Orgreave

bloodbadge

The violent clash that occurred between police offers and pickets at Orgreave Coking Plant on the 18th of June 1984 was a key political moment of the strike and continues to resonate over thirty years later. While the authorities and mainstream media were quick to depict the event as unruly picketers reigned in by a desperate police force, subsequent evidence and accounts from those involved implicated the officers themselves in choreographing and instigating the violence. What was initially painted as mob violence is increasingly seen as a miscarriage of justice and the news, in 2016, that there would be no independent review into the ‘Battle of Orgreave’ was greeted with anger and disbelief.

The Welsh Campaign for Civil and Political Liberties (WCCPL)  collated information relating to the strike, particularly with regards to striking miners and their communities in South Wales. These formed the basis of the book Striking Back (available at the Library) and the interviews/transcripts have been deposited here at the SWML. While they mostly focus on the situation at home, several interviews discuss Orgreave – with both first and second hand accounts. This includes what they experienced, what they’ve heard and their opinions on the structure and intentions of the day.

A number of interviewees describe the apparent ease with which they found their way to Orgreave that day and the uncharacteristic assistance received from police officers. Accustomed to hostility, one comments:

You could have driven a double decker bus there.

Another describes the sense of entrapment:

There was no problem getting to Orgreave. On the way up all we saw was convoys of police. A general feeling among the boys was that it was like the Belgrano. We were there to be sunk.

This perspective is reflected in a discussion with Oakdale Women’s Support Committee. The interviewer notes:

Women took the view that the confrontation here was a ‘set-up’: the police passive and unusually helpful to those going to the picket, showing them parking spaces and waving them on with few stoppages.

Interviewees often express the opinion that items pelted towards the police from the back of the picket line were not thrown by miners. While possible suspects are suggested, the repeated claim across different lodges is worth noting.

Stones were thrown from behind us. They were hitting us. I am a miner and I am strong. If I threw a stone I would be able to hit a copper

The pickets started the push. Somebody behind threw bricks. I am convinced they were thrown by people put there by the police.

Orgreave17

 

Once the clash begun, reports of violence and brutality remain consistent. The testimony below describes the experience of a Maesteg miner and his friend:

[They] initially saw a police officer on horseback hitting a picket twice on the back of the head with a ‘billy club’, knocking him out. While he lay on the ground, a woman came to him and lifted his head. She then went on to the road from the pavement and tried to indicate to the riders of the charging police horses (by raising her arm) to slow down to avoid the unconscious picket. [He] then saw her clubbed once by a police rider across the side of the head and she fell to the ground. [They] then had to run to avoid the charging horses. [He] has indicated that he is prepared to act as a witness in the action that it is believed the woman intends to take.

Another witness describes his experience directly:

I was buying an ice cream in the village square. It was very hot. About 30 horses came into the square and I ran away. I saw a picket lying on the ground with blood pumping out of his head. He was semi-conscious. I called to 2 riot police to get an ambulance. They said ‘you’ll need an ambulance’. They hit me across the shoulders 3 times with big truncheons. They told me to ‘run’.

The records of the WCCPL offer a fascinating insight into a political event very much of its time. Without technology to capture the incident more objectively, a police-favoured narrative prevailed which, over several decades, has been weakened by contradictory reports, protests and campaigns. It is unlikely an event like Orgreave could unfold in the same manner now, making the injustice of the event even greater. If you would like to know more about the WCCPL, or to view the transcripts, then please do get in touch.

 

Advertisements

Orgreave (Cymraeg)

bloodbadge

Roedd y gwrthdaro treisgar rhwng yr heddlu a phobl yn bicedi yn Ffatri Côc Orgreave ar 18fed o Fehefin 1984 yn ddigwyddiad allweddol o streic y glowyr a dal yn bwysig ar ôl trideg mlynedd. Fe wnaeth yr awdurdodau a’r cyfryngau darlun y dydd fel picedwyr yn ymosod ar heddlu anobeithiol, ond mae tystiolaeth a straeon o’r bobl a oedd yn bresennol yn awgrymu bod yr heddlu wedi cynllunio ac ysgogi’r trais. Beth oedd yn wreiddiol, yn stori’r awdurdodau, yn ‘mob violence’, nawr i’w weld fel anghyfiawnder ac roedd pobl yn grac a digalon yn 2016 pan wnaeth y llywodraeth cyhoeddi na fyddan yn  dechrau adolygiad annibynnol mewn i ‘Brwydr Orgreave’.

