Wednesday, 23 February 2011

The Defiant Faces Of Manvers Main


I'm scanning again. I must have taken this photograph in the late 1970s or very early 1980s. It certainly pre-dates the Miners' Strike of 1984-85. It was taken in Rotherham on the occasion of the Yorkshire Miners' Gala and it shows one of the wonderful banners of the individual miners' lodges. Manvers' Main Colliery was in Wath-on-Dearne, near Mexborough, and the pit closed for good in 1988. By 2006 all the pits in the South Yorkshire coalfield had closed down. In the late 1980s. I used to drive through the ruined Manvers Main complex on my way home from work. Later, the buildings were demolished and have now been replaced with a series of light-industrial workshops and call centres. Working in a call centre may be less romantic than hewing coal, but it is certainly safer.

One of the delights of scanning old negatives is discovering the pictures within the picture. In this case it was a group of faces, fighting for exposure in the bottom right hand corner of the main photograph. There is not a single full face in the group, and when enlarged they are grainy and of less-than-perfect quality. But there is something about the eyes, the way they stare in defiance : a defiance that was tested to the full - and it must be said, broken - in the years ahead.

6 comments:

Chairman Bill said...

6 hour day? Was that one of their demands?

I'll write to the Daily Mail about this!

Alan Burnett said...

CB : If they have a 23 hour day in Scotland, surely Yorkshire is entitled to a six hour day.

Valerie said...

Interesting. The man in the trilby, an onlooker perhaps? I remember very well the strike at Saltley, Birmingham, when getting to work nearby was a major obstacle for me.

Alan Burnett said...

Well spotted Val, I think you are right about the chap in the trilby. As one of the later photographs in the sequence shows, they were marching past Rotherham Conservative Club at the time.

jennyfreckles said...

Brings back memories...I grew up in Mansfield, in the Nottinghamshire coalfield and Miners' Galas were such fun: all the marching silver bands and banners - and the mock-up of a coalmine that you could explore.

L. D. Burgus said...

Great shots!