Key dates in the the 1984-5 miners strike in Yorkshire

Surrounded by police, NUM President Arthur Scargill gives the results of an executive meeting in Sheffield on April 12 1984. Credit: PA

The 1984-85 miners' strike holds its place as one of the most acrimonious, bitter and contentious industrial disputes in british history.

It cemented political, geographical and ideological conflicts that became so deeply rooted that their effects in mining communities can still be seen today.

Mining families drew on the camaraderie of the pit community amid a background of increasing violence as tensions rose.

Here is a timeline of some of the key events over that year:

5 March 1984

National Coal Board (NCB) chairman Ian MacGregor, hired by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, lit the fuse on the strike with his announcement of 20 planned pit closures.

Some local strikes begin at Yorkshire collieries, including Cortonwood near Barnsley. The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) believed more were earmarked for closure.

12 March

NUM President Arthur Scargill says the numerous local strikes constitute a national strike. Not all miners agree, with many in Nottinghamshire refusing to walk out.

15 March

Wakefield miner David Jones becomes the first of eight people to die during the strike. He suffered fatal chest injuries after being hit by a brick. Three thousand people attend his funeral a week later in South Kirkby.

19 April

A special delegate conference in Sheffield sees the NUM call on all of its members to go on strike.

Aerial photo of the conflict between police and miners known as the battle of Orgreave on June 18 1984. Credit: PA

30 May

NUM President Arthur Scargill is arrested at the Orgreave coking plant, near Rotherham, and charged with obstruction. He is later fined £250.

18 June

The NUM calls for a mass picket outside Orgreave, aiming to disrupt the supply of coke to a power station in Scunthorpe. After several skirmishes between striking miners and police officers in the previous months, the largest confrontation breaks out.

Known as the Battle of Orgreave, it saw 93 arrests. More than 50 pickets and 72 policemen were injured. Ninety-five pickets were charged with riot, unlawful assembly and similar offences. To this day there are calls for miners to be exonerated.

July 1984

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher refers to the striking miners as the "enemy within" in a speech to the government's backbench 1922 committee.

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher speaking to police in York who have been on picket duty on September 26 1984. Credit: PA

19 November

As winter starts to bite, 97.3% of Yorkshire miners are on strike.

14 February

The number of striking miners gradually reduces over winter but remains at 90%.

3 March

Nearly a year to the day from the strikes at Cortonwood, the NUM calls off the strike following a vote of 98 to 91 in favour of a return to work. Two days after announcing the result in London, Scargill joins a march at Barrow Colliery near Barnsley. He says the campaign against job losses will continue. Margaret Thatcher speaks of her relief that miners will return to work.

A group of women march past Cortonwood Colliery on March 4 1985 as the strike draws to a close. Credit: PA

17 July

Prosecutions of 55 miners charged at Orgreave with rioting collapse after the trial of the first 15 falls apart. South Yorkshire Police faces claims it mishandled the clashes.

2 March 2024

Forty years on from the events of 1984 hundreds of people took to the streets of Dodworth near Barnsley to mark the anniversary. Arthur Scargill spoke to a crowd of ex-miners and told them to "never give up".

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