Saturday, December 02, 2006

Disappearing Britain

Mrs. Clarke told me about this series which I seem to have missed - I'll keep an eye out for a rerun. It's been shown on Channel Five.
This week's programme is about Tea and Tea Shops, last week's was about coal: the industry which employed a high percentage of the people I went to school with: in South Yorkshire in the early 1980's. A few years later, while studying for a degree the Miners' Strike began, and several people I knew spent all their time for over a year supporting the miners. Orgreave was just down the road from where my parents lived.
Here is a description of the Coal programme, which involved Ricky Tomlinson, who some of you will know from the Royle Family.

“It’s as if we want to forget that we once had a coal industry,” he says. Travelling to the site of closed mines, which have now been reduced to what he calls “acres and acres and acres of bugger all”, Tomlinson talks to retired miners about the hardships they endured and the camaraderie they enjoyed.

The work was punishing and dangerous. Women did hard labour at the coalface. Housing conditions were often abysmal. But local communities were bound together by intense loyalty and humour, and — even now — mines such as Tower in South Wales continue the fight against the collapse of the industry.

Remember that for MY PLACE you need to think about the things that you relate to from your own local area. The coal that I burn in my open fire on a cold winter night has a LONG history and it's worth reflecting on that as you place another piece into the flames...

No comments: