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  2. Booklist - Miners and Miners' Strikes - News From Nowhere Radical & Community Bookshop, Liverpool
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One section focuses on the vital creative links between music, pol Joan Hart always knew what she wanted to do with her life. Born in South Yorkshire in , she started her nursing training when she was 16, the youngest age girls could do so at the time. She continued working after she married and her work took he Thirty years on people are ready to look back and talk about what happened in England during this defining moment of industrial action. For a year over , members of the National Union of Mineworkers, their families and supporters, in hundr There, the majority of the National Union of Mineworkers did not support their union, working throughout the strike, later forming the breakaw Great Britain.

The miners' strike. It is the closest Britain has come to civil war in fifty years, setting the government against the people. David Peace's sweeping, bloody and dramatic fictional portrait of the year that left an indel Up ahead, Helen saw the police line harden into a barricade of bodies and shields.


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Resin batons thudded on Perspex shields; slow, thuggish, brutal. Goosebumps studded her arms and legs. Mary halted a yard from A gritty and nostalgic memoir from a Scottish miner's wife. Growing up in a mining family, Cath's husband Doug promised his father he wouldn't follow in his dangerous footsteps. But after struggling with terrible poverty in s Scotlan The dirty war fought by First published in , and set in the fictional valleys town of Cilhendre at the time of the miners' strike.

August arrives and the village Carnival is going ahead. In the heightened carnival atmosphere, more sinister undertones In the first half of the 20th century, strikes and Union battles, murders and frame-ups were common in every industrial center in the U. But none of these episodes compared in scope to the West Virginia Mine Wars. The uprisings of coal mi At the outbreak of the Second World War the government short-sightedly allowed thousands of miners to enlist in the armed services.

By the war effort was in danger of grinding to a halt because of a lack of coal. In answer Ernest Bevin, the Mini A first-person, insiders view of, probably, the last generation of A controversial new investigation in the Miners strike and how it changed Modern Britain. Before , Britain was an industrial nation, reborn from the ashes of the Second News from Nowhere will not obtain personal information from other organisations, and will not share, pass on or sell personal information that we hold about individuals to anyone else.

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Your email address Please check carefully that you have entered your email correctly. Down this belt a glittering river of coal races constantly. In a big mine it is carrying away several tons of coal every minute. It bears it off to some place in the main roads where it is shot into tubs holding half a tun, and thence dragged to the cages and hoisted to the outer air. It is impossible to watch the 'fillers' at work without feeling a pang of envy for their toughness. It is a dreadful job that they do, an almost superhuman job by the standard of an ordinary person.

For they are not only shifting monstrous quantities of coal, they are also doing, it in a position that doubles or trebles the work. They have got to remain kneeling all the while--they could hardly rise from their knees without hitting the ceiling--and you can easily see by trying it what a tremendous effort this means. Shovelling is comparatively easy when you are standing up, because you can use your knee and thigh to drive the shovel along; kneeling down, the whole of the strain is thrown upon your arm and belly muscles. And the other conditions do not exactly make things easier.

There is the heat--it varies, but in some mines it is suffocating--and the coal dust that stuffs up your throat and nostrils and collects along your eyelids, and the unending rattle of the conveyor belt, which in that confined space is rather like the rattle of a machine gun.

But the fillers look and work as though they were made of iron. They really do look like iron hammered iron statues--under the smooth coat of coal dust which clings to them from head to foot. It is only when you see miners down the mine and naked that you realize what splendid men, they are. Most of them are small big men are at a disadvantage in that job but nearly all of them have the most noble bodies; wide shoulders tapering to slender supple waists, and small pronounced buttocks and sinewy thighs, with not an ounce of waste flesh anywhere.

In the hotter mines they wear only a pair of thin drawers, clogs and knee-pads; in the hottest mines of all, only the clogs and knee-pads. You can hardly tell by the look of them whether they are young or old.

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They may be any age up to sixty or even sixty-five, but when they are black and naked they all look alike. No one could do their work who had not a young man's body, and a figure fit for a guardsman at that, just a few pounds of extra flesh on the waist-line, and the constant bending would be impossible. You can never forget that spectacle once you have seen it--the line of bowed, kneeling figures, sooty black all over, driving their, huge shovels under the coal with stupendous force and speed. They are on the job for seven and a half hours, theoretically without a break, for there is no time 'off'.

Actually they, snatch a quarter of an hour or so at some time during the shift to eat the food they have brought with them, usually a hunk of bread and dripping and a bottle of cold tea. The first time I was watching the 'fillers' at work I put my hand upon some dreadful slimy thing among the coal dust. It was a chewed quid of tobacco. Nearly all the miners chew tobacco, which is said to be good against thirst.

As Americans, we have read about the heat in coal mines, but most of us have never experienced anything like it,nor ever had a meal in those conditions.

Booklist - Miners and Miners' Strikes - News From Nowhere Radical & Community Bookshop, Liverpool

Then there is the depth itself:. Probably you have to go down several coal-mines before you can get much grasp of the processes that are going on round you. This is chiefly because the mere effort of getting from place to place; makes it difficult to notice anything else, In some ways it is even disappointing, or at least is unlike what you have, expected. You get into the cage, which is a steel box about as wide as a telephone box and two or three times as long. It holds ten men, but they pack it like pilchards in a tin, and a tall man cannot stand upright in it.

The steel door shuts upon you, and somebody working the winding gear above drops you into the void. You have the usual momentary qualm in your belly and a bursting sensation in the cars, but not much sensation of movement till you get near the bottom, when the cage slows down so abruptly that you could swear it is going upwards again. In the middle of the run the cage probably touches sixty miles an hour; in some of the deeper mines it touches even more.

