Blood Sweat and Tears - Photographs of the Miners’ Strike - 1984/85, by John Sturrock

John Sturock001.jpg
John Sturock001.jpg

Blood Sweat and Tears - Photographs of the Miners’ Strike - 1984/85, by John Sturrock

10.00

Catalogue from exhibition at Red Barn Gallery.
November 2015.
Introduction by Belfast and District Trades Council.
56 pages.
49 monochrome photographs.

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In early 1984, Margaret Thatcher and her government considered that conditions were finally favourable for a confrontation with the National Union of Mineworkers. They endorsed the closure by the NCB of Cortonwood Colliery in Yorkshire, knowing that this action would inevitably provoke a local, if not national strike, by the NUM.

To defeat the NUM meant not only revenge for the 1974 toppling of the Heath government, by the miners and other trade unionists, but a far greater prize, the significant weakening of the British Trade Union movement. At the time few people anticipated the consequences of an NUM defeat, not just for the loss of pits and jobs and the social harm of fragmented communities, but for the redressing of power in British society to the holders of financial capital.

These photographs evoke a memory of that defining moment, when tens of thousands of miners were willing to face the hardship of a strike, for more than their own individual self interest, and were portrayed by the state, determined to defeat them, as the enemy within.

John Sturrock, was one of a small number of photographers who covered the whole of the strike for the trade union and labour movement press. The book includes a comprehensive chronology of the strike.