Friday, May 19, 2006

Putting mines on the map

Putting the mine fields on the map

Just read one of the most ridiculous and laughable suggestions that I've seen for years!

This from BBC News/Tyne:

A campaign has been launched by MPs calling for disused pits to be marked on Ordnance Survey maps.

The group of nine has signed a motion calling for former pits to be recognised in the same way as other archaeological and historical sites.

The campaign led by MP for Blaydon Dave Anderson is being backed by former miner Barry Chambers, who worked at Blackhall Colliery, in Durham.

What a "naff" idea! I don't know what these MPs use the Ordnance Survey Map for, the majority of us use it when walking, needing some extra detail about gradients, footpaths, bogs, marshes, telephone boxes, and public houses to rest at.

To suggest that pits have such a historical significance as battlefields and cathedrals stretches the imagination to the realms of sheer fantasy. What will we add next? Some symbols to tell us where there used to be a shipyard? A symbol to indicate the site of a former steelworks? A symbol marking the demise of the British car industry? What about something to mark the existence of a long gone farm? Should the map show Westoe Lane station in Spohr Terrace, Low Shields Station in Station Road or all the other railway stations that we used to have?

We certainly don't require an indication on the map of South Shields to remind us of the injuries to policemen in Leighton Street during the last NUM strike, nor do we need something to show us where "the battle of Orgreave" took place, or the spot where Sir Ian MacGregor was felled at Ellington in Northumberland by the footsoldiers of Scargill's follies!

It is worth remembering at this point the contribution of the NUM to the demise of British mining, their strike actions helped to price thousands of their members out of jobs from what were uneconomic pits to start with, their influence within the Labour Party helped make it unelectable for nearly twenty years!

I'm all in favour of marking the contribution of British mining, but not on the OS Map, I much appreciate and enjoy the existence of museums such as the Woodhorn Colliery in Ashington, "F" pit in Washington, the recreated drift mine at Beamish. I also enjoy enormously reading the contribution of Durham miners in their excellent website, a rich source of information indeed.

It is time that some of these MPs (including the Member for Jarrow) remembered that they are supposed to be part of a "modernising" Labour Party, it is time for them to stop living in the past and take a reality check!


BBC News

Durham Mining Museum

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