Pickets, Police and Politics


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A four lesson plan for secondary schools explaining the background, events and aftermath of the Miners’ Strike of 1984-85.


Key Stage 3, 4



Learning Activity Pack

This resource provides learning activities for your students using our content.

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strike-en.pdf (Opens in a new window) Streic 1984-5 cy.pdf (Opens in a new window)

The coal industry underwent great changes following nationalisation in 1947, with considerable investment and the introduction of new equipment and mining techniques introduced. Until the mid-1950s, levels of employment and production remained steady. But with the decline in demand for coal and the challenge from Middle East oil, 50 collieries were closed in Wales between 1957 and 1964. There were two major strikes in the 1970s. The miners won in a strike over pay in 1972. Then in 1974, the then Prime Minister Ted Heath called a snap general election and lost. In the 1980s, the coal industry in Britain was one of the safest and most efficient in the world. However, Margaret Thatcher’s conservative government wanted to slim down what they regarded as unprofitable industries, and many formerly state run industries were privatised. Many pits now faced closure. At the same time, the government wanted to weaken the power of trade unions, putting them on a collision course with the National union of Mineworkers (NUM). The recession of the late 1970s and early 1980s had also damaged other Welsh industries. Therefore, unemployment in South Wales was already over 13%, much higher than the UK average. As a result, many miners and their families felt they had no choice but to fight for the right to work and the future of their communities. Download the pack above to use as a teaching guide to explore the miner’s Strike of 1984-5, or explore the items in the quick links to create your own collection or story.

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