You didn’t have the coal for your fire, nearly everyone had a coal fire and you had nothing to put on it so you ended up burning anything which was made of wood. If you had wood fence you took it down and you burnt it .We made a block from newspapers and paper and soaked it in paraffin and burned them on the fire . Brenda MacDonald .
I’ll never forget the day they went back .We went up to the pit with the men; we kept the kids off school. We started the strike as a family and we ended the strike as a family and everybody did the same. There was men women and children and we marched through Hetton with the banners and the band and everything. It was a slow walk up to the pit everyone was out clapping their hands, the place came to a standstill just came to a standstill. People who had supported us during the strike, shop keepers came out even one of the head teachers brought his children up from the school to see the men going back to work. It wasn’t singing and dancing, it was very sombre but then the men seen the support they had and that stirred them on. Juliana Heron.
On behalf of the women I would like to pay at tribute to our menfolk .To the miners of this country who have stood up and been counted in the fight not just to defend their jobs, their communities and their unions but they have stood up and defended the dignity of the working class .Can I say publicly that I salute the pickets, I salute the men and women who have demonstrated in the time honoured tradition of the British Trade Union movement and said to the scabs “You shall not pass unhindered”
And you hear the Tory’s scream about the Mass picket lines and in the same breath talk about all these miners sitting at home waiting to go back to work. Well you can’t have it both ways, because I think the truth of the matter is that the sight of the working class standing together frightens the hell out of them. Florence Anderson.
I use to go down to the picket line every day and stand and shout as hard as I could. When I came back into me street they were all just me neighbors and nothing changed but when I was on thatPicket line (Laugh) I use to throw stones as well.When we went to picket Philly Yard out loads of women went down .I took Graham up in his buggy .The police were there with their dogs calling us scum. I turned around and said I’m not afraid of you and am not afraid of your dogs ,Id rather eat grass than give into your lot . Pat Melvin .
I was brought up in the Southwick area; me dad worked in the shipyards until he had an accident and he ended up being unable to work. So we were brought up on benefits. Because we couldn’t get a pit house when we first got married we moved in with me in-laws .It was a very close-knit community and, a think we’ve lost that, it doesn’t exist now. Irene Tonkinson.
Our steps falter as we reach the cage,
The last shift, the end of an era .No more descending into the dark with your marras at your side. Man and boy toiling, helmet light shining, picks attacking rock finding the black gold inside.
Bait box closes forever more into the canvas satchel it goes as does the flask standing on the floor. Memories, evocative of this mine employ generation after generation .Our hands no longer working are still, what will we do now. Idle days, heavy hearts chocking back our sorrows. No longer going down the hole they shut our existence. Our livelihood! No more digging for coal .All our yesterdays, no tomorrows.
Cobbled webs of my thoughts
hang around your lanes.
A brass band nestles in my head,
cosy as a bed bug.
I’m reading from a balcony
poems of Revolution.
It’s Gala Day and the words are lost
in the coal dust of your lungs.
Your dark satanic brooding Gaol
throws a blanket over blankness:
a grim era of second hand visions
aches like a scab in a cell.
And rowing a punt up your Bishop’s arse
a shaft of sunlight on the river
strikes me only as true,
shining into the eyes of all the prisoners
swinging from Cathedral bells.
Old Durham Town, you imprison me
like a scream in a Salvation Army song,
release me soon: someone
get ready to hug me.
Today, One For All Productions has received £37,083 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting oral history project: Holes in Tights. The project focuses on the role of women in the 1984 miners’ strike and its impact on their lives.
The project will involve recording the stories and anecdotes of the women involved in the strike. These recordings will be accessible to the public through archives in local museums and libraries and used to form the basis of a theatre production which will be performed within the region. One For All Productions will be drawing volunteers from the local communities some of who will be trained in oral history interviewing techniques and camera / recording operations.
One For All Productions Ltd is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to work with marginalised groups, exposing them to the arts whilst developing arts and communication skills. Volunteers will work with heritage and arts professionals to research and deliver the projects aims and objectives developing skills that can be used in future careers or in a community context.
One For All spokesman John McMahon said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund. In 2014 it will be 30 years since the 1984 Miners Strike We believe the story’s and anecdotes of women activists involved needs to be preserved so that future generations can take pride in their local heritage and recognise the contribution strong women played within the mining community.”
Head of Heritage Lottery Fund North East, Ivor Crowther said: “This is an excellent project of great historic and cultural interest in the North East. The project tells the amazing stories of the women supporting the men during what became a symbolic struggle for the men of the community. Sharing these stories will cement their part in what was to become defining moment in British Industry.