Health

miners typical menu

Life was often short and hard for the miners.

A combination of poor diet, unsanitary living conditions and heavy manual labour took its tool. in 1873 the average age of a miner in the St Just Mining District was 27.  In the 18th and 19th centuries, miners worked in dangerous conditions. Accidents and deaths from falling, blasting, drowning, rock-falls and entanglement in machines were common, as were serious long-term health problems caused by poor ventilation, toxic fumes and breathing in harmful dust.  It was not until 1842 that any laws were introduced for improving working conditions in the mines.

 

"The worst enemy of the miner is dust” Clement le Neve Foster 1903

The most serious health concern for miners resulted in breathing in the silica dust underground over a long period of time. This caused a condition called Silicosis (pthysis or miner’s lung) which killed many men. Lung problems were common amongst miners at Geevor even in more modern times.

 

Photograph reproduced with the kind permission of the Geevor Archive

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