K

Kane Mick

Mick Kane

Kane was the brother of Jock Kane and uncle to Bridget Jones (see separate entries), and he was also a Communist and a miners’ leader.

Pic: Mick Kane is in the centre of the Harworth banner (and again below)

Mick became famous for leading the struggle against the right-wing break-away `union’, which was led by George Spencer the former official miners’ union leader in Nottinghamshire, which began to spread after the General Strike. Dislike of Spencer’s tame body was so great that the break-away could only be fostered in Nottinghamshire by the virtual outlawing of the official Miners Federation of Great Britain(MFGB) local Notts affiliated miners’ union by the employers.

The TUC pressured the MFGB to ballot vote on a merger of the two Notts miners’ union but MFGB affiliated miners overwhelmingly rejected the notion. Overall, despite the intense pressure to desert the union in the coming difficult years, around a fifth of miners consistently kept loyal and support was especially strong at Harworth Colliery, which was actually geographically closer to Yorkshire than Nottinghamshire.

In 1936, Kane, as the president of the local MFGB-affiliated branch, led a six-month strike for union recognition. The strike was marked by intense harassment and intimidation from police and mine owners. Mick Kane was charged with creating a riot and was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment with hard labour and a dozen or so others received sentences of from four to fifteen months. 

Despite this, lengthy proceedings did eventually result in a merger, whereby Spencer became, for a short period from 1937, the President of the united Nottinghamshire.

Below: a copy of the supportive greetings telegram sent to Mick Kane in Lincoln Jail from Sybil Thorndyke and Lewis Casson, the socialist actors and, in Casson's case, director and producer.