When you crawl out at the bottom you are perhaps four hundred yards underground. That is to say you have a tolerable-sized mountain on top of you; hundreds of yards of solid rock, bones of extinct beasts, subsoil, flints, roots of growing things, green grass and cows grazing on it--all this suspended over your head and held back only by wooden props as thick as the calf of your leg. But because of the speed at which the cage has brought you down, and the complete blackness through which you have travelled, you hardly feel yourself deeper down than you would at the bottom of the Piccadilly tube.

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How deep the mines run is not something we can really imagine. I think it is comparable to hearing how much the Iraq war costs. When someone says it costs 'a billion dollars', we hear it but it does not really register as something real because it is so far beyond our experience. The same is true of the depth of the mines--both the going down and the 'traveling' horizontally underground:. What is surprising, on the other hand, is the immense horizontal distances that have to be travelled underground. Before I had been down a mine I had vaguely imagined the miner stepping out of the cage and getting to work on a ledge of coal a few yards away.

I had not realized that before he even gets to work he may have had to creep along passages as long as from London Bridge to Oxford Circus. In the beginning, of course, a mine shaft is sunk somewhere near a seam of coal; But as that seam is worked out and fresh seams are followed up, the workings get further and further from the pit bottom. If it is a mile from the pit bottom to the coal face, that is probably an average distance; three miles is a fairly normal one; there are even said to be a few mines where it is as much as five miles.

But these distances bear no relation to distances above ground. For in all that mile or three miles as it may be, there is hardly anywhere outside the main road, and not many places even there, where a man can stand upright. You do not notice the effect of this till you have gone a few hundred yards. You start off, stooping slightly, down the dim-lit gallery, eight or ten feet wide and about five high, with the walls built up with slabs of shale, like the stone walls in Derbyshire. Every yard or two there are wooden props holding up the beams and girders; some of the girders have buckled into fantastic curves under which you have to duck.

Usually it is bad going underfoot--thick dust or jagged chunks of shale, and in some mines where there is water it is as mucky as a farm-yard. Also there is the track for the coal tubs, like a miniature railway track with sleepers a foot or two apart, which is tiresome to walk on.

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Everything is grey with shale dust; there is a dusty fiery smell which seems to be the same in all mines. You see mysterious machines of which you never learn the purpose, and bundles of tools slung together on wires, and sometimes mice darting away from the beam of the lamps. They are surprisingly common, especially in mines where there are or have been horses. It would be interesting to know how they got there in the first place; possibly by falling down the shaft--for they say a mouse can fall any distance uninjured, owing to its surface area being so large relative to its weight.

You press yourself against the wall to make way for lines of tubs jolting slowly towards the shaft, drawn by an endless steel cable operated from the surface. You creep through sacking curtains and thick wooden doors which, when they are opened, let out fierce blasts of air. These doors are an important part of the ventilation system. The exhausted air is sucked out of one shaft by means of fans, and the fresh air enters the other of its own accord.

But if left to itself the air will take the shortest way round, leaving the deeper workings unventilated; so all the short cuts have to be partitioned off. I simply cannot even comprehend what it must be like to walk a mile, two or even three underground in a tunnel the width and darkness of my cramped New York City apartment closet. The mines in Utah have much wider tunnels, but the distances are just as great.

Down, down, down--over, over, over. Along the way, the body changes:. At the start to walk stooping is rather a joke, but it is a joke that soon wears off. I am handicapped by being exceptionally tall, but when the roof falls to four feet or less it is a tough job for anybody except a dwarf or a child. You not only have to bend double, you have also got to keep your head up all the while so as to see the beams and girders and dodge them when they come. You have, therefore, a constant crick in the neck, but this is nothing to the pain in your knees and thighs. After half a mile it becomes I am not exaggerating an unbearable agony.

You begin to wonder whether you will ever get to the end--still more, how on earth you are going to get back. Your pace grows slower and slower. You come to a stretch of a couple of hundred yards where it is all exceptionally low and you have to work yourself along in a squatting position. Then suddenly the roof opens out to a mysterious height--scene of and old fall of rock, probably--and for twenty whole yards you can stand upright. The relief is overwhelming. But after this there is another low stretch of a hundred yards and then a succession of beams which you have to crawl under.

You go down on all fours; even this is a relief after the squatting business. But when you come to the end of the beams and try to get up again, you find that your knees have temporarily struck work and refuse to lift you. You call a halt, ignominiously, and say that you would like to rest for a minute or two. Your guide a miner is sympathetic.

He knows that your muscles are not the same as his. But finally you do somehow creep as far as the coal face. You have gone a mile and taken the best part of an hour; a miner would do it in not much more than twenty minutes. Having got there, you have to sprawl in the coal dust and get your strength back for several minutes before you can even watch the work in progress with any kind of intelligence.


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  4. Coming back is worse than going, not only because you are already tired out but because the journey back to the shaft is slightly uphill. You get through the low places at the speed of a tortoise, and you have no shame now about calling a halt when your knees give way. Even the lamp you are carrying becomes a nuisance and probably when you stumble you drop it; whereupon, if it is a Davy lamp, it goes out. Ducking the beams becomes more and more of an effort, and sometimes you forget to duck.

    https://paddharemore.cf You try walking head down as the miners do, and then you bang your backbone. Even the miners bang their backbones fairly often. This is the reason why in very hot mines, where it is necessary to go about half naked, most of the miners have what they call 'buttons down the back'--that is, a permanent scab on each vertebra. When the track is down hill the miners sometimes fit their clogs, which are hollow under-neath, on to the trolley rails and slide down.