STILLINGFLEET, is the third of a triptych of typefaces inspired by the typography of the UK miners’ strike 1984-1985. Following on from Liaison, inspired Liaison Committee For The Defence Of The Trade Union (LCDTU) placards, and Ferrymoor, drawn from the reverse of the National Union of Mineworkers Ferrymoor Riddings Branch banner, Stillingfleet’s origins are found in the creative enterprise of the miners themselves.
In June 1984, just months after the strike had officially commenced, and days after the infamous events at Orgreave Coking Plant, the Yorkshire Miners’ Gala was held in Thornes Park, Wakefield. The talk of the day surrounded the call by National Coal Board (NCB) chairman Ian MacGregor for a “return-to-work” ballot, something that was vehemently opposed by the miners’ unions and their supporters. “If you get a ballot paper, you burn it” declared President of the Yorkshire NUM, Jack Taylor, a sentiment echoed by MP for Bolsover, Dennis Skinner who added “And if you've got an effigy of MacGregor and Thatcher, it will make it last a little bit longer.” However there was one Stillingfleet miner in the crowd who one-upped the statements with one of his own; his t-shirt bearing the message, in distinct geometric type; “Come home to a living fire, burn Ian McGregor [sic]”.
Captured that day by revered social photographer Martin Jenkinson, who took some of the most enduring images of the struggle, the shirt of Mark Davies has inspired the reinterpretation of the typography into the Stillingfleet typeface. With its unique diagonal cut to the tops of characters, the face features solid but striking quirks which compliment its structure, such as the tails of the G and Q. Completing the set, the font has been developed as an uppercase and small-cap display face with contemporary hairline glyphs to complement Liaison and Ferrymoor before it.
LIAISON, the headline typeface used throughout In Loving Memory of Work, is designed based on the Liaison Committee For The Defence Of The Trade Union (LCDTU) placards which were distributed and held aloft at various demonstrations during the strike, most notably during the Trades Union Congress (TUC) in Brighton, September 1984, six months into the dispute.
The distinct geometric forms of the original face embody the industrial nature and urgency of the disupte with an individual character and flair. Their harsh nature is tempered with such quirks as the crossbar in H and the K’s kinks, but also servetheir intended use being bold and direct in the sea of visual noise that is a mass demonstration. Although unable to track down the original creator of the placards, Liaison is a celebration and homage of the work created urgently and in struggle.
Liaison is available as uppercase and small caps to accomadate the headline hierachy as seen on the original placards. Designed by Craig Oldham and Aaron Skipper, is available for download with proceeds going to the causes of In Loving Memory Of Work.
FERRYMOOR is a second bespoke font designed for In Loving Memory of Work. Ferrymoor takes it’s inspiration from the reverse of the National Union of Mineworkers Ferrymoor Riddings Branch banner which has distinct letterforms, hand-cut and sewn into the banner fabric. It displays the verse “Our reward in society should never be less than the sweat and blood we have to leave on every lump of coal” (Shown above [© Björn Rantil] is the banner leading the march back to work.). Set in countering lines, it creates an uneasy but effective tension on the reading of the verse. The sentiment echoes the words of miner and prominent activist Dave Douglass, who said: “Miners have a hard job, they have to fight the earth for a living”. [Source: BFI, 1984] Contrastingly the front of the banner employs the font in a separately distinct manner, appearing skewed around iconic mining imagery. Below is the banner today showing it’s curious colourways.
Whilst, in today’s context, the font appears to have an almost digital aesthetic and structure, the banner was created in the 1970s and has been on picket lines ever since until the colliery was merged with Selby after the strike. Taking inspiration from the verse, the font has been developed as an uppercase and small-cap display face and incorporated contemporary hairline glyphs to complement Liaison.