I went on strike
Former Newstead miner Bob Collier vowed never to cross the picket line in 1984.
Demolition of Newstead Headstocks
Bob Collier was a miner at Newstead Colliery from 1962 to 1987.
In 1984, he arrived at work to find a picket by Derbyshire miners at the gates of the colliery. He didn't cross it.
Despite Nottinghamshire's vote to carry on working, Newstead miners had a meeting and some decided to go on strike.
"I knew from that day I'd follow them... It was something that had been inbred in me that you never cross a picket line.
Bob Collier on a march in 1984
"If you cross a picket line you get called and I was never going to have 'that' name called to me."
Bob's grandfather 'scabbed' during the 1926 strike and Bob knew from an early age he would never do that.
Bob believes that out of nearly 800 Newstead miners, approximately 600 went on strike.
This number dwindled as the weeks passed and by July 187 had returned to work.
"They took alternative entrances into the pit yard to avoid the picket line. People in cars and buses came by and, yes, we'd shout at them.
"What got the striking miners going was the selfish attitude of the working miners waving their pay packets at us, doing it deliberately to taunt us."
Bob Collier in 2009
Bob says it was never violent at Newstead.
"I had lots of close colleagues that went the other way... The hardest part was that you couldn't get across to them that if we didn't win this dispute then everybody would suffer."
In 1988, Newstead Colliery was closed and Bob watched regretfully as the number two headstocks were knocked down (see top picture).
"There should be something at least on every pit site to remind us of them."
last updated: 27/11/2009 at 10:44