A History of the Ministry of Information, 1939-46


PART II: The Scottish Mining Population

1. The General Characteristics of the Sample

The method of selecting the sample was described in the preceding section, together with the areas and districts visited in the course of the inquiry. Before proceeding to the analysis of the survey data, however, it is important to know the age composition, the marital status and the distribution of the sample among various other categories. It is with these general characteristics of the sample material that the present section is concerned.


Age Groups

The proportion in each of the selected age-groups was as follows:-

Scottish Miners and Housewives: Age Composition of Sample

Age Group Miners Housewives
No. % No. %
Under 20 93 5 12 1
20-29 316 19 269 19
30-39 470 27 438 30
40-49 470 27 438 30
50-59 271 16 264 18
60-69 153 9 117 8
70 and over 16 1 17 1
No answer - - 6 -

There is a general correspondence between the proportion of miners and housewives in each of the age-groups, except for the youngest group (those under twenty years of age). The discrepancy here is probably due to the fact that all miners in each household visited were interviewed, so that the figures consequently include a number of young, unmarried miners living with their parents or other relatives. Women, however, were not interviewed unless they were housewives. This is confirmed by the figures showing the marital status of the sample. Of the men, 20% were unmarried, whereas only 3% of the women were single:

Scottish Miners and Housewives; Marital Status

Miners Housewives
No. % No. %
Married or widowed 1,350 79 1,395 96
Single 351 20 47 3
No Answer 12 1 9 1

Analysis of marital status by age showed that, while in the age-group 20-29 only half the miners were married, and in the age-group 30-39 only 86% were married, after 40 years of age almost all miners were married.

Scottish Miners and Housewives: Marital Status
Analysed by Age

Age Groups Single Married
Housewives Miners Housewives Miners
No. % No. % No. % No. %
Under 20 - - - - -
20-29 5 50 95 50
30-39 2 13 97 86
40-49 2 6 98 93
50-59 2 4 97 94
60-69 3 3 97 97
70 and over - - - -

The housewife of course, was not interviewed unless there were some male in her household who was in the mining industry. An examination of the figures showed that 86% of the housewives had their husbands in the mines, 9% their sons, 2% their fathers and 3% other people.

Age Groups by Region

The age composition of the sample was analysed by region, as follows:

Scottish Miners: Age Composition of Sample, by Region

Age Group Fife, Clackmannan Lothian Central Ayr
No. % No. % No. % No. %
Under 20 5 5 6 6
20-29 17 16 21 20
30-39 24 32 29 27
40-49 25 22 21 23
50-59 15 17 18 14
60-69 11 8 5 9
70 and over 2 - - - - 1
SAMPLE ALL MINERS: 662 100 310 100 415 100 326 100

Scottish Housewives: Age Composition of Sample, by Region

Age Group Fife, Clackmannan Lothian Central Ayr
No. % No. % No. % No. %
Under 20 1 1 2 1
20-29 18 20 20 17
30-39 28 35 30 31
40-49 22 22 21 25
50-59 20 14 20 16
60-69 10 6 7 7
70 and over 1 2 1 2
No Answer - - 1 1
SAMPLE ALL HOUSEWIVES 558 100 280 100 357 100 256 100

Geographical Distribution

Almost 40% of the sample was living in Fife and Clackmannan, about 20% in Lothian, 25% in the Central coalfield and 20% in Ayr. The actual figures were as follows:

Scottish Miners and Housewives: Regional Distribution

Miners Housewives
No. % No. %
Fife, Clackmannan 662 39 558 38
Lothian 310 18 280 19
Central 415 24 357 25
Ayr 326 19 256 18

It will be seen that, for each area, the proportions for housewives are almost identical with those for the miners. A similar identity is found in the figures for distribution by town:

Scottish Miners and Housewives: Distribution by Town

Miners Housewives
No. % No. %
Alloa 91 5 76 5
Cowdenbeath 142 8 112 8
Lochgelly 168 10 142 10
Wemyss 142 8 117 8
Stirling 119 7 111 8
Dalkeith 155 9 139 9
MusseIburgh 155 9 141 10
Larkhall 46 3 41 3
Hamilton 131 8 130 10
Shotts 151 9 113 8
Bathgate 87 5 73 5
Ayr 112 7 83 6
Cumnock 87 5 81 5
Delmellington 127 7 92 6

