Queen Coal? Why Remember Women of the 1984/85 Miners' Strike

Coping financially during the Strike

The extract below is from an interview recorded with a miner's wife who was active in the 'Women Against Pit Closures' movement. The interview is among a collection of 47 held by the Women's Library, London in The Betty Heathfield Papers collection.

"We were a one parent family. Coping like a one parent family. We were without husbands. The kids were without fathers. But we managed to survive keeping our homes together for the men when they came home.

"About three weeks before the end of the strike they cut my money again. While I was receiving £26.00 they thought it was too much... I was receiving £19.55 for myself and two kids. That’s all. That was Supplementary Benefit... You would grasp a bag of chips and all you would survive on was a bag of chips – all day. [...]

"The worst part of the strike to me was the build up to Christmas. People had to be co-opted onto this toy committee. I wouldn’t have done their job. Not for the world. But somebody had to do it. They were repairing toys. They’d say ‘We mended a doll’s house today’ or ‘We washed a doll’ or ‘We repaired an Action man’. And I though ‘my God, how are we going to give every child a toy?’

"But out of the blue, to me there was a Christmas. Because to me Father Christmas came that Christmas. Because if you’d seen the joy in those kids faces . . . I cried and I cried and I cried. To see the joy on parents and children’s faces that Christmas."


Listen to the audio clip ' Money Lost During the Strike'  (using the link below).

View other relevant My Learning resources or see the teachers' notes page for discussion and activity ideas.

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Document icon Learning article provided by: National Coal Mining Museum for England | 
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