Search is on for Falkirk women who endured the misery of the miners’ srike

Members of the NUM miners' union picket line clash with police outside Bilston Glen colliery.
Members of the NUM miners' union picket line clash with police outside Bilston Glen colliery.

The miners’ strike of 1984 is one of the darkest chapters in 20th century British industrial history, but the full story still hasn’t been told.

That’s the view of an English universities team who are compiling a new history of the dispute - but from the point of view of the women who lived through it.

In Falkirk area women in the pit community of Braes must have been affected, for example, but - say the University College London and University of Reading historians - there’s been no major historical study of women’s stories from the dispute.

Historian Florence Sutcliffe Braithwaite of University College London said: “We hope to interview women who live or lived in coalfield areas, and who remember the strike of 1984-85.

“We are seeking women with strong connections to mining communities – wives of miners, mothers, daughters, women who worked in the industry in any capacity, or women who had a strong connection to the industry and/or the strike through other means.

“We’re looking for women who both agreed and disagreed with the strike, and would ask anyone for whom the strike was part of their life to come forward and contribute.”

Natalie Thomlinson, historian at the University of Reading, said: “This was a hugely important moment in British history.

“In conducting this research, we want to write the history of women’s involvement in the strike and also shed light on a much larger question - how did women’s lives and gender roles change in mining families and communities across Britain from 1945?

“We want to look at women’s lives and attitudes as a whole, not just the strike.”

Victoria Dawson, a researcher on the project, added: “It doesn’t matter whether you went on marches or not.

“We want to speak to as many people as possible about the different experiences women and girls had.

“Perhaps you just got on with life quietly. Perhaps you knew women who were arrested.

“Even if you think you have nothing to tell us, please get in touch as your experiences are valuable.

“Our interviews will take about one to two hours, but we’ll fit in with you. We can come to your home, or meet you in another place where you feel comfortable.

“In the end, your words will feed into our research – and they might even end up in an exhibition we’re putting on at the National Coal Mining Museum for England.”

If you would like to contribute, or want more information, you can contact the project team by emailing coalfield-women@ucl.ac.uk or call/text Victoria on 07902 596116.

You can also follow the project on twitter: @CoalfieldWomen or Facebook: fb.me/CoalfieldWomen. Further information can be found at www.ucl.ac.uk/women-miners-strike<http://www.ucl.ac.uk/women-miners-strike>.