To everyone who enjoyed, viewed, liked or re-tweeted our 2015 Advent Calendar – thank you! We have thoroughly enjoyed choosing the 25 items from our collection and then viewing the responses that they received online. We hope they’ve provided something interesting to look at during the last four weeks of miserable weather.
The purpose of the Advent Calendar was to showcase the wealth and breadth of materials we hold in our collections here at Miners’ Library. Rather than rely on the usual fare of books and pamphlets (as interesting as some of them may be!) we wanted to focus on other mediums and formats in order to give a fully-rounded view of our catalogue. These included audio recordings, artworks, posters, political cartoons, plaques, newsletters, magazines and banners.
We also wanted to highlight that industrial history is not (or rather, should not be) purely focused on male experiences and narratives. Several of our days focused on women’s history, from banners that celebrated female figures in politics to the article written by Elizabeth Andrews for The Colliery Workers’ Magazine in 1925. ‘The Women’s Page’ is forthright and political, covering topics such as declining industry, world peace and the futility of war. She mocks the hypocrisy of celebrating Armistice Day when the country treats its veterans so poorly, succinctly summarising:
How ungrateful and forgetful the nation can be to allow the heroes of one year become paupers of another.
Many of the most popular items in the calendar were from the 1984-5 Miners’ Strike. We hold a huge range of resources on this time, particularly for those interested in national (and international) responses to the strike from local communities, fellow workers, political activists and the arts. Day 10 was a signed poster for the LGSM-organised ‘Pits and Perverts’ gig in support of the Miners, an event re-created in the 2014 film Pride. The materials we hold on links between industrial communities and gay rights activists is something we hope to expand upon in our February blog, to coincide with LGBT History month.
We also wanted to draw attention to the materials we hold on the Spanish Civil War; the Volunteer for Liberty Christmas article and commemorative plaque were but two examples of a much wider collection. July 2016 will be the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the conflict and our blog will be highlighting the materials available at the Miners’ for anyone interested in exploring this period.
If you would like to learn more about any of the items that were part of the Advent Calendar, please get in touch with us!