PHOTOGRAPHS BY KEITH PATTISON. WORDS BY DAVID PEACE
The Strike of 1984–85 shook the foundations of British
society, tearing apart traditional mining communities
and leaving them in tatters.
Twenty-five years on and after thirteen years of a Labour government, there are many communities,not only former industrial ones, that languish outside the mainstream.
And as David Cameron, castigating against ‘broken Britain’,
takes power, No Redemption looks back at one particular
brokencommunity, Easington Colliery.
In August 1984, Keith Pattison was commissioned by Sunderland’s Artists’ Agency to photograph
the strike in Easington Colliery for a month. He remained
there on and off until it ended in March1985, photographing from behind the lines a community rallying together against implacable opposition.
Making, as the documentary film- maker John Grierson said ‘creative use of actuality’, Pattison frames a narrative
sequence of images from the optimism of August, through
the deepening pessimism of winter, to the final vote to
return to work.
Twenty-five years later, on 6 May 2010, Election Day, Pattison took David Peace to Easington to interview three of the people caught up in the strike –Alan Cummings, Marilyn Johnson, and her husband Jimmy.
Their memories, still freshly felt, make explicit the anger, pain, resilience and warmth captured in the photographs.
© keith pattison - photographer