Photograph, Kent NUM members in London during march to Nottingham, 1984-85 strike.
This month’s object has been chosen by Stevie who joined the Kent Mining Museum for work experience. During her time with us, she also had the chance to speak to KMM volunteer Tim Hughes about his experiences and recollections during the 1984-85 strike.
“After an insightful conversation with Tim, I learned a lot about the 1984/1985 strike.
The National Coal Board (NCB) announced that they would be closing Cortonwood Colliery (South Yorkshire); however, their regional union said that they and the NCB should come to an agreement regarding the closure of the mine.
Miners from across the country took a vote on whether or not they would stand with the regional union and go on strike – while the Kent pits joined the strike, Nottingham did not support it.
There was a great deal of support for the Kent miners and their families. Tim recalls how the general public uplifted them and their cause, including how ‘truckloads of food arrived from Fleet Street.’ Money also came internationally from America.
Tim remembers being ‘humbled’ by the support given to the miners from the general public. That support, however, unfortunately did not change the fact that a great number of families still struggled; ‘no-one knew how long the strike would last.’
During this time, women were also very crucial in showing their support for those who worked in the collieries – they would assist in the pickets and some took on part-time work to try and bring money in to support themselves and their families. “