In section A the four sources provide us with economic information about the state of the coalfield during 1919-39.
In source A1 it tells us that ships started using oil instead of coal so not as much money was being made. It also tells us that coal was getting more difficult to get out and they couldn’t buy machinery because they weren’t making enough money. These are some of the reasons why the coal industry collapsed. During 1904 over 30% of the worlds coal exports were produced by Wales but it then dropped to 3% by 1929. Britain’s coal exports went down by two thirds between 1920 and 1921.by 19 35 nearly 50% of Merthyr’s population was unemployed. About 45% had no work in the eastern part of south Wales.
In source A2 it shows us that, during 1923 Wales provided 54,252 million tons but went down quite quickly and by 1934 Wales only produced 33,173 million tons. Its Exports were about the same change; it went from 35,768 million in 1923 to 19,673 million in 1934
Source A3 shows us that unemployment increased dramatically from 1923-1939. The amount of unemployment in 1923 was only about 25,000 and then increased rapidly by 1932 where the unemployment rate was about 150,000. It also shows us that 1932 was the year with the most amounts of unemployed people.
In source A4 it tells us that the Welsh population went down 0.3 millions, it went from 2.7 millions in 1924 down to 2.4 millions in 1939. This was due to a lot of the population moving away to places like Slough, Sussex and Australia looking for work.
I have chosen source A3 to comment on its reliability and usefulness. Source A3 tells us the rate of unemployment in Wales during 1923-39. Someone called ‘Margaret Davis,’ who was an author in ‘Wales in Maps’ it was wrote in 1951, wrote the source. This person made the source to let people know how bad unemployment was in Wales during 1923-39. The source would have been more useful if she included facts on what the unemployment was caused by. This source it quite reliable because it uses statistics, although, it is a secondary source so it may not be that reliable. The source shows us that from 1923-1932 the rate of unemployment increased dramatically due to the state of the coalfield. The source then shows us that from 1932-1939 the rate of unemployment decreased but is still nowhere near to the amount of unemployment in 1923. During 1923 unemployment was about 25 thousand and even though it decreased a lot from 1932 unemployment was still above 50 thousand in 1939!
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Section B provides us with 6 sources on the industrial problems.
The amount of pay for miners during the years 1919-1926 decreased rapidly. It went from £4/9/3 in 1919-1920 but in 1921 the pay dropped down by almost half of what they were earning before it went down to £2/13/6, by1926 they had halved the pay again and said the workers could work only 8 hours a day instead of a 10 or 12 hour shift, but the pay had gone down so low (£1/17/7) the workers said no! (B1)
During 1926 miners from all over Britain went on strike because the pay was too low, from 4th may 1926 there was a general strike where all the members of the trade union joined the strike. The difference between the miners and the TUC was that after 9 days of strike the TUC stopped because their nerve broke, whilst the miners carried on this strike for 6 months. (B2)
After the 6 months of strike miners had to go back because they had no money and no food, they were close to starvation, they only survived 6 months because of the soup kitchens, but the soup kitchens ran out of food and were left with only bread and bully beef. Families were left with no clothes or shoes and had nothing new at all. Children could not go to school because they had the funds to send their children there. (B3)
Blacklegs were unemployed miners that took over strikers’ jobs. A stay down strike was when they went into work and refused to come up at the end of the shift. (B4)
Villagers were split due to scabs and blacklegs; women with black legs as husbands would no longer sing in choirs with other women whose husbands were members of the ‘scab’ union and not the SWMF. People would dab point on enemy houses and damage property. (B5)
After the stay down strike at Fernhill the people involved were happy to be out and their families were happy to see them and proud of them. Everyone looks happy with him. The photo shows that the miners had family and friends who were happy to see them and proud of what they had done. (B6)
B1 is the source I have chosen to conclude. Source B1 tells us about the amount of pay the workers in the mines were getting and how it decreased from 1919-1926 it shows us that from 1920-1921 the pay dropped almost half the amount of what it was, and then form 1921-26 it dropped to half again. This source also shows us that when the pay went down in 1926 the workers refused to work for that amount of money and walked away from the job. This source was found in ‘Mid glam cc, Family on the Dole.’ This source was made to show people how much the workers were getting paid and how much the pay dropped between 1919-1926. This source is missing the reasons of why the pay dropped. I think that this source is a bit reliable because it uses statistics and years but it is a secondary source so it might not be that reliable. This source is reliable because in a source that I found ‘Life on the Dole’ written by ‘GJR Williams’ it states that the wages were cut in the early twenties and then again in 1926 which it also states in source B1.
Section C tells us about the effects of the depression years on coal miners and their families.
Source C1 tells us what a typical kind of family is like. The little son has hardly any clothes, only a thin jersey. The daughter has no shoes or stockings and shares a dress with her mum. The mother can’t go out until the daughter comes home from school so then the mother has a dress to wear. The farther hasn’t worked for six months and tramps down the narrow street of the valley town.
Source C2 shows us that the clothes that children wore were quite grubby and most of them had clothes that were too big for them, this might be because they were hand me downs from older relatives or friends. Also boys weren’t aloud to wear trousers; they had to wear shorts so they pulled their socks right up. They were quite willing to go out in clothes with holes in to play around. The girl in the picture seems more tidy and well looked after than the boys.
Source C3 shows us that the unemployed miner could spend more money on food and things than the unemployed family. Even though the employed families had less family members they still spent more on food, which means they were eating more healthy amounts so they were quite healthy.
In source C4 it tells us that if people were on benefit they could still do an odd job to earn some extra cash, but if the people found out they would find out how much he or she was getting paid and cut it from his benefit.
C5 tells us that there were quite a lot of diseases during 1939 such as TB (tuberculosis), diphtheria and scarlet fever which many people thought was caused by malnutrition, also because of poor housing conditions and lack of a healthy diet, due to lack of money.
Source C6 shows us that women were affected by the strike; it made more work for women at home doing housework with the husband and children there, and getting in the way. They were also constantly worrying about how they’ll cope with providing their family with essentials.
Source C7 is a newspaper article telling us about deaths and accidents of coal miners. It tells us that an unemployed man was killed in an Ystrad outcrop level, also another unemployed man was killed on the Tylertown tip which was also known as the death trap.
C7 is the source I will be evaluating this source tells us about the deaths of two young men, and where the deaths took place. Source C7 was in a newspaper article from the year 1936. This source was made to tell people in the year 1936 what was going on around them. The source has left out what happened after the accidents and how every one reacted. This source is reliable because it is a primary source so the person who wrote it was there at the time. Although it might not be because the newspapers often tell little lies to make interesting stories. This source is very useful in telling us the effects of the depression years on coal miners and their families, it tells us that it must be very hard for the coal miners families due to the deaths, it must have been hard for them to get over the deaths. It also tells us life was difficult for coal miners because it says one of them died looking for coal, so really they are putting their lives at risk so they can provide for their family.
Section D provides information on the good years/times.
Life couldn’t have been terrible non-stop for 20 years because there must have been some good times through it, it is common sense that it couldn’t of been terrible all the time, some people did have good jobs and good lives. (D1)
Source D2 shows us some items that were used by people in south Wales. There is a gas water boiler for washing which, made people getting their clothes clean a lot less hassle. An electric fire, which was much more easier than a coal fire, and gave instant heat out. If they were bored they could listen to a radio to hear the latest news or songs, also a vacuum cleaner so they didn’t have to clean up by hand these items made peoples lives much easier. (D2)
Education was improved rapidly in south Wales for all ages of children. The amount spent on primary schools rose by 44%. A fourth collage was opened in Swansea, also 37 new secondary schools opened in south Wales, due to this, the number of pupils rose by almost 80%. This meant that more children were getting a good education. (D3)
There wasn’t much entertainment around then so people would go to the cinema about two or three times a week, they had just brought out the ‘talkies’, which was movies with sound, which became very popular. (D4)
Three examples of how people enjoyed them selves was the ‘wireless’ which was a radio, families would sit and listen to the songs and news (D5)
D6 is a source that tells us about what life was like for one particular family, it tells us that the family were quite fortunate and could afford a small holiday once a year to Porthcawl, it also tells us what kind of entertainment there was during those days such as the cinema, snooker hall ect. Communication was not as good as it is these days; there were very few people who had telephones. Contact with the outside world was maintained through the local newspaper and a radio. (D6)
I am going to evaluate source D6! This source is about what life was like for the Welsh miners and their families. It tells us what holidays they had, what entertainment they had and what the media was like. William Thomas who actually worked in the mines during the 1930’s made the source, but he recorded these recollections in May 1986. The reason he made this source was to tell people what life was like for a Welsh miner and his family during the 1930’s. This source has not told us about what other families’ lives were like during that time it only tells us about his family. This source is not very useful because it doesn’t tell us what life was like for an average miners family during the 1930’s it only tells us about his family, which he says were one of the few fortunate families.
Having investigated a number of primary and secondary sources, I wish to conclude that life for miners and their families was a very unhappy life. Even though they did have some good things such as cinemas and snooker clubs their over all life wasn’t very good. I have arrived at this conclusion because most of the sources are saying about how bad life was for miners and that the miners and their families had to go though loads, they hardly had any clothes and some families had to share clothes. Also there was an increase in unemployment so families found it even harder to cope. There was also the strike, which caused families to lose alot money, and they had to eat at soup kitchens. Children didn’t have a good education or any new things. The sources I have found most useful in arriving at my conclusion were C2 the photo showed how children dressed and that the boys had to wear shorts and they weren’t aloud to wear trousers until they were older. And C7, which told me about the dangers of being a miner and that there were a lot of deaths and the families went through devastation. Therefore I think that life for Welsh miners and their families was difficult.