Film ID: NEFA 12610 Video of NEFA 12610 Miners Strike, Pickets MINERS STRIKE, PICKETS 1972 Visitor TabsDescription Footage believed to have been shot by Durham Police Constabulary of pickets at Usworth Colliery near Sunderland during the miner’s strike of 1972. The film shows striking miners picketing at the colliery and negotiating with the police. They are also seen shouting at strike-breakers entering the mine and clapping at those who decide to leave. The film ends with a group of miners turning back a lorry making a delivery to the mine. The film opens on a pithead wheel panning down to a crowd of striking miners standing along a snow covered road. On the other side of the road is a line of policemen. General view of a crowd of striking miners. A police officer speaks with the crowd about allowing the other men into the mine and where they can peacefully protest. [Dated 1 February 1972.] The film cuts to a group of corralled miners being led by police along a snow covered path inside the mine yard. Besides a building with a sign attached to it saying ‘Usworth Colliery’ the police hold back a crowd of striking miners who are trying to push forward. Many of the men are screaming ‘scum’. The camera pans around and shows a number of strike-breakers entering a building in the distance. A policeman leads another away from the mine. The second officer is holding his head. General view of a line of policemen standing beside bus. On board more policemen can be seen looking out. Overhead view of the striking miners. Many are chanting ‘Out!’. The film cuts to a protestor who pushes the camera person. He is shouted at by another striker. He turns and walks away towards the crowd of other strikers standing beside the road. Overhead view of the crowd of strikers. The camera person is spotted by both a representative of the miners and a policeman who points for them to come down. General view of the strikers standing besides a building. A man with three whippets walks past. [Dated 2 February 1972]. The film cuts to a bus parked besides the building seen previously where the strike-breakers entered. A policeman speaks to the crowd about where they will be allowed to protest today. A senior police officer uses a megaphone to speak to the crowd of miners about letting the deputies through into the mine. In the background a placard can be seen that reads: ‘Keep Home Fires Burning – 7%’ A number of miners comes out of a building and walks through a cordon of policemen. As they pass the strikers begin to clap. [Dated 21 January 1972]. The film cuts to a general view of a group of striking miners standing in a road. It is snowing and many of the men are rubbing their hands together to keep warm. A British Leyland lorry belonging to H. Nichol & Son (GHd) Ltd drives up. The protestors approach and speak with the drive. The film ends with the lorry driving away. Context In the cold winter of 1972 Usworth Colliery miners refuse to keep the home fires burning during a national miners’ strike. Do you remember candle-lit dinners and the 3 day working week in 1972? On the 9th January the National Union of Miners (NUM) called a national strike in a pay dispute with Edward Heath’s Conservative government, the first since 1926. Looking back, these raw fragments of news footage of pickets, police and strike breakers at Usworth Colliery in County Durham are strangely disquieting, since coal mines have now all but disappeared from the British landscape. This film was discovered in the collections of the Durham Police, but is believed to be un-edited footage shot by Tyne Tees Television between the 21st January and 2nd February during the seven week miners’ strike. A policeman calling for a peaceful protest is heard to remark “We didn’t get a very good write-up last night … either as police officers or pickets.” The historical irony will not be lost on contemporary viewers who may remember both the 1974 strike, which saw Heath’s government voted out of power, and the divisive 1984-85 miners’ strike, one of the longest and most confrontational industrial disputes Britain has ever seen, leaving fractured communities in its wake.