"Our Rose gives a little squeal as she spots him lathering down in the pit baths."

Bathing at home
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumBathing at home - Credit: Pete C
Pithead baths were unknown before the 1930s; before that men would go home blackened by their work and wash in a tin bath in front of the fire, with their wives washing their backs with the smelly carbolic soap. The first pit baths were provided by subscription from the men themselves - before nationalisation in 1947 the mine owners refused to go to the expense of baths. Some mines did not have baths until the 1950s, and even then a few workers chose to continue the practice of travelling home dirty to wash in private.
At the pithead baths
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumAt the pithead baths - Credit: Pete C
The baths were a largely public affair; though there were a few single cubicles (and deputies and officials had their own separate showers) most bathing was done as a group and involved a certain amount of teamwork, with the men helping to wash each other's backs. Some miners insisted on leaving a thin streak of coaldust down the spinal area because of an old myth that washing weakened the spine.