Sheffield meeting looks at tumultuous end to coal industry

On October 13, 1992 the Tory Minister, Michael Heseltine, announced 31 pit closures and the loss of 31,000 jobs.

Friday, 3rd August 2018, 5:09 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd August 2018, 5:13 pm
Local children take part in a demonstration organised by Sheffield Women Against Pit Closures at Houghton Main colliery in 1993

The news triggered massive demonstrations and the setting up of seven pit camps by Women Against Pit Closures.

Coal’s Death Throes, a meeting organised by the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom (North), at the South Yorkshire Festival at Wortley Hall on Sunday, August 12 revisits that tumultuous time.

Nicholas Jones, a former BBC reporter who covered the 1984-85 miners’ strike, will talk about the 1992 Cabinet Papers which, he says, “reveal a shameful episode of government duplicity and confusion”.

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Debbie Matthews and Flis Callow will speak about their new publication, You Can’t Kill the Spirit, which tells the story of the seven pit camps, including the one that Sheffield WAPC set up at Houghton Main pit in January 1993.

Granville Williams, who has organised the meeting, said: “The theme of the meeting echoes that of the recent play by Maxine Peake, Queens of the Coal Age, on the occupation of Parkside Colliery in 1993 by Anne Scargill and three other women.”

The meeting takes place at 3pm in the Unison Room, Wortley Hall.

For further information, contact Granville Williams via email at [email protected] or call 01977 646580.

* An evening celebrating the heritage of the mining industry takes place in Barnsley next month.

Britain’s biggest-ever mining disaster, an explosion on Wednesday, December 12, 1866, killed 361 miners and rescuers at the Oaks Colliery at Hoyle Mill.

Film-maker Stephen Linstead discusses and shows the multi-award winning Black Snow depicting the legacy of this disaster. BBC Radio 2 Folk Award nominee Jed Grimes will perform songs and stories of life in mining areas.

The event takes places at the Assembly Room, Barnsley on Friday, September 218. Tickets from or call 01226 327000.