25 years since the Great Miners’ Strike

I was six years old during the Miners’ Strike of 1984-1985. Twenty five years later the resentment and hostility still runs deeply within many local Yorkshire communities, particularly those who were directly involved  in what was effectively civil war. No doubt the viscous life-blood of such emotions will remain undiluated by the passing of time: first hand stories and memories surrounding the savage repression and brutality exercised by the police; of families torn apart (during and after the Strikes);  and the political failure to meaningfully rehabilitate these post-mining communities, will ensure that those who cried “Coal, not Dole!’ will be never be fogotten.

George Brealey and Paul Castle: photograph by Don McPhee

George Brealey and Paul Castle: photograph by Don McPhee

In 2000-2001 I had the fortune to undertake some research in the village of Grimethorpe (of Brassed Off fame).

The warm spirit and resolve of the community(s) there shone through despite a socio-economic canvas still steeped in poverty and deprivation: a common fate clearly shared by many ex-mining villages across the UK.

Inevitably, there has been a great deal of commentary and reflection (and much of it worth reading ) in the British press about the political & economic impact of the strikes – but I want to draw attention to Miners strike: It was like a civil war” published in the Times. The author goes back to my town of birth, Pontefract, to revisit the enduring legacy 0f the strikes.

Finally, with respect to the iconic Don McPhee photograph (above) the Guardian asked the question, “What happened to the two protagonists?” the answer is found here: The miner and the copper.


About Richard J White

I am currently employed as a Reader in Human Geography. Having completed my doctoral thesis at The University of Leicester (Department of Geography) I worked as Research Assistant at The University of Warwick (Institute for Employment Research). I joined Sheffield Hallam University as a Lecturer in Economic Geography in 2006, and was the Course Leader for the B.A. (Hons) Human Geography degree between 2013-2015. Teaching Interests I have a broad interest in many radical approaches within both Human Geography, and other related social sciences. My particular expertise explores alternative/ post-capitalist forms of work and organization; anarchist and dissident geographies; geographies of activism and resistance; and critical animal geographies.
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One Response to 25 years since the Great Miners’ Strike

  1. roger yates says:

    During the strike, the Northern Animal Liberation League (NALL) organised a charity football match in aid of the miners. The teams were composed of the NALL vegans -v- a miner’s team. The game was dubbed ‘beanies versus the beefies’ by the press. The beanies won 2-1.

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