This film is part of Free

Big Pit

Memories of Blaenavon Colliery, Monmouthshire, as it nears its end.

Industry sponsored film 1978 7 mins


Images of Blaenavon Colliery, Monmouthshire, nearing its death, starkly adorn the soundtrack’s fascinating and poignant oral history, courtesy of men whose memories of mining there stretch back to the turn of the 20th century. This commemorative film was produced, in a nicely understated style, by the film unit of the National Coal Board - the body responsible for managing and, now, closing the pit.

Blaenavon had witnessed many changes - of both ownership and technology - but the one constant was the camaraderie of the men who worked there. Director-cameraman John Reid, a thirty-year veteran of coal filmmaking, wisely sticks with a simple and spare technique, making for a moving rather than sentimental viewing experience. The mine, the film dares suggest, "will leave more than a passing imprint". And in fact it has. Blaenavon today is the site of The Big Pit National Coal Museum of Wales.