The Miners' Strike: Forty Years On

British Library, London.

The Miners’ Strike: Forty Years On

In Person Admission

Ticket type Cost (face value)? Quantity
ADMISSION £12.00 (£12.00)
MEMBER £6.00 (£6.00)
CONCESSION £6.00 (£6.00)
*Concession includes under 26/student/unwaged.
DISABLED £6.00 (£6.00)
DISABLED CARER £0.00 (£0.00)

Online Tickets

Ticket type Cost (face value)? Quantity
ONLINE £6.50 (£6.50)
ONLINE - MEMBER £3.25 (£3.25)
ONLINE - CONCESSION £3.25 (£3.25)
*Concession includes under 26/student/unwaged/disabled.

More information about The Miners' Strike: Forty Years On tickets

The Miners’ Strike: Forty Years On
Tuesday 5th March 2024 19:00 – 20:30 Pigott Theatre 

 A look back at the impact and legacy of the Miner’s Strike. 
This event takes place in the British Library and will be simultaneously live streamed on the British Library platform. Tickets may be booked either to attend in person, or to watch on our platform (online) either live or within 48 hours on catch up. Viewing links will be sent out shortly before the event 

This week marks the fortieth anniversary of the Miners’ Strike, the last great industrial battle of the twentieth century, which gripped the country for an entire year. 170,000 miners came out on strike across the coalfields of South Wales, the Midlands, North of England and Scotland in defence of their pits, which were scheduled for closure, and for their families and communities.  

While prime minister Margaret Thatcher denounced ‘the enemy within’ and the media highlighted the violence on picket lines, support groups were set up, run largely by miners’ wives, to raise funds for soup kitchens and food parcels to keep their families fed.  

Activists and trade unionists across the country and abroad supported the strike, but hardship finally forced the miners back to work. Pit closures, unemployment and the devastation of mining communities followed, shaping the bleak landscape of post-industrial Britain. Yet there are also amazing stories of former miners and their wives reinventing themselves, finding other careers and endeavoring to repair their communities. 

On our panel for a conversation on the significance and legacy of the Miners’ Strike will be   
Frances O’Grady, former General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress and the sister of a miner who was on strike; Siân James, a miner’s wife from the Swansea Valley who became a Labour MP; Robert Gildea, historian and author of Backbone of the Nation: Mining Communities and the Great Strike of 1984-85 and John Harris, Orwell Prize winning Guardian columnist and writer on British politics and pop music. The evening will be chaired by broadcaster and historian David Hendy. 

Robert Gildea is Professor Emeritus of Modern History at the University of Oxford. He works on resistance, rebellion and revolution and has used oral history as an approach for 25 years. His publications include Marianne in Chains - In Search of the German Occupation of France, 1940-1945, Europe’s 1968 - Voices of Revolt, and Fighters in the Shadows - A New History of the French Resistance. Backbone of the Nation was published by Yale University Press in 2023. 
John Harris is a journalist, writer and film-maker whose work appears regularly in The Guardian, and often deals with questions about the post-industrial condition, the politics of the Labour movement, and Britain's regional and national inequalities. Anywhere But Westminster, the video series he co-created in 2010, won the Orwell Prize for political journalism in 2021.  

David Hendy is a writer, broadcaster and Emeritus Professor of Media and Cultural History at the University of Sussex. He worked as a current-affairs producer at the BBC in the late-1980s and early-1990s, covering a range of domestic and international affairs, and has since written and presented several series for BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 3, including Noise: A Human History and The Essay. His latest book is The BBC: A People’s History. 

Sian James is the former MP for Swansea East. Raised in the Welsh-speaking mining communities of the Upper Swansea Valley, she began her political journey during the strike.  As a young mother and wife of a striking miner, she witnessed the devastating effects on local communities.  Her involvement in supporting the miners’ families was portrayed in the 2014 film Pride. Inspired to return to education, she then embarked on a career which covered both public and private sectors, national charities, rail companies, the prison service and as director Welsh Women’s Aid.  

Frances O’Grady is a lifelong trade unionist who joined the TUC in 1994 and was its first woman General Secretary between 2013 and 2023. A strong believer in protecting public services, she leads the TUC campaign to save the NHS. Appointed Baroness O’Grady of Upper Holloway in 2022 she co-led opposition in the Lords to the government’s anti-strike (minimum service levels) bill. 

Image by Ken Wilkinson 

In partnership with Yale University Press

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