Eleanor Whiteman

Eleanor Whiteman

Untitled, Eleanor Whiteman, BA(Hons) Photography, University of Brighton Faculty of Arts

50 pieces of silver

The South Wales coal field gave rise to hundreds of collieries. By 1913 Cardiff had become the largest coal exporting port in the world. Following the miners strike in 1984 only two deep mines remained working in Wales. The strike was a national struggle and threatened the very future of the industry; Tower endured the full brunt of the conflict, but the comradeship of the workers helped soften the blow of management tactics.

Untitled, Eleanor Whiteman, BA(Hons) Photography, University of Brighton Faculty of Arts

After closing due to lack of funding in 1994, Tower Colliery, near Hirwaun, reopened in defiance of the large scale pit closure programme under the Thatcher Government. 239 staff pooled their redundancy money and in 1995 Tower reopened as a cooperative and successfully produced coal until its closure in January 2008. This was, and still is, a unique achievement – no other mine, in the history of British coal, has been bought by the workforce.

Untitled, Eleanor Whiteman, BA(Hons) Photography, University of Brighton Faculty of Arts

Its closure in 2008 marks the end of an era, one that is woven with hardship, oppression and tragedy. The spirit of the Tower miners has never been broken.

         

Images

Images at University of Brighton, College of Arts and Humanities