Film ID:
YFA 3556

THE LONGEST YEAR

1985

Visitor Tabs

Description

This is a feature made by the ITV programme, Calendar, and presented by Richard Whiteley. The programme was aired on the day the Miners' Strike came to an end on 3rd March, 1985. It is a retrospective on the yearlong strike, specifically focusing on the economic consequences for local businesses and jobs.

The film begins with an interview with some local young people about their feelings with the end of the Miners' Strike. One expresses a hatred for the police and support for the miners, whilst another explains the lack of job opportunities without the pit and with only YTS schemes available. An academic states that the strike has politicised young people. School children play in the playground with a colliery in the background. Turning to Richard Whiteley in the TV studio, he announces that the report was by Ruth Pitt, meeting children from Thurnscoe, near Barnsley. Richard Whiteley goes on to speak of the effect the strike had on different mining communities. He then introduces a feature on local trading in Castleford where some tradesmen have lost their businesses.

The feature starts off with the Asquith's carpet shop in Castleford. The shop has lost a third of its trade resulting in closure of the shop and causing the owner to have to look for a new job. The people of Castleford have had to sell their goods at pawnbrokers and the Old and New Shop. The owner of the shop explains that the men are selling off their jewellery before the women sell theirs, and that his takings are down 38% since the previous year. The MP for Pontefract and Castleford, Geoffrey Lofthouse, explains that the Miners' total wage bill for the North Yorkshire area is something like £4m a week, which has been taken out of the local economy over the last 10 months, and that the Castleford Chambers of Trade state that 25% of their members will either have to close or lose staff.

The reporter then explains that on Humberside, the engineering firm J H Fenner, have had staff on a three day week as orders to supply the mining industry with conveyor belts has come to a halt. Also affected are Hull based Northern Dairies and Albert Hirst's black pudding factory in Barnsley, which has been forced to close leaving him with just a market stall. Jim Conduit of the National Federation of the Self-Employed states that, "the basic drop in trade is around 60%." Mr Asquith states that he blames Arthur Scargill.

The programme returns to Richard Whiteley in the TV studio, who states that the last item was by reporter Steve Benedict. He then introduces the next item from Whitemoor Colliery near Selby where, during Christmas week, a group of policemen join picketing miners, who are dressed in historic costume to sing carols. One of the miners in fancy dress, and wearing a policeman's hat, explains that they have always had good relations with the police at Selby. The police even jokingly join in the shout of "scabs" as working miners go into work. Inspector Arthur Lacy of North Yorkshire Police states that they are looking forward to Christmas, but that Santa's sack will be empty for the miners. Back to Richard Whiteley, who states that tomorrow morning the miners must start to re-build their lives.

Presenter: Richard Whiteley
Director: Gary Ward
Producer: David Lowen
Executive producer: Graham Ironside
Copyright Yorkshire Television Ltd.1985