Mining memories: Special series of reports mark 20th anniversary of Manton Pit closure

Miners Strike 28th  April 1984 Miners and supporters march through Worksop. Manton branch.
Miners Strike 28th April 1984 Miners and supporters march through Worksop. Manton branch.

On 11th February 1994 Manton Colliery ceased coal mining after 96 years. Just seven days previously, the Worksop Guardian ran a special report on the ‘death of Manton Pit’, joining voices from across the district in a final rally cry urging British Coal to change its mind.

But despite last ditch attempts by the National Union of Mineworkers to fight the closure and save more than 550 jobs - 1,500 including ancillary services - the grim reaper closed the colliery gates.

Manton Pit

Manton Pit

At the time, Manton NUM branch secretary Colin Brady said it was like ‘being stabbed in the back by British Coal’.

“Everything they have ever asked us to do at this pit, we have done it,” Mr Brady told The Guardian.

“There are eight pits in Notts and we are one of their most profitable.”

“Worksop is going to be a ghost town. We have lost six pits around the town since the 1985 strike.”

Manton was the 29th British colliery to close in the space of a year as part of a pit closure programme led by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Her Government claimed UK coal production was outweighing demand as huge stockpiles began to grow.

By 1994 collieries at Firbeck, Whitwell, Shireoaks, Dinnington, Creswell, Thurcroft and Bevercotes had all closed.

Most Worksop folk saw the closures as a very personal vendetta by Thatcher. Such was the resentment that some people even flew flags and banners to celebrate her death last year.

Now, 20 years after Manton Pit closed, Worksop Guardian reporter Hayley Gallimore is looking back on the life of Manton Colliery in a special series of features.

Focus is on the pit community, the fight to keep the colliery open, and the legacy left since its closure.

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