In view of the industrial and town planning purposes which the inquiry was intended to serve, it was necessary to have some knowledge of the industrial and employment structure of the areas visited. The sample was consequently subdivided according to expanding and declining coal-mining areas, and mixed industrial or dominantly mining areas. Two approaches were adopted to the latter problem, the sample being divided first between mixed and mining communities, and secondly according to the proportion of miners in the area. Sixty-one per cent of the miners interviewed lived in an expanding mining area, and 39% in declining areas. The housewives’ sample was divided almost identically. Dividing by mixed or mining community, the proportions were as follows:

Scottish Miners and Housewives: Mixed and mining Areas

Miners Housewives
No. % No. %
Mixed Community 670 39 612 42
Mining Community 1,043 61 839 58

Dividing again by the proportion of miners in the area, it will be seen that about one-half of the sample was taken from areas over 50% of whose industrial population was in the mining industry. A quarter came from areas with from 25% to 50% in mining, and the remainder from areas with under 25%

Scottish Miners and Housewives: Proportion sample according to % of Industrial Population in Mining

Proportion of Miners in Industrial Population Miners Housewives
No. % No. %
Up to 25% 453 26 400 27
25%-50% 430 26 372 26
Over 50% 830 49 679 47

2. The Miner and his Work

It is clearly of importance that those who are concerned with the planning of the Scottish Mining areas should be able to foresee, with some certainty, the probable reactions to their proposals. The central problem which faces planners in Central Scotland is that of transferring miners from the areas of declining to areas of expanding coal production; and, since it is unlikely that compulsory powers will be employed to accomplish this transfer, the degree to which the movement of labour will be adequate will depend upon individual decisions by the miners themselves. It may be that real or imagined economic compulsion will force the miner to move to places where he can continue in his present occupation. Insofar as mining is, or is considered to be, a specialised occupation which in some degree prevents adaptation to the needs of a new occupation, the industry would be assured of its existing labour force since the miner would have no alternative but to follow the industry. On the other hand, it may be that mining is not incompatible with experience in other occupations, and that many miners may already have been in other industries before they entered mining. If then their dislike of migration is strong, their attachment to mining weak, and their hopes of other employment in the same area optimistic, a large voluntary movement of the mining population is unlikely. It is more likely if in the mining community, geographical mobility is already common, and if it is unusual for miners to change their occupation. The inquiry therefore collected some information on the past geographical and occupational mobility of miners and their wives.

11 12

Place of Birth Related to Place of Residence

If it is true that the mining industry in the past had necessitated considerable geographical mobility by those seeking employment in it, a wide difference between the miner’s place of birth and his present home would be expected. The results of the present inquiry, however, suggest that such mobility has been the exception rather than the rule.

It must be remembered, however, that the sample is only of those workers who have remained in the mining industry - there is no record of those who have already moved out of Scottish mining into some other coalfield, or into some other industry. It may be assumed that the most mobile workers will already have moved out of the declining areas to another occupation or coalfield. Those who remained, and were consequently subject to the inquiry, would perhaps be those who were not sufficiently enterprising to migrate, or who were prevented from doing so by some strong social or economic pressure.

Of the whole miners’ sample, 64% were, at the time of the inquiry, living within 5 miles of the town where they were born, and an additional 15% were living within 20 miles of it. Thirteen per cent came from other towns or villages in Scotland, and the remainder from Edinburgh and Glasgow, England and other countries. A similar tendency was found in the housewives' sample, of whom 57% were living within 5 miles of the town where their parents were living. An additional 17% lived within 20 miles of their parents, while 16% came from other towns or villages in Scotland. Slightly more housewives than miners came from Edinburgh and Glasgow, and on the whole the housewives appear to have been slightly more mobile than the miners. Nevertheless, while only a minority of both samples have moved about 20 miles to their present place of residence, it is quite a considerable group, constituting 20% of the miners and 25% of the housewives.

