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A[nn?] Jude (1897-)

Female token collector at Addison Colliery in Ryton

A photo from the Illustrated Chronicle, from a collection based in Newcastle, shows a Miss A Jude as a token girl collecting tokens from the miners at Addison Colliery in Ryton in March 1916. Tokens, also known by other names such as ‘tallies’ or ‘checks’ were issued to each miner stamped with their identification number. The photo describes Miss A Jude as “distributing and collecting the tokens as [the miners] enter and leave the pit.” This gave the colliery owners a record of who was working that day when working out wages but was also an important record of who was down the mine if there were any incidences such as fires or explosions. Tokens were used for other purposes in the mines as well, including in the distribution of lamps to the miners.

It would have been highly unusual for a female to be collecting tokens within County Durham, with the job usually done by a young lad. Women were banned from working underground in 1842 by government, although this was not always adhered to. In other parts of the country, such as Lancashire, women were employed above the surface but it was a different matter within County Durham. The Durham Miner’s Association refused to allow women to work on the colliery surface. There were many reasons behind this refusal, amongst them superstitions held by some miners that the presence of women on a colliery site would bring about mining disasters.

The debate over whether women should be allowed to work on the colliery surface was much contended and this heightened during the war. It was argued that women were needed to allow collieries to continue operating and also in order to ‘free up the men’ for fighting on the front. The newspaper articles attached are examples of these debates that took place within court. There is also a newspaper article (below) which shows Miss A. Jude involved in entertaining wounded soldiers in 1917 along with other members of the community.

It is difficult to find definite information about Miss Jude but a census record from 1911 suggests that she may have been the daughter of Joseph and Ann Jude, in which case she would have been 19 years old when the photo was taken in 1916. This family lived at 29 Simpson Street in Ryton, which was where the Addison colliery was located. Joseph worked as a coal miner with the position of an overman. This may have been why his daughter was employed in such an unusual position.

To see the Illustrated Chronicle article, Newcastle Libraries Flickr feed:

Newcastle Journal – Tuesday 10 July 1917

Wounded Soldiers Entertained – The wounded soldiers in Holeyn Hall VAD Hospital, by the kindness of friends from the Addison Colliery, were provided with an excellent entertainment, when a whist drive was followed by a tea and concert. The following artistes contributed items: – Miss Gill (pianist), Messrs C. Hardisty, Hawkins, W. Little, G.H. Purvis, and Miller Whin. The ladies who carried out the tea arrangements were Mesdames Leck, Hutton, Jude, Muir, and Storey; the misses A. and E. Jude, Maughan, M.Noble, G. Ramshaw, and B.Turner. The donors of whist and croquet prizes were Miss Carter (Hedgefield), pipe; Mr J. Clark (Blaydon), safety razor; Addison Male Voice Choir, wallet, tobacco puch and cigarette case. The committee were Mr R. Hutton, Mr J. Jude, Mr W. Storey, Mr J. Watson, and Mr W. Leck, who wish to thank the generous subscribers to the fund.

Civil Parish: Ryton

Armed force/civilian: Civilian

Residence: Possible Residence: 29 Simpson Street, Ryton (1911 census)

Family: Possible family members:
Parents: Joseph Jude, Mary Ann Jude
Siblings: Jane Jude, George Alexander Jude, Elizabeth Jude, William Jude

Gender: Female

Contributed by Fiona Johnson - Durham