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The North Coast Bal Maidens By Lynne Mayers
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This book gives glimpses into the life and work of the women and girls who worked at the mines on the north coast of Cornwall (between Portreath and Padstow). Female employment was widespread here,... More > with the earliest accounts coming from the late 18th century copper mines. It continued through until the early 20th century, with the last bal maidens working at the tin mines in St Agnes. This was a significant mining area with complex mineralogy, so bal maidens dressed lead, silver, zinc, iron and clay, as well as copper and tin. In addition to describing their work, there is an assessment of the numbers of bal maidens employed, and an overview of women and girls from key mining families. There are also accounts of a six year-old bal maiden who lived to be one hundred years old, and a Portreath ore dresser who helped in the discovery of copper in Australia, as well as the tragic story of the bal maiden who died in a boiler explosion, at United Hills Mine.< Less
Bal Maidens of the St Just Peninsula By Lynne Mayers
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The St Just Peninsula was one of the most important mining areas in Cornwall. In the 19th century it was second only to the Central Mining District in total copper and tin production, which also... More > reflected the number of women and girls employed at the mines there. This booklet gives glimpses of the lives of the bal maidens, from the late 18th century up until the second World War. Approximate numbers employed are given over time, as well as descriptions of their tasks and working environment. There is a dedicated chapter on the women and girls who worked at Levant Mine in the parish of St Just, and Ding Dong Mine on the boundary of the parishes of Madron and Gulval.< Less
A Dangerous Place to Work! By Lynne Mayers
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This book tells the story of the employment of women and children right across the mining industries of Devon and Cornwall, up until the second half of the 20th century. It includes their work at the... More > clay works, slate quarries, foundries, smelters, and gunpowder and explosives works, as well as at the mines.< Less
A Hazardous Occupation! By Lynne Mayers
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This book describes the work of women and girls in the gunpowder mills, safety fuse factories, high explosives and munitions works in Cornwall, between 1800 and 1920. It is estimated that at least... More > 2000 were probably employed during this time. Accidents are described which resulted in the death of more than thirty, and caused life-changing injuries to many others. Compared with the other mining industries of Cornwall, this level of female mortality was extremely high. The underlying causes of the accidents are examined in the light of varying management styles, effectiveness of employee training and the legislation of the day.< Less
Voices from the Dressing Floors By Lynne Mayers
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This new book collects together various first hand accounts and interviews with those who worked at the surface of the tin or copper mines of Cornwall. It includes the recollections of Samuel Drew... More > (philosopher), John Harris (poet) and Billy Bray (preacher). Also included are the reminiscences of those interviewed for the 1842 Royal Commission (surface captains as well as ore dressers), women who worked at the Camborne mines in the late 19th and early 20th centuries or at Polpuff Glass Mine during the First World War. There are also recollections from the Geevor washing floors in the Second World War. There is the moving account of bal maiden Patty Tremelling, taken from her journal written on her deathbed. Also included is a detailed account by an ex-slate dresser of the work at surface at Delabole Slate Quarry.< Less
The St Austell Bal Maidens By Lynne Mayers
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This book records the life and work of the women and girls who worked at the mines and clay works in the St Austell area, covering some ten parishes. The region has a mining history dating back to at... More > least the 16th Century, but the hey-day of female employment was the 19th century, when most were working at the copper mines. It was at this time that women and girls also began to be employed at the clay works. The differences in working conditions and employment practices between these industries are described. Mining went into decline from the mid 19th Century, while mechanisation removed the need for much of the manual labour at the clay works, so that the days of the bal maiden were inevitably numbered. They had all but disappeared by the turn of the 19th century, but not quite. A final chapter tells the stories of individual mine women of the area, including those who were recruited for work during World War One and World war Two.< Less
The Tamar Bal Maidens By Lynne Mayers
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This book records the life and work of the women and girls who worked at the mines, smelters and clay works in the Tamar area, covering some twenty five parishes. This region can claim one of the... More > longest written mining histories, with records of women at the 14th century lead smelters, and with still a few women working into the 20th century. The hey-day of female employment, however, was the 19th century, when most were working at the copper mines. In addition, there were bal maidens dressing ore at the lead-silver, manganese and tin mines, as well as at the extensive brick works and clay pits. When the copper lodes began to fail, and the copper mines in the area diversified into arsenic production, bal maidens were still there dressing the very product that had previously been regarded as waste. The last bal maidens seem to have finally laid down their hammers, shovels, and barrows by about 1910. But that wasn’t quite the end of the story...< Less
The Godolphin Bal Maidens By Lynne Mayers
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This book records the life and work of the women and girls who worked at the mines and clay works in the Godolphin area, covering the eight parishes of Breage, Crowan, Germoe, Helston, Marazion,... More > Perranuthnoe, St Hilary and Sithney. Although overshadowed by its more famous neighbour (the central mining district around Carn Brea) this area was the home of the first extensive deep mines, and also of the largest tin mine ever opened in Cornwall. As a result, it was probably the first to employ women and girls on the dressing floors in large numbers. While most were dressing tin, others were engaged in preparing copper, lead, soapstone or clay.< Less