In most social groups, the number of individuals who voluntarily choose to migrate is small, for it usually implies special psychological characteristics, such as ease of adjustment to a new environment, and the absence of a strong feeling of local group loyalty. In ordinary circumstances, therefore, a proportion of 20-25% who have shown themselves willing to move may be thought fairly high - although it cannot, of course, be assumed that the same proportion will be willing to move in the future as moved in the past.

There were, however, marked regional differences. It was more common in the Central (69%) and Ayrshire (74%) coalfields than in Fife and Clackmannan (58%) and Lothian (60%) for miners to be living five miles of their birthplace. There was less difference between regions in the proportion of those who were living within 20 miles of their birthplace, except in the case of Lothian, where it was considerably less common than elsewhere. Migration to other towns or villages in Scotland more than 20 miles from the birthplace was much more common in Fife and Clackmannan (18%) and Lothian (20%) than in the Central (3%) and Ayrshire (7%) coalfields. For places more distant from the birthplace, there was little regional difference:

Scottish Miners: Place of Birth related to place of Residence, by region

Place of Birth Fife, Clackmannan Lothian Central Ayr
No. % No. % No. % No. %
Town where living within 5 miles 58 60 69 74
Town or village within 20 miles of where living 16 9 18 14
Other towns or villages in Scotland 18 20 3 7
England 2 2 1 2
Edinburgh or Glasgow 3 5 3 1
Abroad 2 2 5 1
No Answer - 1 1 1
SAMPLE ALL MINERS: 662 100 310 100 415 100 326 100

But an examination of the deviation between the place of birth and the present place of residence may well conceal a considerable amount of mobility in the intervening years. The inquiry also, therefore, recorded as far as possible for each miner his geographical mobility throughout his working life.

Miners’ Mobility Pattern

After recording each town in which the miners had worked, it was found that 40% of the sample had worked in only one town, with an additional 31% who had always worked within twenty miles of one town. The remainder of the sample showed somewhat greater geographical mobility, 8% having been to another part of Scotland, and 11 % to England, the United States and other places. Analysis of the sample by age-groups, however, revealed a general increase in mobility with age or, rather, that those who are older had a greater history of mobility. The results are shown in the following table:

Scottish Miners: Mobility Pattern by Age

Towns in which miners had worked Under 20 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-59 60-69 70 & over
% % % % % % %
One town only - 54 40 36 25 26 -
Within 20 miles of one town - 33 38 24 26 36 -
Within 20 miles of one town, away - 57 78 60 51 62 -
And back from first job town - 3 5 5 3 1 -
To another part of Scotland - 3 8 9 9 12 -
To another part of Scotland, away and back from first job town - 1 2 1 1 1 -
To another place: England, U.S., etc. - 3 5 15 25 19 -
To another place: England, U.S., etc., away and back to first Job town - 3 2 9 11 4 -
No Answer - - - 1 - 1 -
- 100 100 100 100 100 -

From these figures it is clear that a much larger proportion of those under thirty years of age had worked in one town only, than those over thirty. A similar, if less marked, trend is discernable in the short-distance migration not exceeding 20 miles from the home town. Long-distance migration, also to other parts of Scotland, to England, the U.S., and elsewhere, was far more common among older age-groups than the younger. Several factors probably combined to produce this effect: (i) the older the individual, the greater the likelihood that he has been exposed to the possibility, or necessity, of migration; (ii) migrants who return to their home country and so enter the scope of this inquiry tend, by that time, to have entered the older age-groups; (iii) the older age-groups comprise those who suffered the widespread mining unemployment of the inter-war years, and many of these might therefore be expected to have migrated in search of work elsewhere; (iv) the limitations on freedom of movement imposed by the war have no doubt restricted migration by the younger age-groups. Theoretically and traditionally, it is to be expected that willingness to move would be more common among the young people than among the old; and these results in themselves cannot be said to have shown such an expectation to be unjustified. *

[2] However, see below, Part 5, pp.52-71, where the evidence indicates that it is the young and the unmarried miners who are least willing to move to another part of Scotland while remaining in mining.

