“Pit girl brow workers at work”, Wigan Junction Colliery, Abram, near Wigan, Lancashire, 1900 (COPY 1/445 f.31)
The Coal Mines Act was passed in 1842 as result of Lord Shaftesbury’s report into the employment of women and young children in coal mines. The law stopped all females and children under 18 years of age from underground working. From 1843 the act was extended so that all women had to stop working underground. For many mining families the loss of income from these working women was a disaster. However, the Mines Act did not forbid girls and women working on the surface on the mine and they became to be known in Lancashire as Pit Brow Lasses. They worked at various jobs ranging from loading wagons to sorting coal.