A portfolio of more than images of Cornwall are to be sold at Penzance Auction House with an estimate of This rare collection of photographs depict the ordinary lives of Cornish men and women from the and early century
Bal maidens, Dolcoath from the Cornish language bal, a mine and the English maiden, a young or unmarried woman, was a female manual labourer working in the mining industries of Cornwall and the bordering areas of western Devon.
DOLCOATH MINE (c.1890): 'The earliest records of women workers in Cornwall date from the Middle Ages and were employed in particularly large numbers from about 1770 to 1860. After the Black Death mining declined, and no records of female workers have been found from then until the late 17th century. Between 1800 and 1851 the number of Cornish female workers rose from 2,000 to 6,000. In total from 1720-1920 there were at least 80,000 women working in the Cornish mining industry.' ✫ღ⊰n
BAL MAIDEN: 'Jinny [Martin] was a spaller at the mine' (Ross Poldark, iii, Spalling - breaking up ore using a cobbing hammer. Bal-maiden - a girl who works on the surface of a mine (F. Jago, 'The Ancient Language and the Dialect of Cornwall', ✫ღ⊰n