A timeline of the Miners' Strike in Sunderland: 14 days to remember

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'This is our time to be in the front line'

It was a conflict which brought fresh news non-stop.

As the early days unfolded, so did new developments in the Miners' Strike.

Let's look at some highlights from the first fortnight.

Tuesday, March 6;

The Echo reveals plans by Durham miners to meet within days and decide whether to strike.

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An Echo interview with miners who felt their futures were on the line.An Echo interview with miners who felt their futures were on the line.
An Echo interview with miners who felt their futures were on the line. | se

Yorkshire's coalfield was already at a standstill as part of the NUM campaign against pit closures.

Wednesday, March 7;

Britain's biggest and oldest coalfield - Durham - was facing the most savage cuts announced in the McGregor 12-month plan.

It called for a production rundown of four million tonnes of coal and a loss of 20,000 jobs.

A breakdown of the NCB plans revealed in 1984.A breakdown of the NCB plans revealed in 1984.
A breakdown of the NCB plans revealed in 1984. | se

Friday, March 9;

New emerged that Durham miners would go out on Monday, March 11.

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Officials representing the coalfield's 13 lodges held more than three hours of talks and backed the strike call which was put to them by their executive.

Attempts to go to a pithead ballot on the issue were defeated.

Durham area NUM General Secretary Tom Callan said: "Durham has been moderate in the past but this in our opinion is the time to be in the front line."

He added: "Unless we do something now we believe that in two or three years the Durham coalfield is going to be ravaged."

Saturday, March 10;

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Miners President Arthur Scargill arrived in Sunderland to give a talk at the Barbary Coast Club.

He warned that more than half the pits in the region could be threatened with closure under the National Coal Board plans.

Arthur Scargill speaking at the Barbary Club in March 1984.Arthur Scargill speaking at the Barbary Club in March 1984.
Arthur Scargill speaking at the Barbary Club in March 1984. | se

But it was not all plain sailing for him as the wives of miners gave him a noisy reception.

They protested against the decision to call their husbands out on strike without a ballot.

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Sunderland North MP Bob Clay spoke at the same meeting and told Wearmouth miners that their own pit was not safe.

Monday, March 12;

Most of Durham's 14,000 miners obeyed the strike call and picketed their own pits.

Out on strike after Durham backs the call.Out on strike after Durham backs the call.
Out on strike after Durham backs the call. | se

Wednesday, March 14;

A blitz by flying pickets brought 75 per cent of Britain's pits to a standstill.

Thursday, March 15;

Every colliery at the North East was standing idle. The last to come out was Brinkley in Northumberland after being picketed.

Friday, March 16;

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Sunderland North MP Bob Clay told the House of Commons that the Government's attitude towards the miners would make those in Durham more determined than ever to protect their jobs.

Monday, March 19;

Thousands of police were mobilised to maintain peace.

And 44 pits returned to normal working after a weekend ballot in moderately-led coalfields.

But all the pits from Scotland to Derbyshire, including Durham, were still out.

The National Coal Board replied to claims that domestic coal supplies were running out on Wearside.The National Coal Board replied to claims that domestic coal supplies were running out on Wearside.
The National Coal Board replied to claims that domestic coal supplies were running out on Wearside. | se

Tuesday, March 20;

The National Coal Board refuted claims that it was giving priority for coal to major organisations and power stations.

The claim was made after a centre for the unemployed at Town End Farm said it had up to 15 calls from people who were worried about the lack of solid fuel.

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