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Alberta Online Encyclopedia
When Coal Was King
Industry, People and Challenges
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The Washhouse

Wash house at Greenhill coal mine, Blairmore, Alberta [ca. 1920s]At the end of long, hard day, the washhouse offered cleansing relief. The water was hot and your clothes were dry. (Usually!) The unions were responsible. They fought to make hot showers a reality.

Miners worked hard. By shift's end, they were sweaty and black. A hot shower was the only way to get clean. The washhouse was a double blessing—good because of what it was, better because there was no running water, hot or cold, at home.

The washhouse was a place to unwind, make plans and engage in reflective thought. It created an arena for humour and practical jokes. And it housed boisterous communion among the tough men who had just emerged from the dark reaches of the perilous underground.

Down Deep in a Coal Mine, J. B. Geoghegan

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