It’s the 100th anniversary of the Mapplewell and Staincross Hospital and Comfort Fund Sing, the last surviving mining village choir singing event of its kind. Local lad Brian Blessed is on hand to talk to those involved and explore the history and ubiquity of singing in Yorkshire mining villages, inspired by the strength of the Methodist chapel in mining communities. This documentary provides a unique insight into a historical practice that has now vanished.
This Yorkshire Television documentary, part of the Northern Line series, was directed by Tony Scull who made many documentaries with a musical theme. The villages of Mapplewell and Staincross had virtually merged by the time North Gawber colliery was sunk in 1855. After nail making the pit became the main employer, employing over 1,400 by 1949. After the 1984/85 strike it merged with nearby Woolley colliery, closing in 1987. Methodism was a strong presence, with John Wesley preaching in Mapplewell in 1761 and Staincross in 1786. Raising money for local hospitals was the norm right up to the introduction of the NHS. It seems that the annual singing event came to an end shortly after this film.
Yorkshire Film Archive collects, preserves, and shows film made in, or about Yorkshire. Our collections are non-fiction, dating from the 1890s to the present day, and providing a rich and visually compelling record of all aspects of lives, cultures, landscape, industries, major events and everyday activities, many of which are available to watch, free of charge, on our website.