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Left Archive – Christmas 1984 “Victory in 85! -Takeaway Edition” produced by the National Union of Mineworkers Nottingham area December 5, 2011

Posted by irishelectionliterature in British Politics.

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First off , needless to say this has no specific reference to Ireland, but may well be of interest to many of you who looked on with horror at the treatment of the striking miners in the UK during the miners strike.  This newsletter is from Christmas 1984 “Victory in 85! -Takeaway Edition” produced by Striking members of the National Union of Mineworkers Nottingham area. (apologies that the images are not in pdf format and look a bit of a mess -wbs may remedy this in due course)

I’ve a few bits in relation to the Hucknall Colliery and the strike, so a small bit of background information on the pit and the area.

When the initial pit closures were announced by the National Coal Board on the 6th of March 1984, Hucknall colliery in Nottingham was one of the 20 coal mines that was due to close. The closure of the twenty pits would result in the loss of 20,000 jobs.
As far as I’m aware Hucknall was the only pit in the Nottingham area due for closure. The rest of the Nottinghamshire mines were in general the most modern equipped and had most coal reserves,  so were not the most militant. You may also recall that the Nottingham area NUM did not fully support the strike. This in turn led to the foundation of a breakaway Union ,  The Union of Democratic Mineworkers (UDM) which was founded in Nottingham. This Union was a godsend to the coal board and the Thatcher government.
Twenty seven years on the “Reflections of 1984” section is a powerful description of the impact of the strike on ordinary workers, their families and communities.
The role played by the police force in the strike is mentioned in the opening paragraphs and later on in reference to Orgreave…

For the men who went to Orgreave. The memories of that day will have the most lasting effect of all. When the 1984 strike is mentioned in years to come. Orgreave will immediately spring to mind. A medieval battle fought in modern times.

The closing paragraphs say much too

Reflecting beck on 1984. we have sacrificed a considerable amount of money to stand by our principles and fight for our beliefs. The education we have received in return, money could not buy. The friends we have made throughout the Country like us for what we are, not what we have, the friends we have lost were not worth having in the first place.
As we cannot adopt the motto of ‘UNITY IS STRENGTH‘ in this Area. how about a new motto for 1985 :

Later on in the newsletter there are thanks to local organisations included are various Labour and Communist Party branches and even the Nottingham Coin Collecting Society.

*I posted Issue 1 of ‘Front-Line’ another Miners Strike newsletter here


1. Shay Brennan - December 5, 2011

Little known fact: the father and brother of footballer Andy Cole were striking Nottingham miners.


2. FergusD - December 5, 2011

Well I remember this well. My wife and I used to travel out from Nottingham with the support group/Labour Party to visit the striking miners and try and provide some cheer. They were small in number in Notts and really embattled. I felt gloomy about it then, frankly, and even gloomier now.

Most of the Notts miners felt they would be spared closures, deluded or what, and sadly the solidarity argument wasn’t enough. There must be lessons there.

I cycled round the Notts pits during the summer and it was like an armed camp. You would come round a bend and there would be minibuses of cops with riot gear parked up.

I’m not sure we will see a dispute quite like that in the UK again, as it has been de-industrialsed and there aren’t the big old industries to close. But still there must be lessons to learn from such a big defeat. It’s just that I’m not sure that we know what they are!


3. Happy Christmas …. « Irish Election Literature Blog - December 25, 2011

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4. Left Archive: Documents from the 1984/1985 British Miners Strike and support work in Tallaght, Dublin. | The Cedar Lounge Revolution - March 25, 2013

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