Women: As Workers (II)

As illustrated by this insightful source, you can see the many different roles women had within the mining community. In the 20th century, women still had several working roles in the mining industry, from office work, to canteen staff and even medics.

Here below, are some local pics shared by Mining Heritage 

(We do not own these images, but would like to share them and sign post you to this very informative site! sources provided.) 

The images below show two women workers from Mansfield. As you can see, women have long since played a key role in the mining community, especially within Nottinghamshire.

Source: Coal Authority / Read more here 

Roles of office workers included data entry and admin duties, this photograph is from Berry Hill Computer Centre, Mansfield in the 1960s.

Source: Mansfield Chad / Read more here
(EDIT: Identified via Facebook, the Nurse is Janet Seston)

Roles of Pit Nurses included tending to injured miners and being on hand in the community, as Sisters and Medics would often step in to treat families of miners in the town/village. Many of our team recall stories of either themselves or family visiting the medic room.  The picture above is from a Mansfield Colliery in the 1980s.


In fact, there has recently been a book published by a Yorkshire Pit Nurse, as she recalls her time at the Coal Face. Joan Hart spent 14 years as the Sister for Hatfield Colliery. She was responsible for the well-being of 2,000 men. Joan speaks freely about the challenges of being a Nurse in a male environment and shares many stories from her time at the pit.

She wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty and the sight of “Sister Hart” dressed in a boiler suit, pit boots, hard hat, and headlamp, became a familiar one to the miners.

Read more about Joan Hart and her book, here!

Joan Hart in her overalls and headlamp

[Joan Hart in her overalls and headlamp
source: The Yorkshire Post]

Pictured: A group of Thoresby Colliery Canteen Workers 

Image credit: Edwinstowe Historical Society

Do you remember visiting the Pit Nurse? Any funny stories to share? Do you recall any women from your family or community that worked at a local colliery? We would love to hear from you. 

If you have any stories or photographs to share, feel free to email us at: nottswomenandmining@outlook.com
By emailing us, you are consenting for your photographs and stories to be archived by our team for research purposes. 

Categories: News.


  1. Jed Thomas

    I remember at Bilsthorpe ‘Sister’ as we called her collared me and the apprentice for a ‘Well man check’.
    I’d just picked up two bacon cobs for us from the canteen.
    She took blood pressure, weight, height etc. Gave short lecture on healthy eating (no bacon cobs!) and then glared at the bag I’d put on top of her filing cabinet.
    “What’s in there?” (She knew of course!)
    Procky (the apprentice looked at me sheepishly).
    “Bacon cobs for Big Dave” I says.
    Our boss, he was 26 stone plus.
    “What!!!” She says. “I can’t get him in here for the Well man check, he shouldn’t be having those!”
    “Leave it with me” I says!

  2. Jed Thomas

    Just to finish the story, back on the Survey Office at Bilsthorpe we were tucking into our Bacon cobs and I told Big Dave we’d seen Sister for the Well man check and passed with flying colours.
    “She didn’t see the Bacon cobs then” says Big Dave.
    “Yes she did but I told her they were yours!” I says.
    Big Dave’s reply not printable…

  3. Ann Donlan

    A brilliant story Jed. Having a laugh and lots of humour and leg pulling a very important safety valve for many coal miners; it was a dangerous job.