Fe wnaeth y ‘Welsh Campaign for Civil and Political Liberties’ (WCCPL) casglu gwybodaeth i ymwneud a glowyr ar streic a’u cymunedau yn De Cymru. Fe wnaeth y rhain ffurfiwyd llyfr Striking Back   (ar gael yn y Llyfrgell)  ac fe wnaethon nhw storio’r cyfweliadau a thrawsgrifiadau yn LGDC. Er bod llawer yn sôn am y sefyllfa yng Nghymru, mae rhan yn siarad am Orgreave – gyda thystiolaeth llaw gyntaf ac ail. Mae hyn yn cynnwys beth wnaeth pobl gweld, beth wnaethon nhw glywed a barnau am strwythur a bwriadau’r dydd.

Mae llawer o gyfweleion yn disgrifio’r rhwyddineb pan trio cyrraedd Orgreave ar ddydd y frwydr a’r cymorth anarferol o’r heddlu. Yn gyfarwydd â gelyniaeth, fe wnaeth un person dweud:

You could have driven a double decker bus there.

Fe wnaeth un arall disgrifio awyrgylch o ymyrraeth:

There was no problem getting to Orgreave. On the way up all we saw was convoys of police. A general feeling among the boys was that it was like the Belgrano. We were there to be sunk.

Mae’r safbwynt hwn yn adlewyrchu yn sgwrs gyda Phwyllgor Cefnogaeth Menywod Oakdale. Mae’r cyfwelydd yn nodi:

Women took the view that the confrontation here was a ‘set-up’: the police passive and unusually helpful to those going to the picket, showing them parking spaces and waving them on with few stoppages.

Mae cyfweleion gwastad yn mynegi’r farn ni ddaeth yr eitemau a thaflwyd o gefn y llinell piced o lowyr. Er bod nhw’n amheus o nifer o bobl posibl, mae’n werth nodi bod yr un dyfal dros lawer o letyau:

Stones were thrown from behind us. They were hitting us. I am a miner and I am strong. If I threw a stone I would be able to hit a copper

The pickets started the push. Somebody behind threw bricks. I am convinced they were thrown by people put there by the police.

Orgreave17

 

Ar ôl i’r gwrthdaro dechrau, mae’r adroddiadau am drais a brwdfrydedd yn parhau. Mae’r dystiolaeth isod yn disgrifio profiad glöwr o Faesteg a’i ffrind:

[They] initially saw a police officer on horseback hitting a picket twice on the back of the head with a ‘billy club’, knocking him out. While he lay on the ground, a woman came to him and lifted his head. She then went on to the road from the pavement and tried to indicate to the riders of the charging police horses (by raising her arm) to slow down to avoid the unconscious picket. [He] then saw her clubbed once by a police rider across the side of the head and she fell to the ground. [They] then had to run to avoid the charging horses. [He] has indicated that he is prepared to act as a witness in the action that it is believed the woman intends to take.

Mae cyfrif tyst llygaid arall yn dweud:

I was buying an ice cream in the village square. It was very hot. About 30 horses came into the square and I ran away. I saw a picket lying on the ground with blood pumping out of his head. He was semi-conscious. I called to 2 riot police to get an ambulance. They said ‘you’ll need an ambulance’. They hit me across the shoulders 3 times with big truncheons. They told me to ‘run’.

