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Working Conditions
photograph of mine rescue team (Falkirk Museums and SCRAN)

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Many improvements took place between the 1830s and 1930s.

One of the most important changes was the Report of the Children's Employment Commission that led to the passing of the Mines Act of 1842. This stopped the employment of women and boys under the age of ten underground. Over the next hundred years further improvements to the age of employment were made in an attempt to make mining a safer occupation.

Developments in technology also led to improvements in safety and efficiency. The miner's safety lamp (Davy Lamp) allowed miners to detect gas earlier and reduced the risk of explosions. Coal cutting machinery helped to raise production, while Watt's steam pump reduced the risk of flooding.

Housing and living conditions also improved as piped water supplies were introduced.

There are two sources in this section.

Source 5A
Report - County Medical Officer for Lanarkshire
Click to view Soruce 5A
Source 5A is part of a report by the County Medical Officer for Lanarkshire. The report is from 1892.


  1. How had houses in Lanarkshire been improved to prevent dampness?

  2. What improvements did the Medical Officer think were still necessary?
Source 5B
Photo - Stirlingshire living room
Click to view Source 5B
Source 5B is a photograph of the living room of a four-room house at Westquarter, Stirlingshire. It was taken in 1936.

Click to enlarge the image, then answer the following questions.


  1. Describe the inside of this miner's house.

  2. In what ways does Source 5B differ from Source 4A?
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