"There used to be 19 working men's social clubs and 26 fish and chip shops in Ashington, Northumberland."

All of the stories in this collection are set in and around the author's real childhood home of Ashington.

Ashington owed its existence to the coal mines, and was once said to be "the world's largest mining village". Sadly, not one deep mine now operates anywhere in the North East.

The father in these stories, like the majority of men in the community, works as a miner in one of the local pits, as does Rose's boyfriend, Vince. The reason for the large number of working men's clubs is that after a week's work down the mine most would slake their thirst heavily in the clubs that sold their members cheap beer. (See also bookmark p.149 on the drinking culture.)

The pictures below illustrate the conditions for men working underground at about this time.

Miners1
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumMiners1 - Credit: Pete C

 

Miners2
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumMiners2 - Credit: Pete C

 

Miners
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumMiners - Credit: Pete C

 

Mining coal
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumMining coal - Credit: Pete C
Miner 1
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumMiner 1 - Credit: Pete C

 

Miner2
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumMiner2 - Credit: Pete C