Mae cofnodion o’r WCCPL yn cynnig mewnwelediad diddorol tu fewn i ddigwyddiad gwleidyddol o’i amser. Heb dechnoleg i recordio’r digwydd yn wrthrychol, fe wnaeth stori’r heddlu bodoli. Ond, wrth i’r degawdau newid, mae adroddiadau, protestiadau ac ymgyrchoedd wedi tanseilio’r stori yna. Mae’n annhebygol gall rhywbeth fel Orgreave digwydd eto yn yr un modd, sy’n gwneud yr anghyfiawnder hyd yn oed  yn fwy. Os yr ydych eisiau mwy o wybodaeth am y WCCPL, neu i weld y trawsgrifiadau, cysylltwch â ni trwy e-bost, ffon, Facebook neu Twitter.

 

 

Twm Brinley Thomas & Cyril Ifold

 

Across our Facebook and Twitter profiles, and on this very blog, you may have noticed a familiar face. Twm Brinley Thomas, has become something of a mascot for us here at the Miners’ Library. Although he’s now commonly seen on our social media profiles, Twm originates in a portrait that hangs over our Issue Desk . Twm is an emblem for us because he represents the human face of industry, mining and the social history of the South Wales coalfields. The purpose of this blog is to shed some light on this figure and the artist that drew him: Cyril Ifold.

(Many thanks to Caryl Roese for providing the information included in the biography below)

Cyril was born in Ystradgynlais in 1922 to a family with an artistic pedigree. His grandfather, Frederick, studied at the Royal Academy in London and was a regular at the Summer Exhibitions. His father, a miner, passed away when he was only eight years old, forcing Cyril provide for the family with jobs like newspaper boy and tinplate factory worker.

As a teenager, he began taking lessons from local retired art teacher Arthur Pawson. Over the next eight years, Ifold trained with Pawson, using anatomical books as instruction. Afterwards, he became a pit-boy at Yniscedwyn Colliery, Ystradgynlais.

During the Second World War, Ifold was still working underground whilst attending evening classes at the Swansea College of Art. He worked under the tuition of portrait painter Alfred Janes but, after leaving, worked only in isolation.  Although he was acquainted with Josef Herman, and sought advice, he did not take lessons nor imitate his style. Although disappointed by rejection from the National Eisteddfod and the Royal Academy Summer Exhibitions, Ifold was supported by his family, including his wife Agnella, and David Bell, curator of the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery.

He would often come home from a long shift down the mine and work through the evening. This hard work paid off in the 1950s and 60s; he begun winning awards and regularly taking part in exhibitions. He continued to paint into the 1970s, using a lean-to on his house in Seven Sisters as a studio. He passed away in 1986, aged 64.

Twm Brinley Thomas a Cyril Ifold

 

Ar draws ein cyfrifau Facebook a Twitter, ac ar y blog yma, efallai rydych wedi sylwi wyneb cyfarwydd. Mae Twm Brinley Thomas wedi datblygu i fod rhyw fath o masgot ar gyfer Llyfrgell y Glowyr. Er bod e nawr i’w weld ar ein cyfrifau ar-lein, mae Tom yn dod yn wreiddiol o bortread sy’n hongian dros y Ddesg Benthyg yn Llyfrgell y Glowyr. Mae Twm fel arwyddlun i ni oherwydd bod e’n cynrychioli’r wyneb dynol o ddiwydiant, cloddio a hanes cymdeithasol o’r meysydd glo De Cymru. Pwrpas y blog hwn yw goleuo ffeithiau am y ffigwr yma a’r celfydd a wnaeth paentio ef: Cyril Ifold.

(Diolch o galon i Caryl Roese am darpaur’r gwybodaeth yn y bywgraffiad isod)

Ganwyd Cyril yn Ystradgynlais yn 1922 i deulu gyda hanes artistig. Astudiodd ei dad-cu, Frederick, yn yr Academi Frenhinol yn Llundain a ddangosodd ei gwaith yn yr Arddangosfeydd Haf. Fe wnaeth tad Cyril marw pan oedd e’n 8 mlwydd oed; roedd rhaid i Cyril gweithio i gefnogi’r teulu – gyda swyddi fel bachgen papur newydd neu weithiwr ffatri plât tun.

