Laura Gascoigne

Girls from the black stuff

Britain's first gallery devoted to mining art is exhibiting a show dedicated to the pit brow lasses, pioneers of female empowerment and unisex clothing

‘They did not look like women, or at least a stranger new to the district might easily have been misled by their appearance, as they stood together in a group, by the pit’s mouth.’ As opening sentences go this is a cracker, but few modern readers of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s That Lass O’Lowrie’s get far beyond it because the novel’s characters speak in a Lancashire dialect that makes Mark Twain’s Huck Finn sound like a Harvard preppy.

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