Big Geordie Posted March 2, 2009 Share Posted March 2, 2009 This month is the 25th anniversary of the start of the 1984 Miners Strike. Here's a good piece from today's Chronicle which gives a bit of background; http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/north-east-news/todays-evening-chronicle/2009/03/02/memories-of-coal-war-72703-23043666/ My old man was a miner at Bates Pit and both of my grandad's and great-grandad's were miners too. I remember the strike quite well as it was a harsh time, but also one that I remember of people rallying around and supporting each other. In the end, lads like my dad had to go back due to financial hardship and of course the industry suffered the mass-culling that they all feared would happen. Even now, 25 years on - the effects of the strike still run deep in many communities. From my neck of the woods, villages like Ashington and Blyth have never recovered and probably never will. I was 11 when the strike began, and at middle school. We immediately went onto free school meals, but I chose to go home for lunch (made by by dad) rather than stay at school. Those of us at school who's dad's were miners, were ostricised (sp?) by other children, particularly those from the more well to do families. My dad was lucky, as he was able to get a job moonlighting as a security guard at a local clothes factory. That and help off my grandparents helped to keep our heads above water, but others were not so lucky. I remember seeing fathers and sons digging for coal on the local slag heaps, as well as some kids begging around the doors for a bucket of coal. I also remember having to go to the local social club everyday, during school holidays to what amounted to a soup kitchen. There we were given sandwiches, soup, fruit and a drink - I think all paid for by the NUM. Harsh times and one's that are often not understood. The strike itself was futile because Scargill was after bringing down Thatcher, as they did with Ted Heath in '74. What Scargill did was he used the fact that most of the miners wanted better pay for working in poor conditions, as well as job security - for his own agenda. He (Scargill) is as much to blame as anyone else. The stories should be continued to be told, because whilst the strike did destroy the industry, it more importantly destroyed whole communities which perhaps could be seen as a part of the reason for the social problems we now have today. Link to post Share on other sites More sharing options...
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