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Internship at the National Archives

Woman wearing sub fusc in front of Univ wallElspeth Tolan (2021, History) undertook an internship at The National Archives. Her article, “Hidden in plain sight: Finding working-class women in The National Archives”, was published on their website.

Elspeth’s article looks at “pit brow girls”, women who worked above ground at mines and collieries across the North West of England, particularly in Lancashire during the 19th and early 20th centuries. She looks at the government’s attempts in 1872, 1886 and 1911 to restrict women’s right to employment at the pit brow and how women fought back to retain the right to work in these areas.

Elspeth says, “Although The National Archives holds over 11 million records, it is important to remember that they are from the government perspective. Therefore, it can be most fascinating to read these records against the grain, as there is much to be discovered beyond what is explicitly written.”

You can read Elspeth’s article on The National Archives blog. You can find out more about Elspeth in this profile in which she discusses full-circle moments, the myth of an “Oxford type” and getting out of your comfort zone.

Published: 20 March 2023

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