This is what they thought of us in Wednesbury according to the “Osborne’s Guide to the Grand Junction Railway” published in 1838:
It is lamentable to find, that this population scarcely ever thinks of anything but eating and drinking when the day’s labour is over. The house of the working man is not much inhabited by him. The mine has his days, and the ale-house his evenings. He cares not for his family. The wife may care if she will; but she was brought up in a house of the same kind, and what else can be expected of her.
The women in this neighbourhood seldom wear caps. They mostly use a handkerchief tied round their head, and neither in person or manner show much of grace, or attraction. They are early used to carry heavy burdens, and help to load and unload at the mouth of the pit; hence they become coarse and unwieldy, and lose that natural pleasantness, if not gracefulness of appearance, which is common to their sex. This is particularly observable in the extreme width of their mouths, shortness of the necks, and breadth of their shoulders, caused by the habit of carrying heavy baskets of coal on their heads from the shafts of the pits to their respective dwellings, there being a regular allowance to each workman for his individual home consumption.
Well i never!