The South Wales Miners: 1964-1985

Posted on 30 April 2013
South Wales Miners

The booming coal industry of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was the main reason behind the creation of modern south Wales, and its miners were central to shaping the economics, politics and society of south Wales during the twentieth century.

This month, a new book published by the University of Wales Press explores the history of these miners between 1964 and 1985, covering the concerted run-down of the coal industry under the Wilson government, the growth of miners’ resistance, and the eventual defeat of the epic strike of 1984–5.

Written by Ben Curtis, The South Wales Miners: 1964–1985 explains how this particular period presented the south Wales miners and their industry with a whole series of challenges, threats and potential opportunities, on an issue of real national importance. Their interactions with the wider trade union movement and society during these years meant the miners were among the most important strategically-located sections of the British workforce during this time.

Speaking about the books significance, Dr Hywel Francis,MP for Aberavon and Founder of the South Wales Miners Library explained:

“This is a welcome and significant contribution to our understanding of the radical and benign politics of the south Wales miners in the post-1945 period. Implicitly, it raises questions about the wider legacy of the miners’ union in shaping the devolved Wales of the twenty-first century.”

The events of this period were, and remain, of crucial importance to a great many people in south Wales, Britain and the wider world. The South Wales Miners: 1964–1985 is the first full-length academic study of the miners and their union in the later twentieth century, a tumultuous period of crisis and struggle.


Ben Curtis is Research Associate at the Department of History and Welsh History at Aberystwyth University, and part-time History Tutor at the Centre for Lifelong Learning, Cardiff University.

The South Wales Miners: 1964-1985 (May 2013)
By Ben Curtis
Series: Studies in Welsh History (vol 34)
£65.00 |HB | 9780708326107 | 126x138 mm | 320pp
£19.99 |PB | 9780708326114 |
16 photos and 2 maps black and white


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