Midlothian’s 100 Objects - Pithead baths towel and soap

Pithead baths soap and towel. Photo: National Mining Museum Scotland
Pithead baths soap and towel. Photo: National Mining Museum Scotland

There are no pithead paths left to be seen in Midlothian now, but when they were widely introduced they made a huge difference to the lives of miners and their families as men no longer came home wet and filthy from an underground shift.

Despite the fact that the 1911 Coal Mines Act stated that the owners of mines had to provide pithead baths if a majority of two thirds of the workers wanted them, the baths were very slow to appear.

One reason is that the miners had to pay a proportion of their wages each week towards the baths.

After 1947, the National Coal Board built pithead baths in every mine. Photo: National Mining Museum Scotland

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