Letter: Coalfield turmoil

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Sir: D S Hoskins offers an inaccurate account of the Rhondda troubles of 1910 (letter, 31 August).

There was a riot in Tonypandy on 8 November 1910 when one miner (Samuel Rays) died following clashes with the police. The Home Secretary, Winston Churchill, had ordered hundreds of Metropolitan policemen to South Wales, where miners were on strike over a wage claim. Following the riot soldiers were sent to the coalfield.

According to the Times correspondent there was in the Rhondda "the same oppressive atmosphere that one experienced in the streets of Odessa and Sebastopol during the unrest in Russia in the winter of 1904. It is extraordinary to find it here in the British Isles." The strike lasted until October 1911, when hunger forced a return to work. The parallel with Margaret Thatcher's 1984 assault on "the enemy within" is clear.