Exhibit: Moving images of the miners' strike
Memories of the miners' strike and the days of heavy industry are relived in an exhibition of work in Whitby by photographer Keith Pattison.
Keith grew up around Teesside and much of his work documents the once thriving shipbuilding industry, as well as the miners’ strike and the way it ripped its communities apart.
He knows the affection the industry has on people in the Whitby area, with hundreds working in heavy industry over in Teesside.
Keith said: “I got in touch with Tom [at the Reading Room Gallery in Whitby, where his photos are showing].
“He was quite amazed with the interest that it provokes and that there is a big Teesside audience –ex-industrial people, and it triggers a lot of memories.
“He says people call in and talk about it for hours.
“I grew up as a kid in the 1950s and went to school on the bus past the steelworks.
“At 15, I went off to be interviewed for apprenticeships with all these huge companies that we thought would never disappear, and there’s not a trace now.
“The other thing is the community around the industry with shipyards and mining – the community built around the industry was closely tied and that’s gone too.
“I think people feel there is a nostalgia and a huge sense of regret that we have lost that.
“There are a lot of people that come to Whitby for days and weeks on holiday from Teesside but also the areas around the Leeds and Yorkshire coalfields.”
In August 1984, Keith Pattison was commissioned by Sunderland’s Artists’ Agency to photograph the strike in Easington Colliery for a month.
He photographed from behind the lines a community rallying together in the face of overwhelming opposition.
The strike – caught on camera above – shook mining communities to the core at a time of political turbulence.
Keith spent eight months in a Durham pit village during the height of the strike and took some of the dispute’s most poignant images.
It is believed almost 200,000 miners had participated in an industrial dispute that was seen as a battle between Margaret Thatcher’s economic policies and the organised working class. The National Union of Mineworkers eventually called off the action after a year.
You can see some of Keith’s work at the Reading Room on Flowergate in Whitby. Email reading [email protected] or visit their Facebook page thereadingroomgallery