Object of the Month, March 2009
The Miners' Strike, 25th Anniversary
March's object was a satirical figurine of Arthur Scargill.
Kate Hart, Project Archivist chose this month's object:
I like this statue for its satirical look. The statue is wearing miners' clothes, holding a pick in his right hand and has a candle burning on his cap of liberty. You may not recognise his face but the mining symbols leave you with little doubt that it is Arthur Scargill, the leader of the Miners' Strike.'
The Miners' Strike, March 1984-March 1985
The Miners' Strike began 25 years ago this month. Some local strikes began on 5 March 1984 over pit closures announced by the Conservative Government. A national strike was called on 12 March.
The strike lasted for about a year and was one of the longest and potentially most damaging industrial disputes ever seen in Britain. Miners and their families suffered great hardship during this time. The strike ended in defeat for the miners. In 1984 there were 170 coal mines open in the UK. By 2004 only about 11 mines were still open.
Arthur Scargill was the president of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). On 12 March 1984 he called on NUM members in all coal fields to a national strike. He became the leader of the Miners' Strike and fought to defend the future of the mining industry against the policies of Margaret Thatcher and her Government and pit closures.