The Coal Queen pageant was a tradition that ran until the 1980s within mining communities. Coal Queens could be the wife, sister or daughter of pit workers and would be crowned each year at local miners’ picnics or carnivals. The competition added a touch of glamour and femininity to the heavy, dirty and gritty nature of their work.
source: Vintage News Daily
Below is an image of a Notts Miners Coal Queen. Here is the Coal Queen of 1975, with a group of Miners.
Source: Mansfield Chad / Read more here
Another Coal Queen picture here, from BBC’s Notts Mining Heritage in Pictures.
Pictured below, at Sherwood Colliery in 1982: Sue Brown as National Coal Queen Champion.
Pictured here, Notts Coal Queen visits Bilsthorpe Colliery.
As you can see, the pageant was an annual event and became very popular within mining communities. This wonderful photograph from the early 1960s, shows the event in its earlier form.
Additionally there was Fashion Shows and the Coal Queen Competition. This competition was where the ‘Nottinghamshire Miners’ Coal Queen’ was chosen from all the individual colliery Queens.
The judges for the competition in 1962 were Gwynneth Tighe, Joan Chapmen (Women’s Editor of the Daily Herald Newspaper, and Jack Burkitt – Nottingham Forest F.C.
Source: Our Mansfield & Area
(Edit: Added context, from a comment on our Facebook page)
The Coal Queens contest had mixed reviews, as many felt the contest was sexist. For example, Blidworth NUM approved a resolution to abolish the Notts Miners Coal Queen. The Motion had a lot of opposition, but was approved by Notts NUM and the competition became history.
Were you a Coal Queen? Did you have any family and friends that won one year? Feel free to share stories or pics in the comments.
Or if you have many stories to tell and/or pics to share, drop us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org