Chapter Six Snakes and Ladders

There was a choice of two ways to get to the work face, the ladders or the lift. Both were dangerous. The ladders sapped the men’s energy and from the owners’ point of view were time wasting, so a blind eye was turned to the practice of riding the shaft. This was no safer and its small wonder that men crossed themselves before being lowered into the abyss.

The safety cage was a long time coming to the Almagrera and it was foreigners who installed them, putting an end to the perils of holding on to a rope or, riding in esparto baskets, and in leather or wooden kibbles.