Thatcher funeral: Yorkshire miners bitter to end

Share this article
0
Have your say

Some Yorkshire former miners reacted to the pageantry in London by parading an effigy of Baroness Thatcher in a noose.

But in many former pit villages in South Yorkshire they simply decided to ignore the ceremonial funeral.

Residents of Goldthorpe were preparing to pull a replica of her coffin through the streets, before setting it ablaze.

An effigy of the late Tory leader had been strung up in a noose outside the Union Jack social club, with signs reading: “Thatcher the milk snatcher” and “Thatcher the scab”.

One home displayed a huge sign saying: “The Lady’s not for turning, but tonight she’ll be for burning.”

Residents stopped to take photos of the Rusty Dudley pub in the High Street, which was decked out with bunting and banners that said: “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, Thatcher’s Britain has gone bust” and “That’s another fine mess you’ve got us into, Maggie”.

In nearby Grimethorpe, though, only a handful of people turned out to watch the funeral service on the TV, in the working men’s club and none of those seemed particularly interested in what was happening.

Jim Sellars, 52, turned up in full mining gear, complete with a blackened face. He said he had come to drink to the memory of his father, also a miner, and not to watch the ceremony.

Asked about the cost of the London funeral, he said: “I think it’s disgusting. We have to pay for our own funerals, so why didn’t she pay for hers?”

Around Grimethorpe, former miners had put up a range of banners.

On the old pit winding wheel, at the northern entrance to the village, one banner said: “Thatcher died naturally but she murdered our pit.”

And on a footbridge over the main road at the other end of the village, another read: “No tears for Thatcher.”

Hundreds gathered outside the Union Jack Memorial Club in Goldthorpe, where the late prime minister’s effigy hung, with several men dressed in National Coal Board clothing and hard hats.

Tony Hiles, who picketed throughout the 1984-85 miners’ strike, said: “We had eight pits in a five-mile radius. The town used to be buzzing, in the villages everyone would go out. And she shut every single one. There’s nothing left.”