The Mines of Tunstall

Tunstall lies just to the north of Stoke on Trent and Hanley. It’s part of the same urban configuration that stretches around those towns.

This was a mining area. In the early 1980’s the last of the cast mines were still operating. Residential streets ran right up to the mines and the artificial hills they had created.

In some of the older pits, reclamation had started, removing the industrial structures, levelling the ground, and grassing it in the hope of better times to come.

But there was no hope. The early 1980’s was the time when Margaret Thatcher’s new conservative government faced the seemingly overwhelming strength of the mining unions. The strikes and protests were angry and sometimes violent. Ultimately it broke the strength of the unions, but it also ripped the soul from the community.

These pictures come from a recently discovered collection of my negatives. They’ve been scanned to digital and the contrast corrected, but not modified in any other way.

There’s also more pictures of the mines in the first of the Pottery collection – see Black Hanley.

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