Stories from the Miners’ Strikes: Billy Elliot Real World Connections Segment 3

Our last story about the real people and history behind the story of Billy Elliot comes from the son of the people featured in the first two stories.

“Since the strikes were in ’84-’85, I am too young to have any experience of the strikes myself. In 2015 my wife and I went back to visit my family in Yorkshire. While we were there I took my dad to the National Coal Mining museum in Caphouse Colliary in Overton, another village near Wakefield. (Fitzwilliam, where his dad had been part of the strike, is also near Wakefield.)

One of the things you can do at the museum is take a tour 460 feet underground into the old coal mine. We began our decent wearing hard hats and head lamps in a rickety old elevator as we listened to the water trickle down the mine shaft around us.

This was the first time my dad had ever been “down the pit,” and despite all the work he had done during the miners’ strike, he was able to get a new appreciation for just how tough of a job it was. This was the job that caused his dad’s accident when my dad was only 10 years old, and eventually the job that killed him.

During that same trip we had the chance to watch the West End performance of Billy Elliot the Musical. It’s a story that I think captures the essence of all the stories my dad told me about the miners’ strike when I was a kid.”