Martin Walker Papers

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The papers comprise press cuttings charting the progress of the strike, miners' support group bulletins and newspapers, information on jailed miners, witness statements from those on the pickets, statements from arrested miners, articles and information on policing the strike, information on the coal mining industry and a small amount of photographs and post cards.

Administrative / Biographical History

Martin J Walker was born in 1947 and trained as a graphic designer. He has written books and articles while being an activist, political poster artist, investigator and a researcher.

During the Miners' Strike (1984-1985) He worked for the London Borough of Greenwich as the Advisor to the Police Committee, and head of the Police Committee Support Unit. At this time the London Labour Boroughs, headed by the Greater London Council (GLC), were trying to get some local autonomous control over the Metropolitan police and the Police Committees were set up to try and further this aim. It was the job of the Advisor to think of ways in which the Borough Committee could get the police to act on behalf of the council on a community level.

When the strike began, Martin Walker and a colleague, Susan Miller, offered to advise NUM officials and miners in Yorkshire on the police strategies both nationally and locally. They were eventually invited by Owen Briscoe to work at the headquarters of the Yorkshire NUM. They were given an office and various pieces of equipment and access to the legal workers and the officers in the building. They began advising pickets and taking reports of police behaviour on the various pickets. Walker and Miller gradually built up a picture of the police strategy and were able to brief the pickets before they went. They also interviewed them when they returned. They went on to organise the collection of statements from those who had been arrested. Miners were also trained and given advice on how to help those appearing in court.

Not long into the strike, Walker and Miller published a short volume about the police and the pickets. The Yorkshire NUM paid for the cost of printing and publication and thousands of copies were given out to pickets. A short time later a second volume was also given out to pickets, miners and miners families. Finally, still during the strike Martin and Miller co-wrote a third volume with Jim Coulter, which was combined with the first two and published as State of Siege.

Martin Walker's work on behalf of the miners culminated with two events. Firstly he was invited to speak to all the miners in Yorkshire at local mass meetings about their rights and police tactics. Secondly after the Battle of Orgreave, together with Susan Miller and Jim Coulter, he organised what was one of the largest mass civilian statement takings. His experience with lawyers in London helped him advise the NUM on which lawyers to use in Yorkshire with respect to the various cases.

In January 1985, Walker helped set up the National Organisation for Miners in Prison and Supporters (NOMPAS). NOMPAS mounted a political campaign to release men and women who were imprisoned during the strike. The organisation had a policy-making committee composed of miners and their relatives, which met twice a week. NOMPAS organised some demonstrations and pickets and for a short time published a journal called the Liberator.

After the strike had finished Martin Walker stayed in the coalfields interviewing prisoners and writing A Turn of the Screw; the aftermath of the Miners' Strike.

Arrangement

The papers have been arranged into the following series:

  • 1 Statements from arrested miners and information on jailed miners
  • 2 Witness statements from pickets
  • 3 Disciplinary procedures, court cases, advice and briefings
  • 4 Press cuttings
  • 5 Newsletters and supporters group bulletins
  • 6 Loose newspapers
  • 7 policing the strike
  • 8 Articles and reports
  • 9 Conferences
  • 10 Photographs, postcards and pamphlets
  • 11 Miscellaneous
  • 12 Correspondence regarding deposit

Conditions Governing Access

Access by appointment.

This finding aid contains personal or sensitive personal data about living individuals. Researchers will be required to complete a form requesting access to closed sensitive or confidential personal data under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA).

Acquisition Information

Martin Walker deposited these papers at the Labour History Archive and Study Centre (LHASC) on the 18th October 2001. The LHASC is based at the People's History Museum (formerly the National Museum of Labour History) in Manchester.

Note

Collection level description created by Janette Martin.

Other Finding Aids

A hard copy catalogue can be consulted in the LHASC reading room.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies of material in the archive can be supplied for private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents. Prior written permission must be obtained from the Archive for publication or reproduction of any material within the Archive. Please contact the Labour History Archive and Study Centre, Left Bank, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3ER Tel.: +44 (0)161 838 9190 or email archive@phm.org.uk.

Appraisal Information

No further appraisal, destruction or scheduling is expected to take place.

Custodial History

The papers were accumulated by Martin Walker during his work as an advisor to the Yorkshire NUM on policing strategies and later during his work for NOMPAS.

Accruals

Accruals are not expected.

Related Material

The LHASC also holds the papers of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners, 1984-1985 and a collection of newspapers relating to the Miners' strike. There are also references to the strike in the Michael Foot Papers, the Hilary Wainwright Papers and the Eric Heffer Papers. The Communist Party of Great Britain Archive also contains material on the 1984-1985 Miners' Strike including Party statements and support group correspondence and bulletins. The People's History Museum holds banners, posters and ephemera relating to the strike.

Material relevant to the 1984 Miners' Strike can also be found at the South Wales Coalfield collection at the University of Wales Swansea, Archives, Library and Information Services. There will also be relevant material in local and county record offices in areas affected by the dispute. Check the National Register of Archives for further information at www.nra.nationalarchives.gov.uk/nra/.

The Archive of the National Union of Mineworkers is held at the NUM office in Barnsley (Miners Office 2 Huddersfield Road, Barnsley,S70 2LS, England Tel 01226 215555)

Bibliography

Walker, Martin J, and Miller, Sue and Coulter, Jim. A State of Siege : politics and policing of the coalfields : the miners' strike. (London : Canary Press, 1984).

A Turn of the Screw: the aftermath of the 1984-85 miners' strike (London : Canary Press, 1985)

With extreme prejudice: an investigation into police vigilantism in Manchester (London : Canary Press, 1986)