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Coal Queens

15th January - 10th April 2011

The little-known world of the coal queen was showcased throughout this exhibition. Using photographs, oral history interviews, period clothing and accessories the exhibition revealed a more glamorous side to mining communities.

Starting at a small, local colliery level, the coal queen competitions grew in popularity and size.  Between 1969 and 1983 a National Coal Queen was chosen.  The national winner won a wide range of prizes, and represented the National Coal Board for the year at events such as the Ideal Home Show.

“I knew then that I would have to support the Coal Board, and do some promotion work, which was fantastic because I’d never done anything like that before. And so I started up and down the country, doing little jobs for the Coal Board, which strengthened my ability to promote the coal industry, and also gave me more confidence” Margaret Dominiak, Yorkshire & National Coal Queen, 1972.

The coal queen competition gave new opportunities to girls and women from ordinary mining families.  In this exhibition we discover their stories and share their memories. “Because I’d won something I felt that I’d really achieved something … it made me feel a better person.” Lynn Derricott, Creswell Colliery Coal Queen, 1966 & 1967.

'Coal Queens' was a touring exhibition from the National Coalmining Museum for England.

Image Credit: Kevin Gibson Photography