Mini Explore: ‘Coal not Dole!’

Coal not dole poster

Until the last decade, coal mining was once one of the biggest industries in the East Midlands, especially in Derbyshire which had many mining communities when the industry was at its height.

Just a few of months ago, the UK’s last deep pit coal mine closed for the last time. Another deep pit mine will close in December (Kellingley, in North Yorkshire) and after this there will be no more deep pit mines in the UK.

This is of particular historical significance because it reflects the changing nature of British industries and economy. There is also an underlying theme about workers rights which originates from the Magna Carta.

Employment rights, equal pay, fair working conditions and the right to protest have featured heavily in the loss of the mining industry. Over the centuries they have developed to become apparent features of human rights, which have evolved from the original Magna Carta clauses. Because of the impact of Magna Carta over the course of history, it remains our democratic right to be able to protest for fair employment rights.

This featured poster with the slogan ‘Coal not Dole!’ (D5756/5-7) was issued by the National Union of Mineworkers during the Miners’ Strike in 1984-85. Although not overly exciting to look at, it deals with the point relating to workers rights and employment. Perhaps it reminds you of this event?

A few months ago a blog was published about the Magna Carta as part of the Mini Explore Your Archive campaign. This year’s main Explore Your Archive week starts this Saturday.

For this year’s event we are welcoming poet and designer Jane Weir to the record office to talk about her work, inspired by archive collections.  To find out more about this free event or to book a place go to the Events page on our blog (just scroll back to the top of this page).

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