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A Life of Extremely Hard Work

Time for Fun and Games

Life wasn’t all hardship for mining families. In the winter, hunting with hounds was a popular pastime. Guiding shooting parties around the moors in season was always an easy and popular way for miners to earn some extra money.


Local games included 'Knur and  Spell' and 'Quoits' and remain popular village games in the Dales today (see the links in the View Resources page for more information).


Wooden knitting sticks in various shapes.  Two of the four have a broad, flat end to them, a bit like a pallette knife.
Wooden Knitting Sticks


Music was an important part of life. Singing was popular in the home and the public house and there were, as now, strong connections with miners' brass bands. There are still local bands in Swaledale and Wensleydale (Hawes) as well as in other dales in the area. There is a link on the View Resources page to Swaledale's Muker Silver Band.


There were produce shows and fairs in the villages run by the mining families as a way of both socialising and also making a little extra money.  Everybody in the family knitted and this was an important evening social activity.

Model of woman sitting in a rocking chair knitting.  She is wearing a short scarf covering her shoulders which is pinned at the front with a brooch.
Model of a Woman Knitting

Probably the most popular pastime for the men was in the public houses where they could gather to tell tales, sing and enjoy a beer.

Miners were highly superstitious, believing in horrors such as gnomes, boggles and boggarts and doubtless many tall tales were told after a few drinks.