A Tunnel of Darkness

A miner from Ashington discovers his wife's infidelity. left alone he faces an uncertain future when the pit is set for closure. the strikes of 1969 force him to relocate to South Yorkshire where he meets a young school teacher. who pushes the young man to make a better life for himself.


13. 13


The right honourable Barbera Castle, Manny Shinwell, and Harold Wilson debated in the House of Commons to try and prevent a national strike between the NUM and the National Coal Board.

Manny Shinwell said that it was time to give these men what they were entitled to. He went on to say that in Geneva in 1931 he had managed to secure a seven and a half hour day for mine workers and today they are still asking for it. It is time we considered the merits of the proposal.

Babera Castle went on to say that the mines would lose 100,000 tons of production per day if the strike took hold. Over 80,000 men have already joined an unofficial strike because they want a shorter working week inclusive of meal- times; the NCB

has offered a forty hour week excluding meal-times.


Mr Robert Carr said; I’m sure the right honourable lady realises that we recognise the great improvement in industrial relations in recent years in the coal industry.


The argument went on but nothing was achieved.

Ged went to work that morning knowing his days at the pit were numbered he put his name to a proposal by his employer to relocate him to the South Yorkshire pit.

 There would be a coaches leaving at 7am tomorrow from the yard to take them to the new estate and to visit the coal mine.

Many put their names down because they were being paid basically for a day out. No one had to make a decision there and then if they didn’t want to but Ged would be the first to add his signature.

Ged couldn’t think about anything else through out the course of the day he got out his quota then got into the tub again. The tubs began to move along the track taking them back to the surface. Once the tubs stopped he got out and walked up to the cage.

He was in the first lot of men to get in. once full the foreman pressed the button to begin the winch. The thick chains took up the strain and the cage rose slowly to the surface.

Everyman rubbed their eyes as the daylight came into view. Once their eyes adjusted to the light the cage was opened to let them out. Once all the day shift workers were out then the night shift would be ready to go underground.

The cage took the first batch of men down the mine shaft when they got there the man in charge was just about to open the cage when there was an almighty explosion which shook the cage with its vibration.

All the men knew what that meant the cage was opened and all the men ran to help rescue men that would surely be either trapped or badly injured.

The cage was sent back to the surface Ged wanted to go back down but the rescue team and medics were already on their way. Every man on shift waited to find out how their work mates were.


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