GETTING TO KNOW WHAT MINERS DID AFTER THEIR SHIFTS
After eight hours of high-intensity physical work, the shift was over.
By then, the dirt and dust from the coal already covered miners’ faces like a black masks, making everyone look identical. Hence, there was some work that needed to be done before going home.
STEPS BEFORE SHOWER
After the miners came up to the surface, the first thing they needed to do was to collect their tokens from the board, which meant they had returned to the surface safely.
They put the lamps back on the charger rack, they then went to the bathroom to wash out all the dirt.
The bathroom was big enough for 20-30 people to take a shower at the same time.
This was a time for the miners to wash, to relax, and to socialize. They would talk about their work, joke around, and help clean the coal dust from each other’s backs, a ritual known as “poekelen.”
Miners preferred using Sunlight soap. The formula of the soap hasn’t changed over the years. If you see it in the supermarket next time, take a sniff: you will get a sense of the smell from the mine’s bathhouse.
Some of the coal powder attached to the miners’ faces and lashes was not easy to clean. Then they needed to move to the sink and to wash out the dust using margarine or butter.
Explore the 3D Model: This porcelain sink is one of the permanent collections at Nederlands Mijnmuseum, which used to be part of the bathroom on the ground of a mine. Take a tour by clicking on the annotations on the model and find out what happened next.
3D model created by Su Chin Zhang
END OF THE DAY
Sometimes after they showered, they bought a bottle of milk from the mining shop. It was thought that milk could help with the dust miners breathed in, although there is little scientific proof of this.
After they got changed, the miners were ready to go home. Although the traces of the mines no longer showed on their bodies or clothes, the tired look on their faces showed another hard working day had passed.
Miner before and after shower