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A Day in the Life of a Coal Miner

This short profile of mining life from silent film studio Kineto was a key film in the development of British documentary.

Industry sponsored film 1910 10 mins


This early example of an ‘interest’ film from Charles Urban's Kineto company captures the daily routine of the average coal miner, from his early-morning goodbyes through the full day’s work and eventual evening journey home.

It’s now regarded as a key film in the development of the British documentary, long before the term was coined, for its utilisation of staged sequences and the creative application of contrasts and inter-titles, in a manner familiar to the later lexicon of documentary cinema. A Day in the Life of a Coal Miner is presented here in a restoration by the BFI National Archive supported by the Headley Trust. Although this presentation is silent, the film is available in a scored version on the BFI DVD compilation Early Cinema: Primitives and Pioneers.