Miner taking a shower, Askern Colliery, South Yorkshire, 18 January 1944.
© NMeM / Daily Herald Archive / Science & Society Picture Library
A miner enjoying the newly installed showers at Askern Colliery near Doncaster, South Yorkshire. This 'Bevin Boy' is Bill Thomas, originally a technicolour cinema projectionist from West Drayton in Middlesex. Coal was vital to Britain's industry during World War Two, but a shortage of miners was affecting coal production. From December 1943 until the end of the war, some 48,000 men, the 'Bevin Boys', were chosen by ballot to work in the coal mining industry - instead of serving in the Armed Forces. These miners were called 'Bevin Boys', after the then Minister of Labour, Ernest Bevin (1881-1951). The scheme was not popular - many of the men had no previous experience of the dangers and hardships of working down the mines. Photograph taken by Esten for the Daily Herald newspaper