Following the Second World War, the demand for coal was high and generally rising. Post-war recovery and growth demanded cheap and abundant energy that could only come from coal. There was an urgent need to recruit more miners. One source for these was among the thousands of Europeans who had to flee their home countries during the War.
Although Britain desperately needed these men they were not always welcomed with open arms and there was much resistance from local National Union of Mineworkers' lodges. There was more disquiet when the recruitment of Italians began in 1951, and things were no better when the National Coal Board tried to recruit among Hungarian refugees after the 1956 revolution. By this time another group had already entered the coal field. In 1954 the German mining engineering group, Thyssen UK, came to work in south Wales, bringing some of their own countrymen with them.
As with today's immigrants, these 'foreign workers' faced much initial suspicion, which arose partly from ignorance and partly from the fear of unemployment among the local population. These young men came to Britain after years of hardship, danger and tragedy.
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PEN PUMLUMON ARWYSTLI I, CAIRN
SITE E OF PLAS-LLWYN
Mendez linocut of Paul Robeson
South Wales Miners' Library
MAES Y COED
Moel Siabod with Snowdon in background
Beti goes back to Wales as war begins
Jane Davidson AM - Welsh Assembly Government (1)
Old Llangelynin Church above Rowen
© Casgliad y Werin Cymru, The People's Collection Wales 2011
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