DCSIMG

We want your striking memories

TWENTY-five years ago in March, tens of thousands of miners walked out at pits across the UK in what was to become one of the defining events in the history of mining areas like the Five Towns.

The year-long bitter conflict left an indelible imprint on the communities affected.

Click here to comment on this story

As the 25th anniversary approaches, the Express wants to hear your memories and pictures of the 1984/1985 strike.

With dozens of pits scattered across this area, thousands of people from the Five Towns became embroiled as the miners fought for their jobs and principles.

The strike officially began on March 5 with national walkouts sparked by the announcement that Cortonwood pit in Barnsley was to close.

The next day, the National Coal Board told unions that they intended to close 20 coal mines with the loss of 20,000 jobs.

Miners packed into Pontefract Town Hall to be told that the NUM's Yorkshire leaderhip was to implement the result of a 1981 ballot supporting a walk-out – and the strike was on.

The ultimately fruitless battle became one of the most aggressive trade union struggles ever seen.

Communities rallied round, organising soup kitchens, fundraising events and stalls selling goods to raise vital funds for the miners and their families.

Mass meetings, marches and picket lines were set up as miners fought to retain their only source of employment.

But the strike was marred by hardship and violence.

Protestors clashed with police at picket lines and huge splits were formed in communities were miners started drifting back to work.

Events that prompted the end of the strike included a brutal assault on a working miner in Castleford in November 1984.

The official end came on March 3 1985 when the NUM voted, by a small margin, to return to work.

Twenty-five years later and for many, the events remain fresh in their memories.

If you or your family were involved in the strike, we'd like you hear your stories.

Contact us by writing to Miners' Strike, Pontefract and Castleford Express, 12 Bank Street, Castleford, WF10 1HZ, or emailing editorial@pandcexpress.co.uk.

 
 
 

Back to the top of the page