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Bath Night

Unite’s Joy Johnson recalls the miner’s life and reminds us of the dangers of dust
Joy Johnson, Unite political department, Friday, July 5th, 2019

Two up two down. Back to back.

The tin bath hanging on a nail next to the privy.

Sheets strung from gate to gate

flapping in the alley.


Shoulders hunched against wind and rain.

Heads down under oppressive skies.

Pit boots tramp the pit path.

Every contour carved on a consciousness

consequence of time’s relentlessness.


Oil lamps glow like fireflies caught up

in the tangled web of steel and iron.

Sons follow fathers criss-crossing girders

to the gantry’s cage descending into sunken shafts.


From the Tyne to the North Sea

a quarter of a million men worked in pits

that never stopped  shovelling coal;

taking pick axes to veins

powering wealth for owners.


Bath night.   Heat rising.  Pictures on windows.

Skin crusted coal dust pitted the pitman’s back.

Washed clean. Lurking silent and unseen

deadly dust invading the lung.



If you may have been affected by exposure to asbestos find out more from Unite’s legal team

If you have been exposed to diesel fumes find out more here

If you have been exposed to silica find out more here

If you have been exposed to a cabin fume event find out more here



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