Miners transferred to Shireoaks

Archive Corner
Archive Corner

This week’s archive corner shows the Steetley Miners in the early years of the pit.

Steetley pit men voted by a 2-1 majority to accept the NCB’s plan to transfer them to neighbouring Shireoaks colliery.

The 500 strong workforce agreed to the pits’ merger in September 1981 and the offer of jobs for those who wanted them.

Their vote was influenced by the Board’s assurances that Shireoaks had a life span of 60 years.

Despite this, NUM officials preferred to see it as the closure of one pit, rather than the birth of a new one.

Electrician Eric Ford worked at Steetley for 22 years and called the double-barrelled name, ‘just a gesture.’

He said: “It will be forgotten in no time.”

“Steetley has closed for good, that’s for certain.”

And the president of the pit’s NUM branch, John Wheatley, accused miners’ boss Arthur Scargill of weak leadership over the closure/merger.

Mr Scargill had told miners at the 100-year-old pit that he could not support their fight against closure.

Mr Wheatley said: “We wanted his leadership and we couldn’t get it.”

“We were crying out for leadership.”

“He should have asked the delegates to support us.”

Two hundred workers were kept on for salvage and reclamation work and completed their job by summer 1983.

The end of each salvage shift brought Steetley’s closure nearer with one miner adding: “I’m bitter and fed up now and just want to get the job finished.”

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