Victorian Powys for primary  schools
Powys Digital History Project
Mining for coal in Victorian times
  Working down the mines - aged seven !

In the early years of the Victorian period many young boys had to work in the collieries in terrible conditions in order to earn enough to live.
In 1842 boys as young as seven years old worked in mines around Ystradgynlais and in many other parts of Britain. On the next page you can see what happened to an even younger child working in a local coal mine.


These children would spend up to ten hours underground every day, and they had to keep filling carts with coal dug out by the miners and then sort out the waste material to see that only the best coal was sent up to the surface.
The loaded carts then had to be dragged or pushed up long narrow tunnels to the main seam of the mine.

These children, like the miners they worked alongside, hardly ever saw the sun and were only able to rest on a Sunday. Their reward for all this toil was only a few pence a day. The work was also dangerous because there were no safety rules in those days and there were many serious injuries and deaths.

Victorian miner and child

Some of these were mentioned in the diaries kept by the local schools.
The dampness, coal dust and the hard work also ruined the health of many who worked in the mines.

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