Rob Pittam stepping back 25 years
Miners' Strike 25 years on
Inside Out takes BBC Two's Working Lunch reporter Rob Pittam back to his home town of Ollerton in Nottinghamshire 25 years after the Miners' Strike. Ollerton was on the front line in the division between striking and working miners.
Rob wrote his first piece of journalism for 'Roundabout', a community newspaper during the strike and now he returns to the paper’s offices.
Rob’s Dad was a miner and the family moved down to Ollerton from the North East in the early sixties along with hundreds of others.
Rob's first published journalism
Pit closures in Durham meant they had to find work somewhere else.
There were plenty of jobs in the Nottinghamshire coalfield which couldn’t be filled with local labour. And they came with new homes.
The divide during the 1984 strike could roughly be drawn between ethnic origins.
The Nottinghamshire men worked. The North East men went on strike.
In June 1984 Rob wrote about miners having to go to work through a chorus of abuse from their neighbours and workmates.
Symbolic of the split was the definition of pubs in the town as being places for either workers of strikers.
Miners Welfare... two days later it closed down
Rob returns to the Miners' Welfare where he used to pull pints.
During the strike it became the base for the striking miners. At one point as the hardship increased over the 12 month dispute, 300 meals a day were being served there.
Rob remembers the welfare was always the centre of the community.
It was always busy. It was a place where whole families could go for a night out.
Two days after filming for Inside Out there the Welfare closed for good.
The Miners' Strike lasted a year beginning in March 1984.
The strike only began to crumble when the NCB offered miners various pay incentives to return to work before Christmas.
On 3 March 1985, the NUM's executive narrowly voted for a return to work.
Arthur Scargill retired as NUM president in 2002. Figures for 2002 show there were just 13 deep coal mines in the country where once there were 170.
In 1984 Rob wrote:
"How much of the split will remain when the dispute is over? For there will come a time when the people will have to face each other again."
"It is to be hoped for the sake of the community that common sense will prevail over the extreme attitudes"
Visiting Ollerton 25 years later there are still divisions.
But few want to talk about them.
Instead they’d rather think about the future and how to get through the recession.
Fifteen years ago Ollerton’s pit closed. Then the textile factories went.
Over 1,000 lost their jobs.
But the now ex miners fought back led by former NUM official Stan Crawford.
The old colliery site was bought for £1 and £4m was raised and then spent on reclaiming the land.
In the past nine years they’ve encouraged new businesses on to the site with the condition that the buildings are eco friendly.
Center Parcs has its head office there. There’s also a Tesco superstore.
More people work on the site now than did when it was a coal mine.
The site of the pit head remains and is being turned into a park - a park where they’ll remember the mining heritage.
last updated: 26/02/2009 at 12:09