Queen Coal? Why Remember Women of the 1984/85 Miners' Strike
The extracts below are from interviews recorded with 47 miners wives who were active in the 'Women Against Pit Closures' movement. The interviews are transcribed and held in the Women's Library, London in a collection called The Betty Heathfield Papers.
"Up together in the morning. He does the dusting. I do the fire. I do the cleaning. Wash the dishes together. He does the bathroom. So workwise it was nice to have someone to help. Once heís back in work heís always tired. I donít know what it is about working in the pits but you can guarantee heíll come home and heíll go to sleep. When my husband was home for that year he wanted me in the house with him all the time. He couldnít go to the club and have a drink because he didnít have any money. And when I used to go to my meeting down the Welfare Hall, his face used to be long, I was leaving him. If I went to a relation to have a chat Ė heíd be with me. And some days you want to get away from them."
"My husband never washed up or wiped up. He used to say Ďwell, I go to work Ė thatís what youíre here forí, but since the strike Iíve worked and he has been away picketing, but when he hasnít heís cooked my meal for when I got in and heís washed up and wiped up. So I think itís made him realise a lot more what I had to do. [. . .] We couldnít have got closer as a family. Weíve always been close Ė a happy family but somehow weíve got closer and stronger. Maybe because Iíve supported my husband in whatever decision heís made, Iíve supported him."
Download the worksheet on 'Women's Work: 1984/85 Miners' Strike' (link below) to read more women's experiences of their families and communities during the Strike.
Read about domestic life for women in Post-War mining communities
Read about domestic life for Victorian mining women