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From working miner to cabinet minister: 30 years on from the mining strikes

Some say the Miners strike 30 years ago was the closest this country came to civil war. East Midlands pits were the battleground. Coach loads of pickets clashed with police and working miners who had defied the strike call.

For the third of our anniversary special reports, our Political Correspondent Alison Mackenzie spoke to Cabinet Minister and Derbyshire Dales MP Patrick McLoughlin. Today he's the Secretary of State for Transport. In 1984 he was a working miner.


Former miner: Free coal allowance U-turn a 'relief'

For 35 years, John Brennan worked as a miner in North Nottinghamshire.

When he was made redundant 8 years ago, one consolation was that he would continue to receive a free coal allowance.

A few months ago he got the news that it was being taken away. The allowance for John and hundreds like him was removed following the collapse of UK Coal earlier this year.

But today during a trip to Thoresby Colliery in Nottinghamshire, the Chancellor George Osborne announced the government was re-instating the allowance.

John Brennan says it's a huge relief.


'Pit talk' miners slang that is in danger of disappearing

With most of the coal industry gone from the area, so too have the words and phrases used by miners themselves.

But now there is a move to make sure so-called "pit talk" is preserved.

Like many tight-knit groups, miners developed their own slang called pit-talk, with words and phrases that were a mystery to outsiders.

If you have links with mining and the East Midlands collieries and can share any examples of pit talk, you can contact the team by emailing