GRANVILLE Williams has always had strong ties to mining communities in Yorkshire.
Now the retired Huddersfield University lecturer has edited a book filled with many of the memories, chronicling the events of the miners’ strike.
In the early 1960s, Williams taught in mining villages in the Dearne Valley. His first wife Kitty was a miner’s daughter and the couple lived in National Coal Board housing in Scunthorpe, Doncaster.
The book called Shafted: The Media, The Miners’ Strike and The Aftermath is to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the dispute of 1984 and 1985.
Mr Williams, 67, came up with the idea after discussing working life with a group of friends – and after being inspired by a drive through the Dearne Valley.
He said: “I was suddenly struck that there was no evidence anywhere that there was a mining industry, until you come to a roundabout and it says Cortonwood, which was the name of the pit whose closure triggered the strike.
“You drive across a whole swathe of land, where 60,000 or 70,000 people used to be engaged in the mining industry and there is nothing left.”
He says the book was written to give a voice to the miners and the title ‘Shafted’ reflects claims as to how the media treated miners at a national level.
The 15 chapters include contributions from Nicholas Jones, an industrial correspondent for BBC Radio News during the strike and Paul Routledge, the Labour editor of the Times, who looks at relations between trade unions and the media since the strikes.
Also contributing is Tony Harcup, who was with the Leeds Other Paper during the strike and examines the role of alternative media.
The book also has pieces of personal writing from Scottish miner Joe Owen, who was 19 at the time of the strike and a poem by Dennis O’Donnell.
There are two poignant photographs in the book – of the site of Cortonwood Colliery, now a Morrison’s Supermarket, and of Lesley Boulton, at Orgreave, who is protecting herself as a policeman on horseback swings a baton at her head.
Mr Williams said: “I felt that you didn’t get a clear picture of what it was actually about. You got a sensationalised view of picket lines, violence and so on.
“But you didn’t get a nuance view about what motivated people to go on strike. I personally can’t conceive how people could survive without money.”
The book looks at the motives of the miners. Granville said: “Talk to miners and they didn’t see it between Maggie and Arthur.
“They knew why they were out on strike, they knew what the issues were.
“They weren’t being manipulated or tricked into spending all those months in tremendous hardship in the mining community.”
He says local newspapers reflected best the real issues involved in the strikes.
“Local newspapers were more receptive to what the issues were, they mainly supported the miners.
“The miners were put in a position where it was an almost irresistible conflict.
“They had to fight, you couldn’t not try and save the pits, otherwise you would just be ground down.
“The fact that they were defeated by the Conservative Government did give the death sentence to the pits.”
He said: “The Miners’ Strike was divisive, Thatcher was divisive and Thatcherism was divisive.
“It was about changing Britain, getting rid of the unions and worshipping a kind of individualism and pursuit of wealth.”
Shafted: The Media, the Miners’ Strike and The Aftermath is published by Campaign For Press and Broadcasting Freedom, priced at £9.99. To order copies visit www.cpbf.org.uk/shafted