A Miner's Wife

Wed, 13/02/2013 - 11:00
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By Danny Cooke-This is a report sent to me by Linda Westwood who was a miner’s wife in 1984 

"The strike was not going to be easy as it was not balloted and we didn’t have the backing from big unions.

I had just got a mortgage and couldn’t pay it (once the strike started). Our savings went; we couldn’t pay electric, gas or food bills. We couldn’t clothe our two girls.

The mortgage company said 'leave it’; the gas and electric companies said 'pay what you can'. Other credit companies said the same as 'the strike won’t last long'.

1 year, 1 cold bloody year, 1 year of trying to cope, 1 year of talking your man out of not going back as you know that he would be a 'scab'. Not only would he be a 'scab' I would be a 'scab' wife and the girls 'scab' kids.

A year of accepting anything, food, clothes, scraps of food, wood. We had no coal so we had to find anything that would burn just to keep warm.

We had to take the girls to school during the school holidays for packed lunches so they wouldn’t miss a meal.

A supermarket have us a £15 voucher. I had to take a calculator to add up the shopping as I was scared to go over because that is all we had.

Me and two other women put our shopping in a trolley and pushed it home because we couldn’t afford the bus.

Some people think the strike brought people together.

It didn’t. It put brother against brother, mates against mates. Deputies did not come out on strike, they were paid. Pickets were pushing and shoving against policemen and the army.

Some miners saw there own brothers on the other side. 'Scabs' that went back could no longer live in the village or towns where they lived, they had to be escorted back (work to home), their homes had to be watched.

The death of one of our lads David Jones we all knew was awful. He died on the picket line.

Some people might have had a great strike i.e. Arthur Scargill and Maggie Thatcher but I didn’t!

All this heartache and suffering for those two to wage war on each other! We lost our livelihoods we lost everything! When they (miners) finally went back that’s when it got worse.

The mortgage people wanted their money. The gas and electric companies wanted their money and everybody else who was owed money wanted theirs too!

We eventually lost our home and had to beg the council for a house. We were homeless!

I still live in a 'pit' village even though there’s no pit.

The strike will never leave me. It will always be a very very bad memory." 

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