Monday, 25 June 2012

56: The Slow Decline

A time was that almost all the men folk in the town were employed by the mine in some way.  Most worked underground but some worked up top, engineers and supervisors and such.  The managers all lived in big houses outside of town where the leaves were still green not coated in black, so they didn't count.

Men folk meant something different then too.  Now a boy is a man at 18, 16 if his family needs it, but back then a boy started man’s work at 12.  Sons followed fathers down into the dark and too often followed gentle into that good night, whole families wiped out in one collapse.

After the war, the decline quickened.  More mechanization meant fewer men.  Not just in this Valley but all over the country, men lost their work and families lost their income.  Morale was lower than it had been during the war even, but nothing could be done.  Then the pits started to close as the profit to be made from mining fell.  That was all the owners cared about in the end.

It was oil as well.  Oil became the fuel of choice more and more often.  It could be used for all kinds of things see, things you could never use coal for, so it wasn’t a surprise really.  More and more pits closed.  But nothing compared to the determination of one woman to smash the mining tradition.

Thatcher.  She started what did for us once and for all, drove the final nails in the coffin.  We tried to hang on and we did, for so long.  She turned communities in on themselves, made enemies of brothers and neighbours, played individuals against authorities.  Even after it was over, things never recovered.  Before long it was all but over completely.

At least that meant no more collapses and families rushing to the pit for news of survivors.  Mostly there is nothing to rush here for at all.

Inspired by “The slow decline of the porn industry

No comments:

Post a Comment