Film ID: NEFA 15592 Video of NEFA 15592 Durham Miners Rally 1 DURHAM MINERS RALLY 1984 NO. 1: BANNERS AND ARRIVAL AT RACECOURSE 1984 Visitor TabsDescription Camera footage of the traditional annual parade of Union banners and brass bands at Durham Miners Rally on 14 July 1984, during the tumultuous year of the national miners’ strike of 1984-1985, shot by Newcastle-based production unit, Trade Films. Support for the striking miners is much in evidence amongst the many placards and women's group banners in the crowds. The rally went ahead that year although the Gala was cancelled. Miners, their families and supporters begin to congregate at the start of the rally on a rainy day. Some of the crowds carry placards supporting the miners’ strike, sporting slogans such as “United We Can Win” and “Coal not Dole” and various Socialist Worker posters can be seen. Teenage boys and younger children carrying collection tins for striking miners gesture at the camera. Close-up of the National Union of Mineworkers Yorkshire Area Cortonwood banner. A group march past carrying a cardboard placard that reads: “Arthur Scargill is Allreet. He Can Eat 3 Shredded Wheat”. A miner in a vest with the slogan “Gissa Job Mac” shakes a collection tin for striking miners. The crowd starts to march downhill, carrying their Union banners. A policeman on scooter escorts two cars driving guests through the crowds. A group of miners lift up a banner for the Monkwearmouth Lodge. General views of the parade with various brass bands along Elvet Bridge Road, some marchers carrying “Victory to the Miners” placards, a woman carrying Socialist Worker newspapers, and men holding video and sound recording equipment filming out front. Arthur Scargill marches by in the parade. There are close-ups of people in the crowd of marchers. A person walks past in a latex Margaret Thatcher face mask. There are close-ups of various banners, including Dalkeith Miners Women’s Support Group. Monktonhall Miners, National Union of Public Employees Northern Region, Durham Area Chopwell Lodge, Gateshead Families Support Group. Crowd scenes include many shots of the young children and women in the parade. A miner hoists up his trousers and begins to dance at the head of one of the colliery brass bands. Close-ups of different banners follow. These include Durham Area Sacriston Lodge, a Nottingham Area banner, Durham Area Vane Tempest Lodge, and a Women’s Action Group banner for the North Derbyshire area. The camera also focuses on individual faces in the crowd. Looking towards the corner of the Royal County Hotel, the march continues, with shots of the home made banner reading “Whittle Miners Wives – Coal Not Dole”. Women march past singing. A group of men carry the Union banner for the Yorkshire Area Cortonwood Branch. A miner in red plaid red shirt and a baseball cap covered in badges is amongst the crowd. The parade makes its way past the Royal County Hotel. The next shots record the arrival of the banners and marchers at the Racecourse. A stage with multiple microphones stands at the Racecourse, with political and Trades Union leaders on stage preparing for the speeches. Marchers continue to arrive. The final shots are of a group of women in the crowd assembled next to a Women’s Action Group banner, chatting about the march, leading politicians such as Dennis Skinner and union leaders that they have seen along the route, and the camaraderie of the Rally. Context The miners’ strike of 1984-1985 was one of the longest and most confrontational industrial disputes Britain has seen, pitting the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), led by Arthur Scargill, against Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government. On 12th March 1984 the NUM President called on members to strike in protest at National Coal Board (NCB) plans to cut 4 million tons of coal production, equivalent to the closure of 20 pits with the loss of 20,000 jobs. Five pits, including Herrington in County Durham, would go within weeks under an accelerated closure programme. By 14th March all miners working in the Durham and Northumberland coalfields had joined the strike. In 1984 there were 170 collieries in Britain, employing more than 190,000 people. Whole communities, once considered the backbone of industrial Britain, were built around the black stuff. In the three decades since the defeat of the miners’ strike more than 160 collieries have closed, a whole way of life has disappeared and many of the familiar landmarks of the coal industry have been eradicated from the landscape. This film of the 1984 rally, held in place of the usual Durham Miners Gala records the sea of women’s group banners and protest placards bearing “Coal not Dole” slogans are carried in support of the miners’ strike during the traditional parade along Old Elvet to the Racecourse. It was filmed by the Newcastle-based Trade Films, one of many radical and community-based film collectives formed in the 1970s and 80s who took advantage of new and cheaper video technology to document local resistance during the strike. Their work celebrated working class culture, de-constructed the media bias, police tactics and political double-speak, and highlighted the marginalised role of miners’ wives in the year long dispute. Thousands of video tapes such as The Miners Campaign Tapes, produced by six national film and video workshops including Trade, were circulated to miners’ groups across the country to help sustain and promote the strike.