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3 Oct 2014
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This Sceptred Isle

The Miners Strike & the Brighton Bomb
In March 1984 the miners' strike began. Once more, a Tory government believed this was a direct challenge to the rule of government rather than an industrial dispute. It was generally depicted as a confrontation between the PM, Margaret Thatcher and the President of the NUM (the National Union of Mineworkers) Arthur Scargill. What followed has been described as some of the most violent confrontations between trade unionists and police ever seen in England. During the following twelve months, the miners drifted back to work. The strike collapsed. It did not end in a negotiated settlement. From that point, Thatcher had enhanced her image as an Iron Lady and Scargill was discredited enough never again to have any real industrial clout.

If the PM felt any sense of success over the miners, she felt none in the battle to counter Ulster terrorism. On 12 October, the IRA bombed the Grand Hotel in Brighton where the Prime Minister and most of her Party were staying while attending the Conservative Party Conference. Five people died as a result of the bomb.

John Betjeman
John Betjeman
Sir John Betjeman (1906-1984)

  • John Betjeman was born in Highgate, London.
  • His family was originally Dutch.
  • He went to Marlborough and Oxford but left university without a degree.
  • He began work as a cricket master for a prep school but quickly moved to journalism.
  • He wrote for the Architectural Review and edited the Shell Guides in1934.
  • He began to write poetry.
  • His poetry was full of social criticism especially about modern architecture and new towns.
  • He became Poet Laureate in 1972 and perhaps the nation's best loved post World War II poet.

did you know?
In 1984, Policewoman Yvonne Fletcher was shot dead in St James's Square, London, by a gunman firing from an upstairs window of the Libyan Embassy.

Select historical period

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1979Margaret Thatcher PM (Conservative)
Rhodesian settlement at Lancaster House
1980Southern Rhodesia becomes Zimbabwe
1981Prince Charles marries Lady Diana Spencer
Ronald Reagan President of the USA
1982Britain wins the Falklands War
1983Margaret Thatcher wins landslide victory
1984 Indira Gandhi of India assassinated
Death of poet, John Betjeman
1985 Mikhail Gorbachev succeeds Chernenko as Soviet leader
1986Elizabeth II first British monarch to visit China
1987Worst storm of the century rages over Great Britain
1988 George Bush wins US Presidential election
1989Tiananmen Square massacre

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