It started in Fife - miner’s strike remembered 35 years on

Thirty-five years after the start of one of the most divisive industrial strikes in British history, an ex-miner has staged his annual pilgrimage at the site of the former Frances Colliery.

Thursday, 21st February 2019, 11:08 am
Updated Thursday, 21st February 2019, 11:56 am
Former miners Tom Adams, right and Bob Young mark the 35th anniversary of the start of the miner's strike of 1984/85 at the site of the former Frances Coliiery site in Dysart Fife.

Former pit worker Tom Adams made his annual trip back to Dysart this week to where the Frances once stood to remember the infamous miners’ strike of 1984-85.

Tom was there to mark the first day of the official strike, which went on for over a year.

You may also be interested in:

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Fife miners went on strike a month before the rest of their UK colleagues in what was to become a bitter war of attrition for the mine workers against Margaret Thatcher’s government, and a dispute that ultimately changed lives and communities forever.

“Frances and Seafield were out a month before the start as the coal board were sending men home due to a breakdown on one of the belt drives,” said Tom.

“We were on strike to save our jobs and communities.

“When we lost it wasn’t just miners that lost jobs – jobs were also lost in steelworks and on the railways as the three industries were dependant on each other.”

Motorists sounded their horns and passers by stopped to wish him well as he and fellow former miner and councillor BobYoung proudly held their miners’ union banner aloft at the former entrance to the pit site.

“It was good that people stopped to take photos and others peeped horns and waved,” Tom said.

“We will never forgive, and never forget, what the government did to the miners.”

Just over a year on from the first day of the dispute, on February 3, 1985, on what would be dubbed ‘Black Sunday’, as the national strike raged on, production ceased at Frances Colliery with the loss of 500 jobs.

More devastating news was to follow.

Just three days later it was announced that the main production face at the fellow nearby colliery at Seafield would also close, with a further 300 workers losing their jobs.

Frances Colliery never re-opened for production and closed for good officially in 1988.

With an interim report on an inquiry into the police handing of the strike in Scotland due to be made public in the coming week, Tom said it represents the first step in the call for a national inquiry.

He added: “With Welsh miners now wanting their say, it’s a positive step forward to getting the national inquiry that is long overdue and that miners deserve.”