13 14 15

Expanding and Declining Areas

Turning from the influence on mobility of the individual factor of age to broader social factors, a number of significant tendencies come to light. One of the most striking differences was in the degree of past mobility among miners from expanding and from declining areas. The following diagram illustrates this:

Expanding Area

Declining Area

To another part of Scotland, away and back from first job town

Within 20 miles of one town, away and back from first job town.

To other places, England, U.S., away and back from first job town.

To another part of Scotland.

To other places, England, U.S.

Within 20 miles of one town.

One town only

DIAGRAM 1 Scottish Miners: Mobility Pattern by Expanding and Declining Areas

In both types of area, most had worked in one town only, but the figure for the declining areas (48%) is considerably in excess of that for the expanding areas (35%). The proportions for those who had always worked within 20 miles of a single town were almost equal in both areas. Adding these two categories, we find that 66% of the expanding area sample, and 77% of the declining area sample, had either not moved at all, or not above 20 miles. Long-distance migration within, and outside Scotland was significantly greater in the expanding areas than in the declining areas.

Before attempting to account for these differences, it will be useful to examine the miners’ mobility pattern after analysis by the four main coal-mining areas:

Scottish Miners: Mobility Pattern by county

Fife, Clackmannan Lothian Central Ayr
No. % No. % No. % No. %
One town only 33 33 44 58
Within 20 miles of one town 34 28 31 26
Within 20 miles of one town, away and back from first job town 4 6 3 3
To another part of Scotland 12 8 5 3
To another part of Scotland, away and back from first job town - 1 2 1
To other Places, England, U.S., etc 12 16 11 4
To other places, England, U.S., etc. away and back from first job town 5 8 4 4
SAMPLE ALL MINERS 662 100 310 100 415 100 326 100

From this it appears that mobility has been much greater in Fife and Lothian, than in the Central and Ayrshire coalfields. In the two latter, migration appears to have been particularly infrequent, with 84% and 75% respectively having always worked in a single town, or within 20 miles of it. In Fife and Clackmannan, and in Lothian, the percentage is 67% and 61% respectively. It is probable that these regional differences are explained by a certain amount of past migration from the declining to the expanding areas. This movement would, to a large extent, be identical with a movement to the Fife and Lothian coalfields, where the greater proportion of miners with a history of migration was found. Those remaining in the declining areas would to a large extent be the less mobile section of the population. The more mobile would already have migrated to Fifeshire and elsewhere, when they would appear in this inquiry as miners with a history of geographical mobility.

Some additional factors which may have influenced geographical and has often declining areas are: (i) that mining in these areas has often begun to decline markedly only in comparatively recent years, so that with the exception of the years of unemployment during the industrial depression, migration may not have been economically necessary for all miners; (ii) those miners who did become permanently unemployed in the declining areas may have found the cost of moving and re-settlement too great; (iii) the declining areas, which are also the dominantly mining area, may have provided little stimulus or social approval in favour of migration or a change of occupation. *

It appeared possible that migration would have been less frequent among miners from mixed industrial areas (where alternative employment would more often be available locally) than amongst those from the dominantly mining areas. The results of the inquiry, however, do not bear out this supposition:

Scottish Miners: Mobility Pattern by Mixed and Mining Communities

Mixed Communities Mining Communities
No. % No. %
One Town only 35 43
Within 20 miles of one town 30 31
Ditto, away and back from first job town 5 3
To another part of Scotland 8 7
Ditto, away and back from first job town 2 1
To other places, England, U.S., etc. 12 11
Ditto, away and back from first job town 7 4
No Answer 1 -
Samples All Miners: 670 100 1,043 100

Except for those who have worked in one town only (Mixed communities, 35%, mining communities 43%) there is no significant difference in mobility pattern for the two types of community. An analysis by the proportion of miners in the area also showed little significant difference.

