60th anniversary – Death of Nottinghamshire controversial miners’ leader.

22nd November 2017 sees the 60th anniversary of he death of George Spencer, the controversial Nottinghamshire leader.  He died in Nottingham City Hospital at the age of 84 on 22nd November 1957.

The controversy surrounding George Spencer dates from the 1926 Miners’ Lockout when he led the breakaway Nottingham Miners Industrial Union (NMIU).  The NMIU was an industrial, non-political union in that it did not align itself entirely with the traditional labour movement.  In October 1926 he was expelled from the Nottinghamshire Miners Association (NMA), a constituent section of the Miners Federation of Great Britain (MFGB), for negotiating a return to work for miners still out on strike at the Digby Colliery Company pits near Eastwood.  From September 1926 the majority of miners in the Nottinghamshire Coalfield were back at work.  The Lockout commenced in early May 1926 and was accompanied by the nine-day General Strike from the outset until that collapsed on 12th May 1926. The NMIU lasted from 1926 until 1937 when it merged with the NMA to form the Nottinghamshire Miners Federated Union (NMFU) following the Harworth Colliery disturbances of 1936-37.  He was President of the NMFU until his retirement in 1945, the year the Nottingham Area of the NUM came into existence.

Many commentators from the left suggest the spectre of Spencersim never left the Nottinghamshire Coalfield and that accounts for the actions of the Nottinghamshire miners in the 1984-85 miners strike.  However, for others Spencer is more of a visionary than a villain as he was the driving force behind the formation of the Notts Miners Pension Scheme which was formed in 1939.  Today many Nottinghamshire miners receive a county pension in addition to their benefits from the nationwide Mineworkers Pension Scheme (MPS).