Barnsley Museums Marks the 40th Anniversary of the Miners’ Strike

Barnsley Museums will mark the 40th anniversary of the Miners’ Strike, one of the most significant episodes in Barnsley and Britain’s history, with a year-long programme of events and activity beginning on Wednesday, 6 March 2024. 


The programme will run until the anniversary of the end of the strike in March 2025, including a series of blogs, films and podcasts, documenting the memories and experiences of local people who lived through the strike.

There will be activities, exhibitions, performances, and permanent installations at Barnsley’s museums and heritage sites. Local people will be able to share their memories of what was an extremely difficult time for many, at the Discovery Centre at Experience Barnsley throughout the year.

Barnsley Museums are also working in partnership with the National Coal Mining Museum of England to share local people’s objects and photographs relating to the dispute and its impact on their communities.

The Miners’ Strike of 1984-85 was a major industrial dispute that pitted the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) against the government. The strike lasted for a year and involved more than 100,000 miners across the country.


Many mining families faced extreme financial hardship. The year was marked by conflict on picket lines and in the streets of mining communities. Across the country almost 10,000 miners were arrested, the majority of whom were subsequently not convicted in the courts.

The strike and colliery closures over the following decade had a profound impact on Barnsley’s villages and towns. Barnsley’s communities, where mining was a vital source of employment and identity, were changed forever.


The anniversary programme will highlight the resilience, strength and solidarity of the people of Barnsley, who faced many challenges during the strike and through the pit closures that followed.

The programme will also look at how the town and borough have radically changed since that time, the successful and acclaimed transformation of the town centre in recent years, and the ambitious future vision now forged for Barnsley as ‘a place of possibilities’.


Highlights of the programme include:


  • Articles, blogs, award-winning films and podcasts featuring interviews with former miners and their families
  • A series of exhibitions at the Experience Barnsley Discovery Centre, including opportunities to reflect and share memories throughout the year
  • A powerful performance at Elsecar Heritage Centre by the Hand on the Tap theatre company 
  • An exhibition at Elsecar Heritage Centre, #Strike40, in early 2025 using testimony and images co-curated with local miners and their families.
  • Barnsley Museums will also be sharing information about events and activities planned by community groups across the borough


Cllr Robin Franklin, Cabinet Spokesperson for Regeneration and Culture, said: "The Miners’ Strike was a defining episode in our history. It is vital that we mark its 40th anniversary by sharing the memories of local people, giving them the opportunity to reflect on everything that happened in that year and also the immense changes Barnsley has seen since.”


The programme will run from March 6, 2024, to March 5, 2025, and will be accessible online and in person.


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