Apart from age, only two analyses, then, provided any insight into the frequency of mobility - the analysis by expanding and declining areas, and the analysis by county. Mobility has been more common in the expanding than in the declining areas, and in the Fifeshire and Lothian coalfields than in the Central and Ayrshire fields. An examination of the occupational pattern, however, provided some further understanding of the problem.

Thus, one interviewer reported: “There is a queer prejudice I find among mining families against mobility. This I found ... in Shotts and Ayrshire. ‘The better type of miner doesn’t flit’; ‘A miner who moves has usually got good cause to move- leaves debts behind him,’ and so forth. In Cornsilloch Rows the same something like contempt of the ones who had already gone to Dalkeith, and many of them expressed the view that they ‘didna hold wi ‘flitting’. This despite which they live in Dalserf.”

16 17 18 19

Miners’ Industrial Pattern

For each miner interviewed, the various occupations in which he had worked were recorded. From this it was hoped that some idea of his occupational mobility and adaptability could be gained. Interviewers were instructed not to include jobs of less than six months‘ duration, and jobs lasting from six months up to and including one year were classified as temporary. The industrial pattern was sub-divided into eleven categories, between which the whole miners’ sample was distributed as follows:

Scottish Miners: Industrial Pattern

Industrial Pattern No. %
Various; Unemp.; Mining; Unemployed 4 -
Many Changes, plus Armed Forces 91 5
Unemployment, mining 10 1
Mining only 921 54
Mining, Armed Forces, mining 89 5
Mining, unemployed, mining 141 8
Mining, other job, mining 86 5
Other permanent job, mining 187 11
Other temporary job, mining 70 4
Other perm. Job, unemp., mining 10 1
Many changes, in and out of mining 101 6
No answer 3 -

Over half the miners sample had worked in the mining industry without interruption, while in addition, a considerable proportion had had their mining employment interrupted only by unavoidable factors, such as unemployment or military services, and not by entering voluntarily another occupation. Adding these groups, we find that 68% had found paid employment only in mining (military services apart).

After analysing by age groups, a number of significant differences became apparent:

Scottish Miners: Industrial pattern by Age

Under 20 Under 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-59 60-69 Over 70
% % % % % %
Various, unemp., mining unemp - - 1 - - - -
Many changes, plus forces - 2 1 9 11 7 -
Unemployment, mining - 1 1 - - - -
Mining only - 67 57 41 46 51 -
Mining, forces, mining - 2 1 8 14 5 -
Mining, unemp, mining - 2 10 13 9 7 -
Mining, other job, mining - 3 6 7 4 5 -
Other perm. job, mining - 13 10 10 8 12 -
Other temp. job, mining - 8 5 2 2 3 -
Other perm. job, unemp., mining - - 1 1 1 1 -
Many changes, in and out of mining - 2 7 9 5 8 -
No answer - - - - - 1 -
SAMPLE ALL MINERS - 100 100 100 100 100 -

As was to be expected from the information on geographical mobility already examined, occupational mobility had been more common among the older than the younger age-groups. The older men, too, had had their mining career interrupted more often by military service and unemployment than the young men. There was no noticeable variability with age amongst those who had interrupted mining to take up another occupation. On the other hand, more of the younger men than the old had started their employed life in a permanent or temporary job other than mining. A very varied industrial experience was more common in the middle and later age-groups than in the youngest.

An analysis by expanding and declining areas revealed only one considerable difference: more (74%) of those in the declining areas than in the expanding areas (64%) had found paid employment only in mining (excluding unemployment and military service). The declining areas are to a large extent identical with those areas which have a dominant mining industry, and which have a larger proportion of miners in the whole industrial population. Thus, the dominantly mining communities tended to have a greater proportion (70%) who had found paid employment only in mining than the mixed industrial communities (65%). Similarly, although this was less marked, the proportion who had found employment only in mining increased slightly as the proportion of miners in the whole industrial population increased.

