went to London, dressed in their best to show just what they were.

Comment by: fred foster on 25th January 2016 at 10:35

The girls on the pit brow at Stones wore 3 headscarves to keep their hair clean. The pit provided them with green bib and brace overalls as well

Comment by: Sam ,h on 25th January 2016 at 12:23

My mother was a pit brow lass ,but she says she says the bonnets were used in the older years,her head cover was a head scarf come shawl which wrapped around the head then around the shoulder under the chin and then over the left shoulder ,it also had tassels around the edge ,she also wore her brothers old trousers and shirts

Comment by: Neil Cain on 25th January 2016 at 18:24

When you look at female mining deaths in the 19th century many girls died when their scarves got caught in the rollers

Comment by: Ellen on 25th January 2016 at 18:43

Quite beside the point,but I was watching Downton Abbey on PBS last night, and noticed that the kitchen staff were wearing caps like this.

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