Lost snapshots of mining life captured strike

Dave Brennan - artist and former Maltby miner.
Dave Brennan - artist and former Maltby miner.

A series of drawings showing life in a South Yorkshire mining village during the 1984-5 strike are going on public display after being found in the basement of a union office.

The 21 drawings by artist Peter Price, recording daily life in his home village of Maltby, are part of an exhibition which opened in Wakefield.

Official launch of the With Banners Held High festival, starts with an art exhibition now on show at Unity Works.

Official launch of the With Banners Held High festival, starts with an art exhibition now on show at Unity Works.

They are described as providing a “vivid, humane record of that tumultuous time”, recording scenes of confrontation with the police as well as the struggle for survival as people scavenge for wood, eat meals provided by the Women’s Support Group, or hunt for rabbits.

The drawings were discovered by accident in the basement of the National Union of Mineworkers in Barnsley.

Chris Skidmore, Yorkshire NUM chairman, said a huge collection of items had to be removed from the national offices in Sheffield after the final round of pit closures in 1994.

He said: “Things had to get pushed into wherever we had space at Barnsley. There was no labelling or anything like that. The drawings were in a chest in the basement and I found them when I was looking for copies of The Miner from the 1970s for an exhibition.

The free exhibition at Unity+Works in Wakefield and runs from 9am to 5pm on weekdays until March 4.

It also features a selection of 12 paintings from the National Coal Mining Museum’s collection, including paintings by artists Dave Wilders and Harry Malkin.

The third strand of the exhibition is 20 paintings by artist Peter Watson, commissioned by the National Coal Board in the 1970s to provide a record of pits in the South Yorkshire region.

Granville Williams, who has helped coordinate the exhibition said: “This art exhibition links into our big event With Banners Held High on Saturday 4 March, and fits in perfectly with this year’s theme The Flame Still Burns: The Creative Power of Coal.”