Bal Maidens & Mining Women Home Page
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1842 Commission







***Database updated 10th April 2024***

Simonin Small
Welcome to this Bal Maidens and Mining Women website, exploring the many different roles which women and girls have undertaken at mines around the world.

The emphasis is on those who worked at the mines (known as bal maidens), clay & slate works, and related industries (such as the explosives industry, smelters etc) in Cornwall and Devon and includes a searchable database of 30,113 named individuals.

There are pages about mining women around the world, notably of pit brow lasses of the north of England, and coal dressers on the French and Belgian coal fields.

There is a full searchable transcript of the 1842 Commission into the Working Conditions of Children at the Mines in Cornwall and West Devon. This includes interviews with 21 bal maidens.

Also for information on the women and girls who worked at the paper mills in Devon and Cornwall please go to our publications list.

Please also check the page Books & Articles for further reading including a number of books by Lynne Mayers.


**** Update January 8th 2024***

We have just added SOMERSET to the Women in Metal Mines page.

see Women at the Metal Mines UK & Ireland


**** Update May 8th 2023***




**** Update May 4th 2021***

We have now added some information on the women and girls who worked at the metal mines in other parts of the UK, and also Ireland, including a list of OVER 4000 women and girls employed there.

see Women in the Metal Mines UK & Ireland

We have also added a transcript of the questions circulated to mine managers for the 1842 Royal Commission. In addition there are name indexes for 1842 of the men, women and children at the Northern and Forest of Dean mines.

1842 Royal Commission Questionnaire


**** Update January 16th 2018***

We have now added a limited selection of information on the women and girls who worked at the explosives and munitions works in the UK

see Women + Explosives UK




Second edition of the book which won the

2005 Holyer an Gof Trophy

Best Cornish Publication 2004

Holyer an Gof 2015


2015 Holyer an Gof Award

Best Cornish Booklet published 2014







All images on this site can be viewed in more detail by clicking on the image. Use the browser BACK button to return. Some image files, name indexes etc are rather large and will take a few seconds to load, even at broadband speeds. Please be patient.


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© Webmaster Peter Boorman & Lynne Mayers 2006
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