Yorkshire nostalgia: The day Margaret Thatcher went 1,000ft down a Yorkshire mine in a ‘five ton bucket’

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It was March 1980 when Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, famous for her matching two-piece suits and immaculate hair, went down t’pit in Yorkshire.

She apparently “looked apprehensive as she was lowered into a five-ton steel bucket” down the Wistow development, as part of a tour of the Selby coalfield.



She went down to a depth of 1,000ft and spent 25 minutes underground.

When she re-emerged on the surface, she said: “It was very exciting. This is a most marvellous development.”

Some 500 police were on duty - brought in on specially commissioned coached - to ensure her visit went off without trouble.

At the time, steel workers were striking. Some 200 steel strikers were kept more than half a mile away, along with another 48 made up of their wives. Police, however, outnumbered picketers by more than two to one.

Wistow, the last of the five mines at Selby, which churned out more than 120 million tons of coal in the last 21 years, ceased production on Tuesday October 26, 2004.

Thatcher, of course, was famous for later smashing the miners’ union.