Mansfield is town located in the north of Nottinghamshire. A former mining powerhouse it remains the largest town in the Nottinghamshire county and forms the main town in the Mansfield local government district and part of the Mansfield Urban Area.
The name Mansfield is thought to originate from the river Maun which runs through the town and the surrounding hills of the Maun Valley, the river was historically used to support the agricultural area around it which gave rise to the name Maunsfield, changing over time to Mansfield. The population of Mansfield (including Pleasley, Forest Town and parts of Rainworth/Clipstone) as of 2008 is 67,885.
Coal Mining and The Strikes
Formerly a the town was largely supported by the mining industry along with the surrounding areas of Stanton Hill and Pleasley, Coal mining was the main source of employment in the area with a large number of men of working age being employed by the coal mines. Many Mansfieldians of a certain age will tell the story of finishing school on the Friday and starting down the coal mines on the following Monday.
During the Miners strikes of 1984-1985 coal mine workers in the Nottinghamshire area were less supportive of the proposed nationalised strike owing in part to the better conditions enjoyed by the coal miners in Nottinghamshire when compared with those of coal mine workers in South Wales. This in fighting and the disputed lack of a nationalised ballot caused many miners in the Nottinghamshire area to continue working throughout the strike with the mine at Bentink being the only mine to continue production throughout the strike. This decision to continue working stuck discord with mine workers across the UK leading to violent clashes at the sites of pits that chose to continue operating. The coal miners that became disillusioned with the NUM and chose to continue working eventually separated to form the UDM (Union of Democratic Mineworkers) which has its Headquaters in Mansfield.
Because of the perceived strikebreaking by Mansfield coal miners the insult “Scab” was often applied to people in the Mansfield area, over time this has thankfully waned however it can still be heard in football stadiums when the local Mansfield Town play, predominantly by the supporters of the local rivals Chesterfield FC. The town of Chesterfield was particularly badly affected by the miners strike and it caused great tension in the region between Chesterfield and Mansfield. Prior to the Mining strike the fans of both teams could watch the game in relative harmony and without incident.
Mansfield was also the home of Mansfield Brewery. Built in 1855 on the site of of former coalfields the brewery was once was the largest independent brewer in the UK. At the hight of its popularity in the 1980s Mansfield Bitter was advertised with a photograph of then US president Ronald Reagan with the slogan “He may be president of the most powerful nation on Earth but he’s never had a pint of Mansfield” or “Not much matches Mansfield”. Up until the late 1990′s the brewery was one of the towns biggest employers.
In the later half of 1999 the brewery was sold in a £253million deal to its new owners “Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries” which was followed in 2001 with the movement of production out of the town to other parts of the country. The site of the former brewery fell into a state of disrepair before being fully demolished in 2008, the site has been up for sale but has failed to attract any buyers. Proposals have been pur forward to transfor the site into offices, leisure facilities and residential developments.
These days the public sector is one of the largest employers in the region with many people employed in public sector roles or so called parapublic sector roles. one of the largest employer in the area is Mansfield District Council.
In addition to the public sector there is a large retail sector in the area centred around the historic market square in the centre of the town. There is also the large shopping complex the “Four Seasons Centre” containing many large name stores such as a large Primark, Topshop and W.H Smith.
The night-time economy in Mansfield is also a large source of employment in the region and responsible for a substantive part of the towns economy. The town has many pubs around the town centre including 2 Weatherspoons and a Yates wine lodge. The main focus of the night-life are the prominent night clubs in the town centre.