But the most marked difference appeared when the industrial pattern was analysed by region:-

Scottish Miners: Industrial pattern by Region

1. Fife Clackmannan 2. Lothian 3. Central 4. Ayr
No. % No. % No. % No. %
Various unemp., mining - 1 - 1
Many changes plus forces 5 12 4 2
Unemp., mining 1 - - -
Mining only 50 45 56 66
Mining, forces, mining 5 9 4 4
Mining, unemp., mining 7 5 13 7
Mining, other job, mining 5 8 3 5
Other perm. Job, mining 13 11 10 8
Other temp. Job, mining 16 11 10 8
Other perm. Job, unemp., mining - 1 - 1
Many changes, in and out mining 8 4 7 4
No Answer - - - 1
SAMPLE ALL MINERS 662 100 310 100 415 100 326 100

Occupational mobility, like geographical mobility, was more common in Fifeshire and Lothian than in the Central and Ayrshire coalfields - which have been more completely dominated, socially and economically, by coal-mining.

Finally, the miners’ industrial pattern was analysed by geographical mobility. * From Diagram 2 it is clear that there existed a marked tendency for geographical mobility to be correlated with occupational mobility.

Mining Only

Other jobs as well as Mining

To another part of Scotland, away and back from first job town

Within 20 miles of one town, away and back from first job town.

To other places, England, U.S., away and back from first job town.

To another part of Scotland.

To other places, England, U.S.

Within 20 miles of one town.

One town only

DIAGRAM 2 Scottish Miners Industrial Pattern by Mobility Pattern

Moreover, those who moved to more distant places, like England and the United States, tended to change their occupation as well, although those who later returned to their first place of work tended more often to have remained in mining.

The Housewife. Some relevant, although less complete, material was collected on the subject of geographical and occupation mobility of the housewife. For each housewife interviewed her last occupation before becoming a housewife was recorded, and the answers were classified into eleven categories in the following proportions:

Housewives: Last occupation before becoming a housewife

Domestic Services 36
Mills, textiles, carpets 8
Distribution 6
Office 2
Pithead worker 5
Factory work 15
Transport 1
Agriculture, market gdn., dairy 6
Waitress, Barmaid 2
Unoccupied, at home, None 10
Miscellaneous 7
No Answer 2

More than twice as many had been in domestic service than in any other single occupation. Those who had been in factories, or were unoccupied, made up the next largest categories. These three groups together accounted for 61% of the housewives sample.

After analysing the sample by geographical mobility, it was found that 49% had been working within 5 miles of their birthplace, and an additional (17%) had been working in Edinburgh or Glasgow, and 9% in other towns or villages more than 20 miles from their birthplace. Comparing these figures with those for the place of residence at the time of the survey, * it appears that there is a tendancy on marriage to return to the neighbourhood of the birthplace.

The type of occupation before becoming a housewife was also analysed by the distance of place of work from the birthplace:

Housewives: Last occupation by distance of workplace from birthplace

Place of work relative to birthplace

5m radius Within 20m. Other Towns or villages England Edinbgh. Glassgow Abroad N.A.
No. % No. % No. % No. % No. % No. % No. %
Domestic Service 25 35 44 - 71 - -
Mills, textiles 11 9 9 - 1 - -
Distribution 8 4 5 - 5 - -
Office 2 2 2 - 3 - -
Pithead worker 8 2 4 - 1 - -
Factory worker 18 23 12 - 7 - -
Transport 3 - 1 - - - -
Agric., market gdn., dairy 6 9 8 - - - -
Waitress, barmaid Unoccupied, at home, None 11 4 5 - 1 - -
Miscellaneous 5 8 8 - 7 - -
No Answer 1 2 1 - - - -
SAMPLE ALL HOUSEWIVES 703 100 248 100 130 100 28 - 246 100 10 - 86 -

These figures show clearly the different degrees of migration made necessary by various occupations. Thus, domestic service was not only the most important single occupation but also caused the greatest amount of migration. The proportion of migrants who were domestic servants increased with the distance of the place of work from the birthplace. The proportions of those in most of the other occupations, however, decreased with increasing distance from the birthplace. Exceptions to this were factory work and agriculture, where the proportions engaged in these occupations tended to increase for distances up to 20 miles from the birthplace. After 20 miles, however, the proportions once more decreased with distance.

