1984-5 Miners' Strike and Colliery Workings Plans

Archive Collection
  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 217 SWCC:MND/25
  • Dates of Creation
      1876-1985
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
      English
  • Physical Description
      8 boxes, 15 plans Some of the colliery working plans are in a delicate condition and may not be produced. Please contact the repository for further details.
  • Direct Link

Scope and Content

Contains material relating to the 1984-1985 Miners' Strike and Colliery Workings Plans from collieries in the South Wales Coalfield.

Administrative / Biographical History

The miners' strike of 1984-1985 was one of the most bitter industrial disputes Britain has ever seen. The year-long strike involved hardship and violence as pit communities from South Wales to Scotland fought to retain their local collieries. The catalyst for the strike was the announcement by the National Coal Board (NCB) on 6 March 1984 that it intended to cut national capacity by 4 million tonnes and close 20 pits with the loss of 20,000 jobs.

On 12 March 1984, Arthur Scargill, President of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), called a national strike against the pit closures. The decision to strike was technically illegal, as there had been no national ballot of NUM members. Miners in Yorkshire and Kent were the first to go on strike, followed by miners in Scotland, South Wales and Durham. Britain was to witness a fierce, hard fought battle involving the government, police, press and the NUM.

Bitter disputes still remain over the tactics all parties used; the use of the Metropolitan Police in local mining villages, accusations of biased press coverage, flying pickets used to discourage strike breakers (or 'scabs' as they were known in mining communities) from working. The strike saw the holding of mass meetings and great marches. As the demonstrating increased, spreading to other economic targets, there were violent confrontations between pickets and police. Opinion was divided in the face of picket violence and tragedies which occurred, for example the death of David Wilkie, a taxi driver, who died taking two 'scab' miners to work at Merthyr Vale Colliery, when a concrete post was dropped from a bridge onto his car.

An important source of support for the miners came from within their own communities, particularly from the women. As well as actively joining picket lines, women organised soup kitchens and the distribution of food. They also were involved in conferences and rallies, marching behind banners with slogans such as 'Women Against Pit Closures'.

By January 1985 the strike was beginning to disintegrate as miners, facing increasing financial hardship, returned to work in increasing numbers. On 3 March 1985, the NUM's National Executive voted 98-91 in favour of an organised return to work. The miners returned to work defeated but not broken as they defiantly walked behind colliery bands and lodge banners, alongside the women and children who had provided them with such immense support.

Arrangement

Divided into 2 sub-fonds; 1984-5 Miners' Strike, and Colliery Working Plans

Conditions Governing Access

Please contact the repository regarding this collection.

Acquisition Information

Received from the South Wales Miners' Library in October 1994.

Note

Finding aid encoded by Julie Anderson July 2003.

Other Finding Aids

A paper list is available.

Conditions Governing Use

Please contact the repository regarding this collection.