Donald Hindson, General Manager of the National Coal Board once commented that it was rather unusual to associate a queen with coal, but “as there have been coal barons and King Cole, why not a coal queen?”
The Coal Queen pageant was a tradition that ran until the 1980s within mining communities. Coal Queens could be the wife, sister or daughter of pit workers and would be crowned each year at local miners’ picnics or carnivals. The competition added a touch of glamour and femininity to the heavy, dirty and gritty nature of their work.
This set explores the tradition and history of Coal Queens, their place in the local community and the fashion of the times in which the competition took place.
These photographs are from the collections held by Northumberland Archives. Feel free to share them within the spirit of the Commons.
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