Notts striking miners build a future on the past

In the minds of many, when you say ‘Nottinghamshire’ and ‘miners’ strike’ in the same breath, the word ‘scab’ is not far behind.

Yet some of the bravest band of striking miners during the year long dispute of 1984-85 were undoubtedly those NUM members who lived or worked in Nottinghamshire.

Now Nottinghamshire NUM’s ‘Loyal to the Last’ men and women, together with their families, are raising funds to help set up a museum that tells the story of the Notts NUM as it unfolded through that 12-month strike, and to educate local children about their coalmining history.

It is being steered by the Nottinghamshire NUM Ex and Retired Miners Association, which was set up in 2005 to represent loyal NUM men and their families, and to provide on-going advice and support services.

At the helm are Eric Eaton and Ann Donlan, Chair and Secretary of the Association and its band of volunteers based in Mansfield. They are busy collecting equipment and memorabilia ready for the day they raise enough money to buy premises to house them.

Their target is £250,000 –  and they are definitely not deterred when eyebrows are raised as to whether they may be being a bit too ambitious. 

Since the idea was first floated in 2010 they have spoken at and taken part in events up and down the country, spreading the word and collecting donations  –  including the annual Durham Miners’ Gala. 

Here, in 2017, they offered visitors to their stall an armchair virtual reality tour of life underground as a coal miner aided by modern technology in the form of a headset and pair of special goggles.

Their ultimate vision, though, is to have a building owned and run by NUM ex-miners as a permanent base in Mansfield, which is in the heart of the former Notts coalfield.  It would be a social, cultural and educational hub as well as a learning resource and possibly part of a wider mining heritage trail, with a permanent exhibition that’s “good enough to knock your tabs back.”

In the meantime they have started staging monthly one-day ‘pop up’ events at the Discovery House, Mansfield Railway Station on Station Road  – NG18 1LP for satnav-ers.

And, thanks to National Lottery heritage fund cash, they have created an oral and video history that is available through Nottingham and Mansfield central libraries, as well as the Media Archive of Central England in Lincoln.

To find out what’s on next visit the events tab on their Facebook page: 

https://en-gb.facebook.com/pg/NottsMining/events/?ref=page_internal

You can find out more about the project through the website:

www.nottscoalminingmemories.org.uk

And if you want to donate either money or items from you loft, get in touch via email at:  info@nottsmining.org