Yn ei arddegau, dechreuodd Cyril gwersi o’r athro celf leol a oedd wedi ymddeol, Arthur Pawson. Dros yr wyth blwyddyn nesaf, wnaeth Pawson hyfforddi Cyril, trwy ddefnyddio llyfrau anatomeg er mwyn cyfarwyddo. Ar ôl hyn, ddaeth yn bachgen-pwll yn Faes Glo Yniscedwyn yn Ystradgynlais.

Yn ystod yr Ail Ryfel Byd, roedd Ifold yn gweithio dan ddaear a hefyd yn mynd i ddosbarthau nos yng Ngholeg Celf Abertawe. Fe wnaeth e weithio o dan peintiwr portreadau Alfred Janes ond, ar ôl gadael, weithiodd ar ei ben ei hun. Er bod e’n nabod Josef Herman, ac weithiau yn gofyn am gyngor, ni wnaeth Ifold cymryd gwersi o Herman neu gopïo ei arddull. Er cafodd e siom i gael gwrthod o’r Eisteddfod Genedlaethol ac Arddangosfeydd Haf yr Academi Frenhinol, cafodd Ifold cefnogaeth o’i theulu, gan gynnwys ei gwraig Agnella, a hefyd David Bell, curadur yr oriel celf Glynn Vivian.

Yn aml, wnaeth Cyril gweithio shifft hir yn y pwll glo ac wedyn gweithio ar ei gelf yn y nos. Fe wnaeth y gwaith caled llwyddi yn y 1950au a 60au, fe ddechreuodd e ennill gwobrau a chymryd rhan mewn llawer o arddangosfeydd. Parhaodd i beintio tan y 1970au, trwy ddefnyddio pentis ar ei thŷ yn Blaendulais fel stiwdio. Bu farw yn 1986, yn 64 mlwydd oed.

Ymwelwch â Llyfrgell y Glowyr i weld rhai o luniau Cyril! Rydym hefyd yn cynllunio i ofyn Caryl Roese am sgwrs yn y Llyfrgell bydd yn sôn am ei pherthynas gyda Cyril yn y dyfodol.

International Women’s Day: “Educate, Agitate, Organise” – Elizabeth Andrews

 

In her foreword to A Woman’s Work is Never Done, Glenys Kinnock reflects on the lack of recognition afforded to its author, Elizabeth Andrews. Her autobiography, published by Honno, is still the primary source for Elizabeth’s life and writings. Edited by Ursula Masson, the book contains an introduction that provides contextual information, several of her newspaper articles and a section on the key dates and events of her life.

Born into a mining family near Aberdare in 1885, Elizabeth married Thomas Andrews in 1910. She became increasingly involved with politics after moving to the Rhondda, becoming the first woman elected to the Executive of the Rhondda Borough Labour Party in 1916. In 1919, as a member of the Ministry of Health Welsh Consultative Council, Elizabeth gave evidence to the Sankey Committee on pit head baths and hygiene.

Elizabeth was a vehement socialist and supported various causes throughout her life, but it is perhaps her campaigning for the rights of working class women that deserves particular attention. During an era when, even in fledgling labour movements, the needs of women were often subjugated to those of men, Elizabeth frequently fought for improved maternity standards, childcare and universal suffrage.

Throughout the twenties and thirties, Elizabeth contributed to ‘The Women’s Page’ in the Colliery Workers Magazine. She wrote about strikes and food shortages, highlighted political hypocrisies and usefully explained to ordinary families how broader political changes would impact upon them. Ostensibly called ‘The Women’s Page’, her writings engaged with national and international issues. This was perhaps her way of indicating that the ‘women’s page’ would not box her in; her opinions both encompassed and extended the issues commonly viewed as relevant for working-class women.

For example, in the October 1926 edition of CWM Elizabeth focuses on the lockout. She addresses a section specifically ‘To The Women Folk”, arguing that “it is they who have to bear the biggest brunt of the fight, with its poverty and worries, but they are facing it with that spirit of determination which makes for the true spirit of heroism”. This acknowledgement of the impact of the strike on women and the domestic space was rare. It highlighted the role played by working-class women in the management and survival of their households, rejecting dominant notions that their domestic concerns could be separated from the world of industry. Elizabeth ends that same paragraph on a particularly celebratory note: “The children of to-day, who will be the men and women of to-morrow, will have cause to be justly proud of their mothers who helped so nobly in this fight”.

