70 years since nationalisation brought hope

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At the start of 1947, miners and their families marched to the pit heads and cheered as National Coal Board flags were unfurled.

It was Vesting Day, when the nationalisation of the coal mines brought hope that the dangerous working conditions and low wages of privately-owned pits would come to an end.

Seventy years on, a new exhibition has been launched to explore how public ownership changed the industry and brought new struggles for the miners.

By the People, For the People will be on at the National Coal Mining Museum until December, featuring illustrations by artist Nick Ellwood.

The exhibition includes recorded and written accounts by miners of nationalisation and the years that followed.

Co-curator Mark Carlyle said: “An important element of the creation of this exhibition has been a number of events during which ex-miners and their families have been encouraged to share their memories of nationalisation and the impact it had on their working and family lives, and their communities.”

Also included in the exhibition are 12 colourful vesting day flag designs by pupils from Headfield CE Junior School in Dewsbury, Netherton J&I School and Horbury Bridge CE school.

A launch event on Monday included readings from the Museum’s Coalshed Poets and music from Heath View School, the English Folk Dance and Song Society and Wakefield Music Hub.

A programme of events is planned at the museum, on New Road, Overton, as part of By the People, For the People.

Visitors will be invited to join a debate about the arguments for and against nationalisation and say what they would bring under public ownership today.

The exhibition will be on between 10am-5pm daily until December 6.

For more information log on to www.ncm.org.uk