Midlothian’s 100 Objects - A Blinkbonny miner’s badge

A badge awarded to a sacked Blinkbonny Braidwood miner. Photo: James Hogg/Scran
A badge awarded to a sacked Blinkbonny Braidwood miner. Photo: James Hogg/Scran

During the coal dispute and miners’ strike of 1984-5, William Hubbard was the only miner at Blinkbonny Braidwood open cast mine, near Mayfield, to support the industrial action.

He was dismissed as a result. However, his case was taken up by his union, which won a court action to have him reinstated.

This badge was issued to commemorate the reinstatement of William Hubbard.

It shows a miners’ lamp and an arm swinging an axe. It also notes the name of the mine (Blinkbonny Braidwood), Hubbard’s trade union (the National Union of Mineworkers), and his name.

The attempted reform in the 1980s of Britain’s coal mining industry by the Conservative Government led to a trade dispute which lasted more than a year.

The strike, which affected Bilston Glen and Monktonhall Collieries in Midlothian, split communities, and in some instances, families.

A number of miners were sacked and within a decade the number of men working underground had reduced dramatically.

By 1989, Bilston Glen, once described as the jewel in the crown for the National Coal Board, was closed. Monktonhall was mothballed in 1987 but was reopened in 1992 by a miners’ co-operative. It finally closed in 1997.

Many believe that the defeat of the union was a deliberate political strategy.

Photo: James Hogg/Scran

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