Before Lord Shaftsbury's Reform Act of 1843, women and children worked down the coal mines enduring hard physical labour and extremeley harsh and dangerous working conditions. Far from being relieved to be out of the mines the women were desperately worried about the consequent drop in income for their already poor families. However, these shrewd and feisty women persuaded the pit managers to let them do the work on the surface - the pit brow.
Drawing on newspaper articles, parliamentary records, transcripts of interviews, conversations, and extracts from diaries, author Janet Halfyard created a musical play, which Arts and Community in Thornbury (ACT) put on as a Community Production over 4 nights during July 2009 - Around 500 people of all ages were involved in the production in Thornbury Leisure Centre.
"The Wigan Girls" is a video recording of that event.