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The miners strike 1984

(28 Posts)
Rosannie Thu 13-Mar-14 00:13:44

I've just watched a TV documentary about the miners strike with real people and very real women telling the real story of how hard that time was. I was a 31 year old mother of 4 children, a working class Lancashire lass but I cannot imagine how hard it must have been for those mothers. Are there any Grans who were part of that great chapter in British history?

maxdrans Thu 13-Mar-14 01:40:22

I was the wife of a police officer at that time with two children my husband was sent to man picket lines that his cousins and uncles were trying to cross very hard times for all very hard to understand if you did not live through it obviously my take being a policeman wife is not the norm

MiceElf Thu 13-Mar-14 06:58:26

Oh yes, our borough was twinned with Easington and we formed very strong links. Had a number of miners' wives staying with us and we were very involved in the whole campaign.

Still feel bitter about the way Scargill ran the strike; with different leadership, change could have been managed and much anguish spared.

besottedgran Thu 13-Mar-14 07:45:44

I agree maxdrans. My brother was a police officer at the time too and the memories will never leave him. Don`t underestimate the effect these events had on all concerned.

Brendawymms Thu 13-Mar-14 08:35:05

I hope that history will tell another side but as an outsider to the situation Scargill was the wrong leader at the wrong time. He seemed to play right into the hands of the government and aided them in their wish to get rid of the coal industry. A lot of what he said was correct but always came across as scaremongering.

Anniebach Thu 13-Mar-14 09:22:42

I was involved throughout and after. Families were hungry, the despair was heartbreaking, the country was so divided, i walked streets with a bucket collecting money for food. I don't think the divide has been healed, whole communities were broken up . Very slowly the lies that were fed to the public are coming out, but too late.

MargaretX Thu 13-Mar-14 10:24:35

I know of relatives who agreed to donate from their salaries on a monthly basis a sum of money to give money to the striking families. I can't imagine that happening now, but may it still would in Yorkshire.

merlotgran Thu 13-Mar-14 10:36:21

I wouldn't call it a great chapter of British history.

Rosannie Sat 15-Mar-14 22:39:52

Maybe not 'great' but certainly memorable and catastrophic in many respects - depending of course on which part of the country you live in.

durhamjen Sun 16-Mar-14 00:38:00

I lived in Hampshire at the time. We collected money and food for the Welsh miners outside Sainsburys in Winchester.
Hasn't it been shown that Scargill was right in what he was saying about Thatcher wanting to close all the mines? Papers released last year said that.
My husband was born in a pit village in Northumberland. His dad worked for the NCB, repairing colliery houses. He was made redundant after the pit closed, after Thatcher had very kindly let the miners buy their houses, leaving them with no jobs and no money to pay their mortgages.

Granny23 Sun 16-Mar-14 02:24:33

Born and brought up in a mining community, I should have been wholeheartedly backing the miners' cause BUT:

First, my Father's friend and colleague was trying to enter a local power station to carry out essential maintenance. He stopped at the picket line to explain his purpose and offered a hand of friendship, whereupon the pickets pushed his van forward while pulling his arm back until they broke it. These pickets were not local men (I don't think they were even miners) but had come up from the N.East of England to use bully boy tactics on the power workers AND the local miners who were not willing to use violence. The Police at the picket line were not local either. From their accents they had been drafted in from London or thereabouts.

Secondly, my friend's DH who was a miner refused to picket with these thugs and was ostracised, threatened in his own home in front of his young children and barred from the strike centre. They were penniless and received no financial or practical support from the Miners' Wives Support Group. At this point I stopped putting money in the buckets or food into the boxes that were in every shop and instead anonymously donated money, food parcels and Christmas presents to my friends family and another family who were in the same boat. (My father and I had great fun delivering these under cover of darkness).

Thirdly, the local Regional Council, in its wisdom, decided to allocate their usual annual grant to Women's Aid to the Miners' Wives Support Group for one year only, effectively halving Women's Aid's funding income causing redundancies and paid workers working full time for part-time wages. As there were many pits throughout the Region and no central organisation of the Support Groups, some received generous handouts and some received nothing. Eventually the opposition on the Council proved that the Council had exceeded their powers - too late - the money had gone.

Little wonder that by the end of the strike and closure of the pits the 'communities' were shattered and anger was directed among and between themselves instead of focussed on Thatcher and Scargill, neither of whom seemed to care about the havoc caused when their two great egos clashed.

Anniebach Sun 16-Mar-14 09:25:45

There was much anger towards Thatcher sfter the strike and still is.

Durhamjen, yes papers were released showing Thatcher had said sixty pits were to be closed but this was not to be made public, when asked she lied and said Scargill was telling these lies.

