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At the Coalface: My life as a miner's wife

Catherine Paton Black

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Biography: general, Memoirs, Prose: non-fiction

A gritty and nostalgic memoir from a Scottish miner's wife.

Growing up in a mining family, Cath's husband Doug promised his father he wouldn't follow in his dangerous footsteps. But after struggling with terrible poverty in 1970s Scotland, Doug decided a pit job would provide his wife and young family much needed security- despite extraordinary risks to life and limb.

Every day, Cath kissed her husband 'goodbye' not knowing if she'd see him again as he went to work at the coalface. And while her husband toiled deep below, the mother-of-five put her cooking and cleaning skills to use in the colliery canteen.

In good times and bad, the miner's wives pulled together as much as their men underground. Then Thatcher swept to power and suddenly loyalties were tested and a fight for survival of a different kind ensued. One for their very existence.

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