#Strike40 Reflecting on the 1984-85 Miners' Strike

The 1984–1985 UK’s miners' strike was a major episode in Barnsley and British history. The year-long strike has been described as "the most bitter industrial dispute in British history". The number of person-days of work lost to the strike was over 26 million, making it the largest industrial action since the 1926 General Strike.

The impact of the strike and ensuing closures on Barnsley, a town with a strong mining heritage and with a very large proportion of its residents working in mining and related industries, was catastrophic. Lasting over a year, it saw many miners and their families face harsh financial hardship as they fought for their jobs and communities.

Throughout the year we will be looking back on the year long strike. This will include regular episodes of the Barnsley Museums podcast featuring interviews from former miners and the Barnsley Women Against Pit Closures. Barnsley Archives will create a snapshot of Barnsley in 1984 with weekly #OnThisDay posts which will be shared on our social media.

Other highlights include; a series of exhibitions at the Experience Barnsley Discovery Centre, a powerful performance at Elsecar Heritage Centre by the Hand on the Tap theatre company. There will be 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.

The archives team would also like to hear from you if you have any photos, documents or memories of the strike to add to the archive collections. Please make contact with us by telephoning 01226 773950 or emailing archives@barnsley.gov.uk 


This film was created as part of the 2014 exhibition, Coal Not Dole. Alongside this mini documentary the Experience Barnsley Youth Panel worked with David Bunting to create an animation, The Women of The Working Class won several awards and the Museums Association created a video case study


Online content



Barnsley Museums Natters, a podcast from Barnsley Museums returns for series two in March 2024 reflecting on the 1984-85 Miners' Strike

Coal Mining Objects

Coal Mining Objects

We've searched our collections to bring you twelve coal mining related objects.



Read blogs related to mining from the Barnsley Museums Blogsite.

Guide to Women Against Pit Closures collections held by Barnsley Archives & Local Studies

Women Against Pit Closures (W.A.P.C.) was a female-led national, political movement supporting miners, their families and entire communities. In Barnsley, these women fundraised, fed miners and their families, went on the picket lines, marches, organised events, meetings and rallies. This guide is grouped into subject categories for ease of use and will be helpful for both researchers and those with a general interest in the subject.

Upcoming Events

Billy Elliott jumping, the scene from the movie poster

Free cinema screening for over 50's - Billy Elliot - 19 March @ The Parkway Cinema

Learning resources

A child posing for a photograph outside the fake coal mine in Experience Barnsley

Miners' Strike trail - Self-led onsite resource

various coal mining memorabilia

Coal mining loan box

Two children examining coal mining objects including a miners lamp

Deep down underground workshop

The front cover of a book images from the past, coalmining

E-books (Barnsley Libraries)

Links to other organisations

National Coal Mining Museum England logo

National Coal Mining Museum England

Barnsley Main Heritage Group black and white logo

Barnsley Main Heritage Group