Coal Miners' Union Badges

Badges are an important way of showing a person's allegiance to a particular cause or interest. They can also commemorate a particular event.

There are many examples of badges connected to the coal industry. These badges were usually produced during industrial disputes or following mining disasters and were often sold to raise funds.

The greatest number of badges were produced during and after the 1984-85 miners' strike. They came in various shapes and colours but usually gave the name of the National Union of Mineworkers (N.U.M.) Lodge or area, as well as a particular symbol. This could be an icon of the mining industry such as a lamp, headgear, crossed pick and shovel; or an example of working class symbolism such as clasped hands, broken chains and the scales of justice. In addition, badges produced in Wales often include a red dragon or a leek.

The Industry Department of Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales has collected several hundred examples of these badges. Some are on display at Big Pit National Coal Museum and examples can be seen on our Images of Industry collections database.

If you would like further information, you may be interested to read 'Enamel Badges of the National Union of Mineworkers' by Brian Witts (2008).

Click on the thumbnail below for a selection of Badges from our Images of Industry collections database.

Related

  • ArticleThe Miners Strike of 1984

    12 March 2009
    NUM official picket
    On 1 March 1984 the National Coal Board announced that it planned to close 20 coal mines with the loss of 20,000 jobs. The year-long strike that followed changed the political, economic and social history of Wales forever.