Preserving memories of coal mining's last days in Yorkshire

They might have been fighting a losing battle but they never gave up hope, and a quarter of a century later the efforts of campaigners to keep open Yorkshire's remaining pits are to be the subject of a book.

The Houghton Main Colliery demonstration in March 1993

A “pit camp” at Houghton Main Colliery near Barnsley was one of seven established across the area following the announcement by Industry Secretary Michael Heseltine in 1992 that 31 more deep mines would have to close. Some 125 had already gone since the 1985 miners’ strike.

The camps were organised by the Women Against Pit Closures movement, many of whose members had been active during the strike.

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“We had a caravan in the car park at Houghton and at least two women stayed in it every night,” said Caroline Poland, one of the organisers who is now helping to compile a book about the industry’s last days, as part of Sheffield University’s “stories of activism” project.

She is trying to trace some of the children who posed outside Houghton Main for the picture above. They are carrying placards with the names of the 125 pits that had already closed.

Ms Poland said: “It’s already getting difficult to remember, which is why it’s really important to try and get a record together before we all get too much older.”

The group can be emailed at [email protected] or contacted on Twitter @SWAPC1993