The crowd funding appeal is up and running, and I’m still continuing with my search to find participants in the project.
Decided to try Neil Greatrex again, I can’t believe someone so active all these years with his opinion of the strike will not talk now. I’ll write a personal letter explaining the project and post it to his solicitor in the hope they will pass it on for me, we can but try in these things.
I’ve found two articles in online newspapers of ex-coal mining reunions. I’ve wrote to both papers in the hope these will pass on my details and the men will get in contact with good news. I need some right now, I’ve been working so hard on this lately but not getting anywhere. A much needed break needs to happen soon.
I’ve also been hitting facebook a lot lately seeing if that hold any luck in finding people, I feel thats half the battle, there are many names flouting about but most are from men on the picket lines and not those that retuned. I joined a group called “friends of Ellington/Lynemouth Colliery” and posted a link and some text explaining the project and asking people to come forward. I wasn’t sure what the reaction would be but it seems this page is not the page for me. Not giving up on facebook I’ve also sent a few private messages to people I’ve noticed worked down the pits. Nothing as yet to a reply but its still early days, I’ll follow up with a second message next week and then put a line though that method.
Other searching has got me two men celebrating the 75 birthday, other photography coal mining project and recently looking into getting ex-pits now coal mining museums to help get the message out there. A few have replied to my emails some with good news offer to put in on their website and one also said they’d happily include it in their newsletter. It has unfortunately just gone out but will be included in their next one. I’ve not hear back since sending through any text, will wait another week and again follow these up with museums that have yet to respond.
I did speak to a nice man at the Big Pit in South Wales, who explained he’s tried to get people talking for the 25th anniversary but could only get those that has stayed out until the end. He wasn’t aware of anyone still in the area that had broken the strike to forward my details onto but wished me luck and send me a magazine they published for the 25th anniversary of the strike. I’ve since re-mailed to see if they’d put a call out for people to come forward on their blog and expecting a reply via telephone on Tuesday. Finders crossed for that one but I’m guessing the need to give me this news means it can’t be in my favour.
The other big museum to reply was the NCM, National Coal Mining Museum. I was excited from the reply I received and was to expect a call with a few ideas they had on locating people. The only convent time we’d both be available was 5 days later. I told everyone about this call, couldn’t believe my luck was about to change. There was no guarantee this new search would bring anything but it was a new avenue to look down and that was good enough foe me, I’ve grown used to these turning up nowt. Unfortunately they’re recommendation was to contact the UDM, union of democratic mine workers. I felt so deflated at this call, I’d gone from being so excited about this call to believing I’d never get anywhere with this project. To believe in something so much and to continuously being a wall at each new turn is one thing, but to know there was no new avenue to look down dishearten me. I explained I’d looked into this option already and been given what seemed like the brush off. My emails are always ignored and it wasn’t until being persistent with calls did I get a reply with an answer that doesn’t make sense. Sending out a news letter to its members with my details is not breaking the data protection act, giving me their details would being doing this but I’m not asking for this.
With their recommendation I’ve recontact the UDM and again waiting for a reply to the email. Will follow this up with a call this week. So many follow ups.
I’ve also been looking at the structor of the collieries, who worked own the pits. Their roles within the company, the union they would have been part of and where they fall within the hierarchy of the workplace. It seems there are three unions within the pit, The NUM or UDM for the miners, during the strike this would only have been the NUM as UDM formed after the strike ended. The NACODS ran for the colliery overmen and deputies whilst the third was for the management, The Colliery Manager, Deputy manager and the under managers. This at that time know as BACM but has since changed to BACMTEAM when it branched out into other industries in 1994 and changed the name in 1998 to add the TEAM - technical, energy, administrative staff and management members.
The deputies are men that crossed the picket lines of collieries not open during the strike to do maintenance and check for gas whilst the NUM was out on strike. With this in mind I feel it is important to also record how they felt about having to go underground and cross the line in order to maintain the safety of working seams with in the pit and if they’d too come out on strike refusing to cross how this could have affected the duration and outcome of the strike.