This film is part of Free

Black Diamonds

A Barnsley miner dreams of shooting a film about life down the pits in this audaciously ambitious amateur feature.

Amateur film 1932 50 mins


Inspired by the Cadeby Main pit disaster, this is former miner and amateur director Charles Hanmer's innovative and audaciously ambitious feature debut. It's the tale of brassy Yorkshireman John Morgan's (played by Dewsbury's Beckett Bould) quest to convince an MP to finance a film about pit life. Threading stories about safety and technology with sketches of miners' hobbies, it's a holistic portrait of Barnsley pitmen.

The film follows up Hanmer's 1928 documentary Tour of a British Coal Mine (also available on BFI Player), and re-cuts many of its underground sequences to craft a campaign denouncing dangerous working conditions and calling for greater recognition of miners' sacrifices.