This film is part of Free

Two Weeks Clear

As a coachload of miners drain a crate of beer each on a trip to Scarborough, several talk onions, another hustles at darts and one acts the clown.

Documentary 1973 52 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


1973 - with the NUM at the height of their power and militancy, when a group of miners from Denby Grange Colliery go on a boozy day out at Scarborough, a fellow miner organises the display for his local allotment society at the Wakefield Show, while another hustles the local darts players for pints in a pub in Bridlington. Meanwhile, face worker Ted Pickles spends his two week holiday with his family in Mablethorpe with a Punch and Judy show and performs as a clown in the circus.

The film went out on 17th December 1973, after the miners had rejected a pay offer and had an overtime ban. Prime Minister Heath ordered a three-day week to conserve coal stocks, and on 5th February the NUM began a national strike prompting Heath to call a general election two days later – resulting in a hung Parliament. Ted Pickles continued clowning right up until his death in 1998 – inspiring others in his wake – even during the yearlong 1984 Miners’ Strike, when Denby Grange (aka Caphouse or Overton Colliery) stayed out for the entire duration. It was closed in 1991 with the loss of some 700 jobs. The Horbury Allotment Association won gold, and Jack Cowley went on himself to become a horticultural judge.