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People’s History Museum marks the 40th anniversary of the Miners’ Strike (1984 to 1985)

1 February 2024

Objects and museum display for the Miners’ Strike (1984 to 1985)

People’s History Museum in Manchester is exploring the 40th anniversary of the Miners’ Strike (1984 to 1985) with a series of tours, events and archive openings taking place during March.  Britain’s longest and most acrimonious period of industrial action has left long shadows and deep wounds.  PHM’s events programme is for those that hold lived memories and those that who are yet to fully discover the events that unfolded from 6 March 1984.

Archive opening and guided gallery tour

On Saturday 23 March PHM is holding a special archive event and tour of its galleries, both of which will explore the 1984 to 1985 Miners’ Strike and surrounding events, 40 years on.

The Archive Team has selected items that highlight what took place and some of the key figures involved.  Visitors will be able to see papers from the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners campaign, the papers of MPs including Michael Foot and Judith Hart, material from Women Against Pit Closures and photographs of demonstrations and picketing selected from the Labour Party photographic collection.

The galleries tour with Dr Bob Dinn from PHM’s Visitor Experience Team will be a chance to hear about some of the key strikes that have taken place in British history, paying particular attention to the Miners’ Strike (1984 to 1985), and picking out objects that help to tell the story.

Visitors can book a morning or afternoon session, with each combining both the tour and archive visit.  Tickets are bookable in advance and start at £10 (plus booking fee), with more information available here.

Morning session
10.15am to 11.00am: guided tour
11.00am to 12.45pm: archive visit

Afternoon session
1.15pm to 3.00pm: archive visit
3.00pm to 3.45pm: guided tour

Fabric of Protest

On Saturday 23 March you can book a place on PHM’s Fabric of Protest workshop, which will be dedicated to stitching and creating as a way of exploring the solidarity demonstrated during the 1984 to 1985 Miners’ Strike, including by Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM).

Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners was a seemingly unlikely alliance that was formed four months into the strike and is depicted in the film Pride (2014).  Amongst LGSM’s fundraising endeavours was the infamous Pits and Perverts benefit, held at London’s Electric Ballroom on 10 December 1984 and featuring Bronski Beat as the headline act.  The LSGM archive was donated to People’s History Museum in 1991, where an appointment can be made to view it by emailing

Join artist Helen Mather from 1.00pm to 3.00pm to develop your own individual response, with pieces from PHM’s collection as your inspiration. Fabric of Protest is a creative workshop that is all about stitching, chatting and sharing ideas.  Full priced places are £15 (plus booking fee), with a limited number of free places available, and concession

2024 Banner Exhibition

The Miners’ Strike (1984 to 1985) is represented in the 2024 Banner Exhibition (until 30 December 2024), with banners being hugely significant to mining heritage as a visual symbol of strength and unity that would have been paraded in celebration by collieries and carried in solidarity by unions.  There are banners from Tyldesley Miners’ Association, which represented coal miners from Lancashire, and the Eastenders Against Pit Closures, Tower Hamlets Support Group, which campaigned on behalf of miners nationally until 1994.  They are joined by the Gays Against Fascism banner, from around 1977.  This banner was created in response to attacks that gay men were receiving from the National Front, and appeared on several marches during the 1984 to 1985 Miners’ Strike in solidarity with the striking miners.

The Miners’ Strike (1984 to 1985) is also a story told within the main galleries of the museum alongside other key strikes, with objects and artefacts helping to illuminate the events which began in 1984, but with roots that go far further back.

Amongst the objects on display is a poster featuring the iconic image taken by photographer John Harris during what would become known as the Battle of Orgreave (18 June 1984).  It features an image of Lesley Boulton who was a member of Sheffield Women Against Pit Closures.  Lesley is pictured calling out for an ambulance for an injured miner and as the poster states ‘The riot geared mounted policeman wielding the truncheon responds by swearing at her as he hits out.’

Another piece to look out for is the Parkside Flying Picket mug (1984).  Flying pickets was the term used to describe striking miners who travelled from their coalfields to mines where the strike was weakest.  Their use was controversial and led to some of the biggest confrontations with the police, who would stop and turn them back on the motorways.  The slogan ‘Coal Not Dole’ was seen on t-shirts, caps, mugs and badges worn by miners and their supporters at the time and there are a number of such pieces in the collection.

Collection Spotlight

Alongside the objects on permanent display, the Collection Spotlight case features regularly changing objects. To mark the 40th anniversary of the Miners’ Strike (1984 to 1985) the Collections Team have selected objects to highlight the role of Lesbian and Gays Support the Miners and Women Against Pit Closures (WAPC).  WAPC became the backbone of the strike; they attended rallies, went on picket lines, organised soup kitchens, fundraised and much more.  The pieces will include a beautifully illustrated ceramic plate by Jenny Hinchcliffe of the Manvers Colliery Women’s Support Group from around 1985.  There will also be a Women in Action mug from 1985 created by Lou Kenton; a fascinating figure who worked as an Ambulance driver and was a passionate activist.  From 1980 Lou started to produce pottery for trade union causes.

The Collection Spotlight objects will be on display from Wednesday 6 March 2024 (until Monday 9 September 2024).

PHM blog

Ahead of your visit to People’s History Museum there is a series of three blogs that are a recommended read.  Each with a different focal point, they explore the significance of the strike that came ten years before the Miners’ Strike of 1984 to 1985, what happened during the strike and the role of Women Against Pit Closures.  All can be accessed here.

People’s History Museum’s opening hours are 10.00am to 5.00pm, every day except Tuesdays.  Museum entry is free, with most visitors donating £10.  To find out about visiting PHM, its full exhibitions and events programme visit and you can keep up to date with the latest news by signing up to receive PHM’s e-newsletter.

For further information, to arrange a visit or interview please contact Fido PR: /

A selection of images is available here:

Notes to editors:
About People’s History Museum (PHM)
People’s History Museum (PHM) in Manchester is the UK’s national museum of democracy, telling the story of its development in Britain: past, present, and future.  Through an eclectic and colourful mix of historic and contemporary collections, featuring banners, badges, posters, photography and more, the museum celebrates the radical stories of people coming together to champion ideas worth fighting for.

Offering an engaging programme of exhibitions and events, collaborating with communities to create authentic content, the museum is Family Friendly throughout – inspiring the next generation to be active citizens.

People’s History Museum encourages visitors to be empowered by the past to make a change for the future.  We are all together in the fight for a fairer world.

About Arts Council England (ACE)
PHM is an Arts Council England (ACE) National Portfolio Organisation (NPO).  The work of PHM is supported using public funding by ACE, the national development agency for creativity and culture.  ACE have set out their strategic vision in Let’s Create that by 2030 they want England to be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish and where every one of us has access to a remarkable range of high quality cultural experiences.  From 2023 to 2026 they will invest over £467million of public money from government and an estimated £250million from The National Lottery each year to help support the sector and to deliver this vision.

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