Let us not forget there were miners beaten up by police too,

Iam64 Sun 16-Mar-14 09:58:29

I was part of a big group locally who supported the miners, collected money and attended benefits etc. It was a dreadful time, with Thatcher on one side, and Scargill on the other. She took on the miner's and we are still living with the consequences. Unemployment, drug/alcohol abuse, violence, broken families and communities.

My father was a policeman. His funeral was attended by many former colleagues. Without exception, this group of older men reflected with horror on the involvement of the police in the miners strike. One chap commented to me that he reckoned it'd be another 40 years before the reputation of the police recovered from the way he believed the police were 'used' politically.

Anniebach Sun 16-Mar-14 10:33:47

Iam, the police were used, but this doesn't excuse the actions of some, my husband was a police officer and my father a miner , I saw five pound notes being set alight and waved. I heard police officers boasting how much overtime they were raking in , I know there were police who had sympathy with the miners too. When you are fighting to keep your job and your home then police officers tell you to 'keep it up, your paying my mortgage ' is it any wonder there was such anger . It's over , the miners lost, communities smashed and still high unemployment in those areas

nightowl Sun 16-Mar-14 10:45:30

I remember all of that too Anniebach, and coachloads of police officers being driven through picket lines all holding up their payslips against the windows. Thatcher's greatest achievement - setting working man against working man. And I will never forget that she cut her teeth on the steel workers, in a practice run for taking on the miners, and thereby robbed my father of his dignity in his final few years of life. Dreadful times, that we should never forget lest we fail to learn the lessons.

grannyactivist Sun 16-Mar-14 10:46:43

Iam64 I think the miner's strike signalled the beginning of a breakdown of trust between the police and some members of the public that has never been fully restored.
At the time I was pretty much tied up with looking after very young children, dealing with my marriage breakdown and preparing for a future as the family breadwinner and to my shame I didn't take the time to try and understand what exactly was happening. I was quite politically naive then and tended to believe in an accountable, truthful, media. Like (I think) most people then, I knew that the media was politically biased, but I had little idea of the effects of propaganda.

whenim64 Sun 16-Mar-14 11:26:11

I remember the Home Secretary coming to open a new probation office in Stockport at the time of the miners' strike. The roads were lined with thousands of police officers because his visit was unpopular and unwanted. Stockport isn't a mining town, quite affluent in parts, but the strength of feeling about Thatcher's treatment of the miners was bordering on anarchy. I don't know how she got away with it. Her divisive tactics have shaped attitudes towards the police and unions to this day.

Tegan Sun 16-Mar-14 11:37:36

There was a news item shown on the tv that showed miners attacking policemen; years later it was found to have been manipulated and it was, in fact, the police attacking the miners. I'm afraid I don't know when and where it was [the S.O. says he thinks ot was round Doncaster; he was the one that saw the programme about it].

nightowl Sun 16-Mar-14 11:51:22

Was it Orgreave Tegan?

merlotgran Sun 16-Mar-14 13:13:34

We bought a cabin cruiser in the eighties and used it most weekends where five of us would all squash in to a four berth boat because that was what we could afford. There was a huge gin palace of a boat moored on our stretch of the river owned by a policeman and his wife who used it as a weekend retreat. The name of the boat?........SCARGILL.

TriciaF Sun 16-Mar-14 14:11:14

Rosannie - can you give a link to the documentary? I would like to watch it.
Although I didn't take any part in all the troubles I was born and grew up in a Northumberland mining town and many of my friends were from mining families. Some had lost relatives "doon the pit" so I know what a dangerous job it was.
The worst thing Thatcher did was to break up the community spirit which existed in mining villages, and offer nothing to take its place.
Scargill wasn't much more than a scapegoat imo.

durhamjen Sun 16-Mar-14 14:23:09

Which one, Tricia? My husband was born and brought up in Ashington.
Then they moved to Broomhill.

Rosannie Sun 16-Mar-14 20:23:51

The programme was on ITV on Weds 12th March at 10.35. It was called The Miners Strike and Me. It marked the 30th anniversary of the strike in 1984. Maybe you can find it on Catch up.

Anniebach Mon 17-Mar-14 09:23:02

Orgreave and what happened there must never be written out of history, a reminder to future generations of the evil of - devide and rule. What hurts me is those who lost their jobs after the strike were signed on the sick to keep unemployment figures now, these men were trapped on benefits by Thatcher

Oldgreymare Mon 17-Mar-14 09:47:16

I think I've mentioned it before but Ken Loach's film, 'Spirit of 45' is well worth watching.... I have given both DSs a copy as I was born in '45 and had huge hopes for the future (finally dashed with the meteoric rise of Margaret Thatcher, she of the 'no such thing as society' quote!)