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Miners underground in 1890's Bedlington

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As in the picture,these men aren't strictly "underground"!.....they are shaft-sinkers,in the process of putting the shaft down to the first available and commercially-viable coal seam.

The two men at the right upper part of the pic are drilling a shot-hole,using a ratchet handled drill operated by one man on the left of the drill,while his Marra is holding the top of the drilling "machine"[!],to steady it and keep it vertical...no electric or compressed-air drillers here!...just bloody slavery!

At the centre right top,another two miners are watching,with their hands loosely holding onto their "machine".....machine!!!!!

In the foreground,one man is holding a steel spike,whilst the three others are synchronically hammering it into the ground,using what I judge to be seven-pound "Mels"..[the most used one in our time were 5-pound mels,with a seven-pound,and a  forteen-pound mel,to use for braying in straight steel girder legs at each end of a horizontal roof girder.]

Hard,bloody,HARD work!!

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Forgot to add,due to very slow,painfully slow exposures in those days,these men had to keep this pose for maybe a few minutes!!!!...holding a heavy mel in the air like that!!

Correct me if I am wrong on that point!!

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