Except in the case of domestic service, therefore, there appeared to be a marked preference among women to have their place of work within a reasonable distance of their original home. The limit of convenience appears to be (shown most clearly in the case of factory work and agriculture) up to 20 miles of the birthplace. Beyond this distance it is comparatively rare for women to travel to find employment, with one exception. This exception was domestic service, where a migration of considerable distance was not uncommon. It is very probable that this reflects, not a positive preference for domestic service as such, but a real restriction on choice of occupation for the women. Many mining settlements are isolated, without any opportunity of employment for large numbers of women. The women from mining communities are unskilled, and do not possess a tradition of skilled or semi-skilled work as do the women, for example, of the Lancashire cotton towns. Consequently, those women seeking employment can find it only where such meagre qualifications as they possess are not a disadvantage. Domestic service is practically the only answer in such circumstances, hence the frequent migration to distant urban centres where the demand for domestic servants is greatest.

It is likely, therefore, that the provision, in newly planned mining settlements in Scotland, of adequate facilities for the employment of women nearby, would meet with a considerable response - not least because it would make migration unnecessary.

[4] See above, pp. 10-12

[5] See above, pp. 10-12

20 21

The Journey to Work

Information was also gathered on the distance and cost of the miner’s daily journey to his work. It appeared that, for the majority, the journey to work was not of very great length, few having to travel more than 5 miles from their home:

Scottish Miners: Place of Work related to residence

No. %
Town where living, within 5 miles radius 1638 96
Town or village within 20 miles of home 65 4
Other towns or villages 2 -
Completely unemployed or retired 5 -
No Answer 3 -

Regional analysis showed that the proportion who lived within 5 miles of their work was greatest in Fifeshire and in Lothian (where all lived within this distance):

Scottish Miners: Where working relative to where living. By Region

Fife, Clackmannan Lothian Central Ayr
No. % No. % No. % No. %
Town where living, within 5m. radius 98 100 91 91
Town or village within 20m. of home 1 - 8 8
Unemployed or retired 1 - - 1
SAMPLE ALL MINERS: 662 100 310 100 415 100 326 100

About half the miners walked to the pit, the majority of the remainder (40%) using bus, tram or train. Only a small proportion used bicycles:

Scottish Miners: Transport to Work

No. %
Walk 51
Bus or tram 37
Train 3
Cycle 8
Unemployed, retired 1

For most of those who used some form of public transport to reach their work, the weekly cost was not great, 10% had free (usually railway) transport available. The cost for 49% of the miners was 1s. 9d. a week or less; and for the weekly cost was between 1s. 10d. and 3s. 9d.

DIAGRAM 3: Miners – Weekly cost of Transport to work

It is possible to compare miners transport costs with the costs for Scottish workers as a whole. A previous inquiry * gives the following schedule of weekly transport costs for married urban male Scottish workers:

Scottish Urban Married Working Men: Weekly cost of Transport to Work
No. %
Walk, cycle 49
Up to and including 6d. 1
Over 6d. up to 1s. 5
1s. to 2s. 11
2s. to 4s. 16
4s. to 6s. 5
6s. to 8s. 1
8s. to 10s. 1
Free transport 4
No Answer 7
SAMPLE 1167 100

It will be seen that rather more miners (59%) than urban workers as a whole (49%) walked or cycled to work. For urban workers using public transport, about half had to pay 2s. a week or more. Only about one-third paid less than 2s, compared with over 50% of the miners paying less than this. Generally speaking, therefore, it may be said that transport costs are less for Scottish miners than for Scottish urban workers as a whole.

[6] Wartime Social Survey: “The Location of Dwellings in Scottish Towns”, (N. S.34). September, 1943 p.38

22 23 24

Mining as an Hereditary Occupation

Mining is often regarded as an occupation which is handed on from father to son, having few new entrants from among those with no mining tradition in the family. The inquiry therefore attempted to discover how far this was true of the Scottish mining industry by recording whether the father and brothers of each miner or housewife interviewed were, or had been, in the industry. The following Diagram makes it clear that the fathers of the overwhelming majority of both samples had at some time been miners:

Housewives Miners



DIAGRAM 4: “Was your father ever a miner?”

