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HEATHFIELD, Betty (1927-2006)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 106 7BEH
Held at: Women's Library
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Full title: HEATHFIELD, Betty (1927-2006)
Date(s): 1962-1986
Level of description: fonds
Extent: 2.5 A boxes (1.5 A box catalogued; 1 A box uncatalogued)
Name of creator(s): Heathfield | Betty | 1927-2006 | women's campaigner
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

Betty Heathfield (1927-2006) was born into a mining family in Chesterfield, Derbyshire. She attended Chesterfield Girls' School and won a university scholarship, which she did not take up for financial reasons. Instead she left school at sixteen to work as a secretary in a local engineering company and became interested in left-wing politics, joining the Young Communist League. In 1953 she married Peter Heathfield, a miner who became the general secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers. She was active in her own right in labour politics in Chesterfield, as a member of the Co-Operative Women's Guild, and a founding member of the Derbyshire Women's Action Group. She became one of the spokeswomen and leading members of the national Women Against Pit Closures organisation during the miners' strike of 1984-1985. Alongside Anne Scargill she led the support campaign for miners' families - organising financial aid, holidays for children, and touring the USA and Canada to raise support for British mining communities. She also took part in an oral history and writing project to document the experiences of women during the action. After the end of the strike, Heathfield studied for a politics degree at Lancaster University. She was also involved in a Women's Co-operative Guild Age Exchange Theatre Company project on the history of the Guild. After suffering from Alzheimer's disease she died on 16 Feb 2006.


Scope and content/abstract:

The archive consists of transcripts of interviews with members of the Women Against Pit Closures group collected by Betty Heathfield, relating to their involvement in the 1984-1985 miners' strike. It includes a draft of an unpublished book by Betty Heathfield about the strike entitled 'Women of the Coalfields' based on these oral history interviews. This portion of the collection is available in the form of transcripts that have been anonymised to protect the identity of the interviewees.

The archive also consists of transcripts of oral history interviews, collected by Betty Heathfield, with older members of the Women's Co-operative Guild (WCG) and working papers and drafts on the history of the Guild; papers relating to the WCG and Age Exchange Theatre Company, 1983. This portion of the collection is uncatalogued and not yet available.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:

This collection is partially available for research. The catalogued portion of the collection is available for research, uncatalogued material remains unavailable.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Finding aids:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Collection stored in The Fawcett Library Office until Jan 1994 when the decision was taken to treat the collection as an archive. The interview transcripts were anonymised in Jun 2006.

Allied Materials

Related material:

The Papers of Jean McCrindle, including records of Women Against Pit Closures, are also held at The Women's Library, ref: 7JMC. The records of South Wales Women Against Pit Closures are held in Glamorgan Record Office. Additional oral history material is catalogued in Strand 8.

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Finding aid created by export from CALM v7.2.14 Archives Hub EAD2002. Edited for AIM25 by Sarah Drewery.

Rules or conventions:
In compliance with ISAD (G): General International Standard Archival Description - 2nd Edition (1999); UNESCO Thesaurus, December 2001; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:

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