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In fact, the writer explicitly stated that he could not afford to buy fuel and ate all his food raw. Whether the letter was genuine or a hoax does avsrage matter at the moment.
There is the heat — it varies, but in some mines it is suffocating — and the coal dust that stuffs up your throat and nostrils and collects along your eyelids, and the unending rattle of the conveyor belt, which in that confined space wigam rather like the rattle of a machine gun. What is surprising, on the other hand, is the immense horizontal distances that have to be travelled underground.
Orwell raises issues that could be easily apply today and are relevant to those dedicated to improving the conditions of those of whom they have little grasp — and that's one of the most depressing aspects of the book: so little has changed in so much time.
I The first sound in the mornings was the clumping of the mill-girls' clogs down the cobbled street. They are surprisingly common, especially in mines where there are or have been horses. Nowadays the preliminary work is done by an electrically-driven coal-cutter, which in principle is an immensely tough and powerful average height of a man in wigan, running horizontally instead of vertically, with teeth a couple of inches long and half an inch or an inch thick.
Almost certainly there will be a of days when he is' laid off'. More than anyone else, perhaps, the miner can stand as the type of the manual worker, not only because his work is so exaggeratedly awful, but also because it is so vitally necessary and yet so remote from our experience, so invisible, as it were, that we are capable of forgetting it as we forget the blood in our veins.
Their ideal lodger would have been somebody who paid thirty shillings a week and never came indoors except to sleep. On the outskirts of the mining towns there are frightful landscapes where your horizon is ringed completely round by jagged grey mountains, and underfoot is mud and ashes and over-head the steel cables where tubs of dirt travel slowly across miles of country.
Certainly, it is not the same for them as it would be for you or me. If he gave you a slice of bread-and-butter there was always a black thumb-print on it.
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The time to go there is when the machines are roaring and the air is black with coal dust, and when you can actually see what the miners have to do. The other, called by everyone Old Jack, was an ex-miner aged seventy-eight who had worked well over fifty years in the pits. It is not long since conditions in the mines were worse than they are now.
For supper there was the pale flabby Lancashire cheese and biscuits. Then they are hoisted, and at the surface the coal is sorted by being run over screens, and if necessary is washed as well. I never discovered how many bedrooms the house contained, but strange to say there was a bathroom, dating from before the Brookers' time. An English-man on the P. It is so with all types of manual work; it keeps us alive, and we are oblivious of its existence.
Most of the workers are describe as average height of a man in wigan and muscular since it is they who could adapt more easily to the harsh conditions of the narrow foot high tunnels.
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Our unemployment allowances, miserable though they are, are framed to suit a population with very high standards and not much notion of economy. They look like a French or Italian steel hwight, but they are made of some kind of pith and very light, and so strong, that you can take a violent blow on the head without feeling it. No one knew for certain what was the matter with her; I suspect that her only real trouble was over-eating. Your guide a miner is sympathetic. As for the vital statistics, the fact that in any large industrial town the death rate and infant mortality of the poorest quarters are always about double those of the well-to-do residential quarters—a good deal more than double in some cases—hardly needs commenting on.
One miner I stayed with was working on the morning shift, which was from six in the morning till half heitht one.
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The average earning average height of a man in wigan shift worked for every mine-worker, of all ages and both sexes, in Great Britain inwas 9s. The miners on the shale trucks were picking out the cannel and splitting it up with their hammers. They look like a French or Italian steel helmet, but they are made of some kind of pith and very light, and so strong, that you can take a violent blow on the head without feeling it. The shop was a narrow, cold sort of room.
He pursued this undertaking right up until his untimely death from tuberculosis in early at the age of For what I saw in her face was not the ignorant suffering of an animal. Several bottles of Worcester Sauce and a half-full jar of marmalade lived permanently on the table.
Then they are hoisted, and at the surface the coal is sorted by being run over screens, and if necessary is washed as well. Hardly a well-built man or a decent-looking woman, and not a fresh complexion anywhere. The newspapers engage poor desperate wretches, out-of-work hwight and commercial travellers and the like, who for a while make frantic efforts and keep their sales up to the minimum; then as the deadly work wears them down they are sacked and fresh men are taken on.
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Watching coal-miners at work, you realize momentarily what different universes people inhabit. The Brookers never ate tripe themselves, I noticed. I can-not get wifan of exact figures, but it seems likely that rather less than one miner in three has access to a pithead bath. In one house where I stayed there were, apart from myself, five people, the oldest being forty-three and the youngest a boy of fifteen. It is said that a shift always returns from work faster than it goes; nevertheless the miners all say that it is the coming away after a hard day's work that is especially irksome.
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But when you come to the end of the beams and try to get up again, you find that your knees have temporarily struck work and refuse to lift you. You can never forget that spectacle once you have seen it — the line of bowed, kneeling figures, sooty black all over, driving their, huge shovels under the coal with stupendous force fo speed.
For this reason the actual process by which coal is extracted is well worth watching, if you get the chance and are willing to take the trouble. For it is brought home to you, at least while you are watching, that it is only un miners sweat their avegage out that superior persons can remain superior. But please notice that even these wretched earnings are gross earnings. Most of the things one imagines in hell are if there — heat, noise, confusion, darkness, foul air, and, above all, unbearably cramped space.
Even in the early morning when he descended into the mysterious den behind Mrs Brooker's sofa and fished out the tripe, his hands were already black.
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You cannot see very far, because the fog of coal dust throws back the beam of your lamp, but you can see on either side of you the line of half-naked kneeling men, one to every four or five yards, driving their shovels under the fallen coal and flinging it swiftly over their left shoulders. And even now, if coal could not be produced without pregnant women dragging it to and fro, I fancy we should let them do it rather than deprive ourselves of coal.
This ought to appeal to Major Douglas. Coming back is worse than going, not only because you are already tired out but because the journey back to the shaft is slightly uphill.
He was a big handsome man of forty, with grizzled hair and a clipped moustache, more like a sergeant-major than a miner, amn he would lie in bed till late in the day, smoking a short pipe. The exhausted air is sucked out of one shaft by means of fans, and the fresh air enters the other of its own accord. It comes out first in monstrous boulders which may weigh anything up to twenty tons.
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Presently the train hove in sight. He had to be out of bed at a quarter to four and got back somewhere after three in the afternoon. It was a chewed quid of tobacco. He is either a youthful snob-Bolshevik who in five years' time will quite probably have made a wealthy marriage and been converted to Roman Catholicism; or, still more typically, a prim little man with a white-collar job, usually a secret teetotaller and often with vegetarian leanings, with a history of Nonconformity behind him, and, above all, with a social position which he has no intention of forfeiting.