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March 2004
The Coal Strike 1984 - 1985
Plate commemorating
Commemorative plate from Clayton West NUM
Tony Benn called it a "civil war." Margaret Thatcher talked about the "enemy within." The 1984 -85 Miners Strike has now passed into history but, twenty years on, we look back at the dispute as it affected West Yorkshire.

End of an era: The Miners' Strike

Going Out in West Yorkshire

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March 6th 1984
National Coal Board (NCB) announce plans to shed 20,000 more jobs in the next financial year.

March 9th 1984
Yorkshire miners on strike after late shift.

March 12th
Energy minister Peter Walker issues statement in the House of Commons saying he will not intervene in the dispute.

Police at Kellingley (September 6th 1984) during picket by 4000 miners

March 13th
Yorkshire flying pickets close Bevercotes and Cresswell pits in Nottinghamshire and Whitwell in Derbyshire.

April 8th
Soup Kitchens open in Yorkshire for the first time since the 1920s.

April 17th
Wakefield Council provides school children with free dinners during the Easter Holidays.

April 19th
NUM special delegates conference in Sheffield reject national ballot and decide on rule change to a simple majority instead of 55%. The strike is officialy declared national.

May 4th
Miners wives in Castleford march on electricity office after cut-off threats.

May 24th
Concern about canaries at Kellingley Colliery.

May 25th
Arrests since dispute began reach 2570.

May 29th
Orgreave Coking Plant, Scunthorpe - 7000 pickets try to halt coking coal leaving. 84 arrests.

May 30th
Orgreave - Arthur Scargill arrested and 3000 pickets clash with police in riot gear.

June 4th
Police and pickets play football.

June 15th
Picket Joe Green from Kellingley Colliery killed outside Ferrybridge Power Station.
Picketing starts at the Selby Coalfield in an attempt to persuade construction and engineering workers not to go into the pits.

June 18th
Orgreave - 6500 pickets and 3300 police clash in the worst violence in a British industrial dispute since the war. Tony Benn calls it a "civil war." Arthur Scargill is taken to hospital with head injuries.

June 19th
Comenting on Orgreave Mrs Thatcher says giving in to mob rule would be the end of democracy.

June 22nd
8000 attend Joe Green's funeral in Pontefract.

July 13th
Local press report "near riots" and a trail of damage between Fitzwilliam, Kilnsey Drift Mine and Hemsworth Police Station.

July 19th
Mrs Thatcher, addressing the 1922 Committee, talks about the "enemy within."

3rd August
Pickets "hit and run" raid on NCB transport depot at South Normanton.

10th August
Anti-strike posters appear overnight in South Elmsall and South Kirkby.

13th August
The first Yorkshire miner goes back to work at Gascoigne Wood Drift Mine.

Fire breaks out at Fryston Colliery, face closed.

14th August
NCB announce the loss of a coal-face at Fryston Colliery at a cost of £3 million.

16th August
Second miner goes into Gascoigne Wood Drift Mine.

17th August 1984
3000 pickets at Gascoigne Wood. Attempts are made to extinguish an underground fire at Fryston Colliery.

6th September
4000 pickets at Kellingley Colliery.

26th September
Sit-in at Kellingley Colliery by 200 striking men.
Kirklees Council give £15,000 to the Salvation Army to be distributed to striking miners families.

Emley Moor
Dawn at Emley Moor, 23rd October 1984

10th October
Woolley miner returns to work 24 hours after being beaten up by hooded gang.

17th October
Policeman on picket duty at Woolley hit by two darts.Police and pickets clash at Kiveton Park.

19th October
2500 pickets from Denby Grange Colliery descended on Netherton village - 19 injured and 9 arrests.

23rd October
More than 1000 pickets try to prevent a bath attendant going to work at Emley Moor colliery.

video camera

8th November
First man returns to work at Cortonwood where the dispute begins.

23rd November
Michael Fletcher of Fryston Colliery beaten up by a gang at his home.

25th December
Anne Scargill joins her husband on the picket line at Ferrybridge Power Station.

27th December
Department of Energy reveal that coal imports increase by 75% in the first 10 months of 1984.

7th January
Miners return to work at Kellingley.

8th January
Coal produced at Kellingley for first time since strike began.

28th January
Five more men return to Sharleston despite pleas of pickets to await talks.

30th December
A striking miner rom Denby Grange is awaded the BEM in the New Year Honours list.

12th February
Mass picket (largest this year) staged in Yorkshire which halts, temporarily, the movement out of coal out of the new Selby coalfield.

Ledstonh Luck
The end of the strike - Ledston Luck, Castleford, March 5th 1985

20th February
9542 strike related arrests made during the strike with 7755 people charged so far and 3817 convictions.

27th February
West Yorkshire Police say dispute has cost them £8million.

2nd March
Yorkshire decides by a narrow majority to continue strike until amnesty for sacked miners is agreed.

3rd March
NUM delegate conference votes to return to work by a majority of 98-91. Arthur Scargill says: "We go back together. We will continue to fight pit closures and job losses...."
Most miners are expected to return to work on Tuesday March 5th.


The images are taken from stories on BBC Look North, transmitted during the strike.

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