Miner’s vote for Maggie

Signal box - The bleak and isolated siting of the Idsworth signal box illustrates the loneliness of the signalman's lot

THIS WEEK IN 1970: Time runs out on the lonely reign of a signal box man

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Last week I was climbing in the Lake District and on the way down from a peak I met an elderly man going up. He was 73 and came from Barnsley.

He spoke with that wonderful deep Yorkshire accent and we stopped to exchange a few words as one does on mountainsides.

He had never been to the Lakes before, but he also said that he had only been south of the River Thames once and that was to visit Croydon.

He told me he had been a miner for 22 years. To get to a coalface he and his workmates had to descend a mile and then travel three miles underground.

One day a pit prop collapsed on him. His face was crushed into the coal dust and he was being suffocated. He was rescued at the last minute. Three months later he gave it all up and became a lorry driver.

His opinion was that although it caused many to be out of work and many old mining communities were lost, the best thing Margaret Thatcher ever did was to close down the mines.

‘The most evil, filthy and dangerous job ever to be conceived,’ were his words.

Just a different point of view that puts a different light on mining - and from a former miner.