Here, as in the figures for mobility, - where, however, the tendency was less marked- there is a considerable difference between miners and housewives.

There was very little difference revealed by the analysis by mixed and purely mining areas, or by the proportion of miners in the total industrial population. On the other hand, there were some regional differences in the proportion of miners and housewives whose fathers had been miners. These differences are shown in the following diagram:

Housewives Miners



Fife, Clackmannan


DIAGRAM 5: Proportion of those whose fathers were miners. By Region

Taking housewives and miners together, the proportion whose fathers had been miners was greatest in the Central region, and least in the Lothian region. The proportions for Ayr and Fife were equal. There were also, however, regional differences between the miners' and the housewives' sample. We have already seen that over the total sample, fewer housewives than miners had mining fathers. The housewives' proportion was greatest in the Central area and least in Lothian, with the proportions for Ayr and Fife lying between these extremes. For miners alone, the largest proportions whose fathers had been in mining were in the Ayr and Central regions.

An analysis of the results for the number of brothers in mining, showed that the majority of both miners and housewives had all their brothers in the mining industry, although more housewives than miners had no brothers at all in the industry:

Housewives Miners

None in mining

Some brothers

All brothers

DIAGRAM 6: Number of brothers in mining.

The analyses by mixed and dominantly mining areas showed that, in the case of both housewives and miners, the proportion of those having no brothers in mining was smaller in the dominantly mining than in the mixed communities, and smaller in those communities having over 50% of the employed population in mining than in. those having a smaller proportion in mining. It is of some interest to note that the dominantly mining areas had a slightly larger percentage of the population having no brothers at all.

A regional analysis also showed some significant differences in the proportion having brothers in the mining industry as the following figures indicate:

All Brothers in Mining
Fife Clackmannan Lothian Central Ayr
% % % %
Miners 53 54 60 62
Housewives 46 41 48 48
Some Brothers in Mining
Miners 21 24 23 18
Housewives 19 20 21 13
No Brothers in Mining
Miners 11 9 8 6
Housewives 22 24 16 27


Certain interim conclusions are possible from the data presented in this Part, although more evidence on all these points will be presented in the pages which follow: -

  1. 1. Economic conditions in the past have already caused a good deal of migration among Scottish miners from their original place of work, but a large majority have no history of mobility at all. It may be assumed that many of those who remain in the declining areas are the less enterprising, or, for various social and other reasons, the less mobile, This residual group may need greater inducement than those already gone before they will be prepared to migrate.

  2. 2. There was some tendency for geographical mobility to be correlated with occupational mobility, especially in the case of long-distance mobility. The correlation was not by any means complete, but later evidence will show that willingness to migrate is much greater amongst miners when it was suggested that they might enter a new occupation than when it was suggested that they stayed in the mining industry. More than two-thirds of the miners had worked in no other occupation than mining, but the majority of those who had experience of other jobs were in the older age-groups.

  3. 3. Miners appear to travel shorter distance to their work than most Scottish workers, and in consequence the cost of their journey to work is considerably less.

  4. 4. Women in the mining areas who seek employment at present travel long distances to obtain it - the majority in domestic service. This dominance of domestic service is probably due to the absence of suitable alternative employment locally for such unskilled labour. Adequate provision for the employment of women in or near new mining settlements will, for the majority, be a novelty which is likely to meet with a considerable and favourable response.

  5. 5. Labour for the mines has been recruited in the past very largely from mining families, and few of those entering the industry have no mining ancestry. Most miners’ sons have usually entered mining. As other evidence will show later, in so far as the planning of new mining settlements is designed to encourage future recruitment, it must take carefully into account the necessity for providing physical environment which will encourage family growth and family loyalty. Where large-scale migration is to be organised, it seems essential that emphasis should be laid upon the transfer of family units, and not of individuals.

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