Shotton, 1984: How Thatcher destroyed our town

It’s easy for some to say, now she is dead, that they had nothing personal against Thatcher. For my family and neighbours it doesn't get more personal

Share

By the time I came I moved to Shotton, North Wales, the town Margaret Thatcher killed in 1980, you could already tell that it would never recover.

By the time I met my father in law, a man Margaret Thatcher destroyed in 1980, you could already tell that he would never work again. The heart had left the town: the heart had left him. He died soon after. Not at the age of 87 and living in the Ritz but at the age of 59 in the council house that he had too much sense of solidarity to even think of trying to own for himself.

It’s easy for some to say, now she is dead, that they had nothing personal against Thatcher. It was just her policies. As she once said, no, no, no. When someone sends one of your family in to a depression that pushes them in to their grave it is personal. It doesn’t get more personal. This is why I despise her. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t.

When I first moved to Shotton in 1984 you could see what it had once been. The steel works lay on the one side of the river Dee; the town that supplied its work force of once 12,000 men on the other. The town had twenty pubs, almost ten working men’s clubs. On Saturday nights it was standing room only after 7 o’clock. Nearby Connah’s Quay had a town hall that boasted a neat set of 50s offices, a swimming pool  and an always in use ballroom.

By the time I arrived the first flush of redundancy monies had been spent. Already the new car or caravan that had been bought seemed no compensation for having no job to go to. Already the children of the (mainly) men who’d been laid off were turning to drugs.

Already anyone with a red rosette was guaranteed to win any election provided they mentioned how great the steel works had been and kept quiet about how little their party had done to stop its closure

Thirty years on I would like to say something sunny about the place. When I see pictures on the telly of people who seem to be genuinely upset at the death of Thatcher I seem to be living in another country to theirs. I see squat men who seem to have made a few quid on their council house or shares in British Telecom or any other company that used to belong to all of us.

Or a misty-eyed woman from Maidstone who looks as if she once painted her face with a union flag and cheered a lot for Tim Henman. Maybe she has a small chain of beauty salons that specialize in dubious practises. They've done well from the Tories. Still are. They will be following her funeral next week. People in Shotton will not. There are people who will never forgive Thatcher for destroying their town, their family.

I am one of them.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: UI / UX Designer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm are focussed on assis...

Recruitment Genius: General Processor

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - B2B

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: Our representatives must represent us

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
MP David Lammy would become the capital’s first black mayor if he won the 2016 Mayoral election  

Crime, punishment and morals: we’re entering a maze with no clear exit

Simon Kelner
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot