New novel tells the story of battles and bitter hardship in mining community

Ethel Stirman
Ethel Stirman

A creative mum has penned a debut novel about life in on the Durham coalfields.

Ethel Stirman has written her first book called ‘Not a Minute on the Day’ which used her experience of life in a colliery village to tell the story of a young couple trying to build a life together in the 1920s mining community.

Ethel Stirman.

Ethel Stirman.

Ethel, who was born and bred in Easington and now lives in Horden, has had many occupations which include a role as a former ice cream lady and an educational consultant.

Since retiring Ethel has been able to pursue her love of writing as a member of local writing groups and has successfully written short stories and poetry.

The book, which has been released on Amazon, showcases her love of local history and cultural heritage.

She said: “As part of a close colliery community, I was always interested in how my family came to be miners.

“Although the central characters are loosely based on my own grandparents, this is a story about ordinary people that will appeal to anyone whose roots trace back to industrial Britain.”

The novel follows characters Joe and Eva who were born in the same colliery village but grew up in different worlds.

Already struggling to cope with changes in their everyday lives, they also had to deal with conflict and hardship during one of the bitterest political battles of the 1920s.

Ethel will be having a book signing at Horden Heritage Centre, the place where she researched part of the book, on Friday, March 1, from 2pm to 5pm.

To read an extract of the novel before buying, visit: