Established in 2019, the UK National Workplace Day of Remembrance takes place on December 12th each year. It's a time to remember everyone who lost their lives at work, whatever their job, whatever their level, whatever their industry, whatever their politics - they served and sacrificed in our economy. Show them your respect by stopping work and observing a minute's silence at 12 noon. If you have a flagpole on your building, fly the flag at half mast.
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National Workplace Day of Remembrance
For those who died while working to live
The Oaks Disaster
In 1866, the worst disaster in British mining history occurred at The Oaks Colliery, Barnsley, South Yorkshire. It was the worst disaster in England, and remains so, and was the worst in the world for 50 years. But few people have heard of it. Worse still, the reports were conflicting about the causes, and there is still no final definitive list of who and how many died. Research and efforts to raise a memorial to commemorate the disaster in 2016 highlighted the huge numbers of unknown workers, managers, contractors and others who have died at work and whose service and sacrifice is unremarked and unmemorialised. A national scandal. Supporters of the memorial campaign who encouraged the follow-up campaign to establish a National Workplace Remembrance Day include the Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, Dan Jarvis MBE, MP and Paul Routledge of the Daily Mirror.
Black Snow - The Film
In 2016 Stephen Linstead, a Professor at the University of York and from a mining family found he was living just over a mile from where the disaster occured, which was half a mile from his grandfather's house. Local volunteer charity People and Mining with support from the National Union of Mineworkers and funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund asked Steve to research and direct a film about the disaster and their efforts to raise a memorial. Co-produced and edited by Andy Lawrence with VRFX sequences by Alan Andrews, the film has received 79 international awards and Official Selections, including UKRI/AHRC Best Research Film of 2018 presented at BAFTA, and Best Film at the Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards. It has been shown around the globe in North and South America, Australia, Europe, India and Indonesia. It has been shown on the Together TV Channel 26 times including on December 12th, the anniversary of the disaster in 2017 and 2018, and the first NWDR in 2019. It will be shown again in 2020, under the title Yorkshire Mining Disaster, and for a few days after. The film has been an important means of drawing attention to the NWDR.
Education and Information
Alongside the film, a 110 page full colour illustrated book was produced. The Oaks Disaster: A Living History, by Paul Darlow, complemented by the DVD of the film, is available to schools and individuals but makes a wonderful and vivid enhancement to learning events with rare images and untold stories. Paul is himself a former miner and former teacher and has designed accompanying teaching materials available online to help embed awareness of social history and the need to remember the service and sacrifice of our ancestors into the curriculum. Paul, other mining historians, and musician/educator Jed Grimes have developed "mining days" for schools and are always willing to discuss your needs and where possible, help to present a full day's events from Level 5 upwards.
What to Do
At noon on Thursday December 12th, simply stop work and observe a minute's silence for all those who died trying to support their families and our economy. Ask your employer to observe it workplace wide and spread the idea.
If your workplace, church, local council offices or similar public building near to you have a flagpole you could ask them to fly the union flag at half mast.
To help you present the case, you could read the article at
The Black Snow Roadshow
To promote the importance of social history and remembrance, and drive the campaign for the
NWDR, Steve and musical director of the film, Jed Grimes, incorporated it into a 90 minute performance and released a CD to go with it. They have taken the show to the Edinburgh Fringe
in Scotland, Ripon International Festival in Northern England, and Broadstairs Folk Festival in
the South and are keen to spread the message as far as possible. More information, bookings,
book, DVD, CD etc: