Project to explore impact of miners' strike in St Helens

Gary Conley outside the gates of Sutton Manor which saw clashes between miners and police

Gary Conley outside the gates of Sutton Manor which saw clashes between miners and police

First published in News by

THIRTY years since St Helens was in the midst of an increasingly bitter miners’ strike a project is to be launched to capture the stories of those most affected by the dispute.

The conflict between the Thatcher government and the National Union of Mineworkers marked the beginning of the end of the mining industry.

In 1984 there were 82 working coal mines in the country, three of which were in St Helens. Now just two remain in the UK.

For St Helens the closure of the mines had a lasting effect not just on local industry but within communities.

Some miners remained out of work for the rest of their lives and for some the consequences were more personal with many suffering mental illnesses and relationship breakdowns.

However some did go on to enjoy successful careers in other industries.

The project, part of the Cultural Hubs programme, and funded through Arts Council England aims to explore the way mining memorabilia can evoke memories of that period.

Former pit men in St Helens are being asked to choose objects that best represent their experiences such as lamps, pit tallies, helmets, boots or snap tins.

People taking part will also work with arts organisations Re-dock and MCQN ltd to transform the collection into an interactive experience including video.

Former mining families will be also able to learn film making skills as they share their stories.

To kick off the project a reunion will be held on Wednesday, September 10 at Chester Lane Library, Sutton Manor between 4pm and 7pm.

Former miners and their families are invited to bring and memorabilia.

For further details contact Gary Conley the council’s cultural co-ordinator and former miner on 01744 677449.

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