Zed Nelson
Disappearing Britain
Yorkshire miners

I photographed the miners of Maltby Colliery in Yorkshire as they came off a ten-hour shift. Their pit was a hit-list for closure – one of 30 pits due to be shut down by Thatcher’s conservative government. Their idea was mass privatisation or closure of public companies, and the coal industry was a prime target. Coal could be imported more cheaply from abroad, the government told us. Many of the coal-miners had worked in the pits all their life, as had their fathers and grandfathers. As coal miners were made redundant, unemployment often followed.

“I’ll do anything when I leave this pit, work in a factory, anything. I’ve never been unemployed in my life. One of our lads, and electrician, applied for a job at a factory. There were 10 jobs going, and 800 applied... so what chance have we got?”