The Miners’ Library holds copies of Masson’s edition of A Woman’s Work is Never Done, as well as bound volumes of the Colliery Workers Magazines that contain Elizabeth’s writings. She demonstrates the contribution made by working-class women in fighting for the political changes that we now take for granted, as well as a reminder that histories of working-class life should not focus solely on male industries and activism. Glenys Kinnock’s forward aptly sums up Elizabeth’s ability to both effect change in her contemporary surroundings and look to the future:

In all things she was a woman of her times, and a  woman ahead of her times.

Diwrnod Rhyngwladol y Menywod: “Educate, Agitate, Organise” – Elizabeth Andrews

 

Yn y rhagair i A Woman’s Work is Never Done, mae Glenys Kinnock yn adlewyrchu ar ddiffyg y gydnabyddiaeth a rhoddwyd i’r awdures, Elizabeth Andrews. Mae ei hunangofiant, a argraffwyd gan Honno, dal y brif ffynhonnell ar gyfer bywyd ac geiriau Elizabeth. Golygwyd y llyfr gan Ursula Masson, sy’n cynnwys cyflwyniad sy’n darparu gwybodaeth gyd-destunol, nifer o erthyglau papur newydd a hefyd rhan ar y dyddiau a digwyddiadau pwysig ym mywyd Elizabeth.

Ganwyd i deulu glo yn agos i Aberdare yn 1885, fe wnaeth Elizabeth briodi Thomas Andrews yn 1910. Fe wnaeth ei diddordeb mewn gwleidyddiaeth tyfu ar ôl symud i’r Rhondda, lle ddaeth hi’r fenyw gyntaf i ethol i’r Pwyllgor Gweithredol Parti Llafur Bwrdeistref y Rhondda yn 1916. Yn 1919, fel aelod o’r Cyngor Ymgynghorol Cymraeg am Y Weinyddiaeth Iechyd, wnaeth Elizabeth ddarparu tystiolaeth i’r Pwyllgor Sankey am faddonau pen pwll a hylendid.

Roedd Elizabeth yn sosialaidd yn ymroddedig ac fe wnaeth hi gefnogi llawer o achosion yn ystod ei bywyd, ond efallai bod ei hymgyrchu ar gyfer menywod yn y dosbarth gweithio sy’n haeddu fwy o sylw. Yn ystod oes pan roedd anghenion menywod wastad yn cael ei bychanu gan dynion, hyd yn oed yn symudiadau llafur cynnar, roedd Elizabeth yn aml yn brwydro i wella safonau mamolaeth, gofal plant a phleidleisio i fenywod.

Trwy’r dauddegau a’r tridegau, cyfrannodd Elizabeth i’r ‘The Women’s Page’ yn y Colliery Workers Magazine. Ysgrifennodd hi am streiciau a phrinder bwyd, rhagrith gwleidyddol ac esboniodd hi i deuluoedd cyffredin sut bydd newidiadau gwleidyddol yn effeithio arnynt. Er gwaethaf yr enw, ‘The Women’s Page’, roedd ysgrifennu Elizabeth yn delio a phroblemau cenedlaethol a rhyngwladol. Efallai mai dyna oedd ei ffordd o wrthod cael eu bocsio; mae’r erthyglau yn cynnwys ac yn ymestyn y materion a oedd pobl yn gweld yn berthnasol i fenywod yn y dosbarth gweithio.

