Silverwood Logo by John Doxey background photo Mick Carver1900 - 1994

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Memories of being on Strike

by Mike Glennon

 

 

Now although the author of the article below Mike Glennon is not an ex Silverwood Miner his recollections of the strike make for some very interesting and sometimes humorous reading. Living and working at nearby Kilnhurst Mike recalls those days with anger at what occurred, and how it affected not only himself , but every Miner in England and their families.

Pickets at Silverwood photo copyright Jonathan Dabs

 

 Here are some of my recollections to do with the strike.

I worked at Kilnhurst Colliery from 1974 to 1985, and had the best working environment regarding comradeship and local gossip you could ever wish to find anywhere. It was a mine (as were the others) where everyone was from the same village and knew each other and everything about each other, whether that was a good thing or not - it suited us.
We at Kilnhurst were on strike 2 weeks prior to the National strike due to our own disagreements between Kilnhurst, Manvers Main, Wath Main and the management.
We were getting ready for the night shift to start back when we heard of the Cortonwood Miners coming out, so as we were also known as 'Sunshine Corner Pit' (due to the fact that when the sun shone we went on strike) we decided to join them in their fight.
Some other points worth noting was a friend of mine worked at the nearby Canningtown glass works and he asked me if I wanted to go fishing for the day, as he would pay for everything as he was a great bloke. So off we set down the A1 motorway into Nottingham heading for Gunthorpe Bridge only to be met by a roadblock at the first roundabout by at least 20 police. Andy was driving so he pulled up and remember we were going fishing so had Rods, Baskets, nets on the top of the car and was asked by a cop "where might you be going", Andy being the joker that he was, said "For a picnic what do you think, look at the top of the car". The cop responded by making us open the baskets and Rod holdalls before saying "You +++++++ are ++++++ pickets in disguise, turn this car around and ++++ of back to Yorkshire". We were actually in a Police state, with no travel outside of Yorkshire.
Secondary Picketing
As mentioned by previous people, we would arrive at the mine ready for duty along with a car full, all fighting for the same cause. Our destination was Hucknall Colliery in Nottingham. Unable to travel on the main routes for fear of being turned back we discovered farm tracks that 9 times out of 10 led nowhere, but the tenth route taken was the one that got us to where we wanted to go. When we got there we mingled with other striking miners form our area and from other areas and mines. We had one mate who was a bit of a lady killer and would go to the picket line on Night shift as the wives / girlfriends would come to work with their scabs to make sure they came to no harm (so we thought), but Mark had his own hidden agenda, as when the scabs women were going home he would chat them up and end up in bed with them until the next morning when we picked him up from somewhere on the streets. It was great fun watching the scabs come to work with their women and smirking and showing their pound notes to us, but Mark would say "You may be +++++++ the union, but guess who's +++++++ your wife when you are underground!" He was well known for his adventures during 84 / 85.
Orgreave Coking Works
This was called 'Custers last stand' and it was pretty hair raising at times, as we were there the third or fourth time and there were 6,000 police confronting us along with the mounted brigade. We were dressed in jeans, T-shirts and sandshoes. They were armed to the teeth in riot gear. It started of rather calm until the first lorry could be seen coming along the motorway (which was above us and clearly visible) then the chanting and pushing came from both side until the police decided they would make a stand against us and the battons came out and they hit anyone and everyone they could get to. We had some old guys with us who did not run as they thought they might be safe, but the cops saw them as easy prey and really got stuck into them. This made me realize we were not dealing with the local copper, but highly trained personnel who had no idea of policing. It was during this raid that it was noted that these so called cops all had brand new boots, uniforms, helmets etc along with no numbers on their shoulders. Now who were they? Rumours spread around that they were Army, and that went along with everything that happened, as their marching with the other police was completely out of whack.
Mike Glennon. Yorkshire area NUM member

 

Many thanks to Mike for the above. Mike would like to hear from anyone who worked at Kilnhurst and share memories.  mglennon@dodo.com.au

Have a memory of the strike you would like to add on these pages , Add your Memory

 

 

 

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