Balancing the Scale of Financial Wellbeing in the Great Northern Coal Field 1920-1950
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The goal of this research project is to reconstruct the financial wellbeing of those living in a working-class community to examine if there was a distinct difference in how finance was managed. This thesis, will answer the research question; how did closed mining communities in the Great Northern Coal Field manage their financial wellbeing between 1920-1950? It will do this by arguing that financial management within closed working-class communities was a multifaceted affair that often relied on a vast array of different long- and short-term, monetary, and non-monetary strategies and tactics. By combining individual, household, and community strategies the villages were able to insure themselves against external austerity policies, poor wages, and dangerous working conditions. They were able to carve out their own way of life, independent from the paternalistic and often oppressive policies of the mining companies by utilising a combination of physical, social, and cultural capital. Furthermore, while both genders contributed to the development of the management of finance, women played a unique role within the household and community. They exercised significant control over the resources and acted collaboratively when necessary to expand resources to insulate their communities and reduce financial instability. By acting cooperatively, married mining women managed to protect their community and family unit by monitoring money flows and engaging in complex social systems to provide them with informal insurance in times of economic strain.