Er enghraifft, yn rhifyn CWM o Hydref 1926, wnaeth Elizabeth dynnu sylw at y ‘lockout’. Mae un adran wedi’i enwi ‘To The Woman Folk” ac yn dweud bod  ‘it is they who have to bear the biggest brunt of the fight, with its poverty and worries, but they are facing it with that spirit of determination which makes for the true spirit of heroism”. Roedd cydnabyddiaeth o’r effaith o’r streic ar fenywod a’r gofod domestig yn anarferol. Wnaeth hi ganolbwyntio ar y gwaith roedd menywod yn gwneud i reoli a chadw ei chartrefi, yn gwrthod y syniad bod problemau domestig ar wahân i’r byd diwydiant. Mae Elizabeth yn gorffen yr adran ar nodyn sy’n dathlu: “The children of to-day, who will be the men and women of to-morrow, will have cause to be justly proud of their mothers who helped so nobly in this fight”.

Mae gan Lyfrgell y Glowyr copïau o olygiad Masson o A Woman’s Work is Never Done, a  hefyd cyfrolau rhwymedig o’r Colliery Workers Magazine sy’n cynnwys geiriau Elizabeth. Mae hi’n dangos  cyfraniad menywod o’r dosbarth gweithio tuag at y newidiadau rydym nawr yn cymryd yn ganiataol. Mae hi hefyd yn atgoffa ni’r pwysigrwydd o ganolbwyntio ar fenywod yn hanes y  dosbarth gweithio ac nid dynion yn unig. Mae rhagair Glenys Kinnock yn gryno fedr Elizabeth i greu newid yn ei oes ond hefyd edrych i’r dyfodol:

In all things she was a woman of her times, and a  woman ahead of her times.

DOVE Workshop + Banwen Library

Banwen Library, located in the DOVE Workshop, belongs to Swansea University and is proud to be a community library that supports learning and offers resources for all. While it is a valuable service for many users, its location away from the other University campuses means that it is occasionally overlooked by those that could benefit from its services. This blog provides more information about Banwen Library , as well as our history with the DOVE Workshop, in which it is based.

SPhotoEditor-20171101_192131

The DOVE Workshop was the result of a concerted effort by a cross-section of women in the South Wales coalfields to ensure that the end of the 1984-85 strike did not mean and end to the mining communities themselves. The author of Up the Dove! Mair Francis – herself a key figure in its inception – describes the key aims and purpose of the DOVE workshop in her book:

“It was necessary to equip the women with the appropriate skills for the work force, to become multi-skilled and to widen the cultural, economic and social horizons by developing a holistic approach to education and training. This would include the implementation of equal opportunities measures, including crucially improved child care provision, family friendly work practices, home-based working opportunities, career breaks and opportunities for women to take up (or return to) education and training courses”.

With such aims in mind, the DOVE (Dulais Opportunities for Voluntary Enterprise) was born and, by establishing links across educational, civic and social networks, became a success. In September 1987, Glenys Kinnock opened the official DOVE premises in Banwen. A few years later, the Community University of the Valleys (CUV) project was launched, which aimed to deliver part-time degree programmes entirely within valleys communities. The CUV at Banwen was run by Swansea University’s Department of Adult & Continuing Education (DACE) and – as the South Wales Miners’ Library was the designated DACE Library – it was decided to send members of staff from SWML to Banwen to provide a Library service.

The DOVE Workshop has continued to grow over the years, introducing new and relevant courses as times have changed, and the Library has changed with it. The individual study spaces, computers and printers, located within a peaceful studying environment, offer an ideal space for revision, work and advice.Every Wednesday, between 9.00am – 3.00pm, Mandy from SWML is present in the Banwen Library to assist with book borrowing, account enquiries and general library advice. Having worked at Banwen for over twenty years, Mandy is a familiar face to its users and the other DOVE staff. Our new Librarian, Karen Dewick, can also be contacted for individual appointments at Banwen concerning relevant library issues.

20171101_144729

The importance of community-led projects and lifelong learning in the wake of the current political climate cannot be understated and Banwen Library supports this ethos by bringing resources and services directly in to the community. The LibraryPlus service at Swansea University allows locals students to use the Library for book collection, making their lives easier and aligning with the original aims of DOVE.

For more information about the DOVE Workshop, visit their website. Also, read Lesley Smith’s article in The Guardian about the role that the workshop plays in advising the community about practical and financial issues.