This film is part of Free

Costa del Coal

Mad, bad' poet Lord Byron and a lobster thermidor feature in a melancholy tour of Seaham with popular TV presenter Johnny Morris.

Documentary 1971 27 mins

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It's a coastline that leaves the Costa del Sol standing, perspiring, but it is doomed to be forever the Costa del Coal.' Presenter Johnny Morris is in a melancholy mood on a tour of the fading harbour and town of Seaham, which 'fell asleep' in the 30s, and owes its life and death to coal. The harsh lives of miners are chiselled into the epitaphs on local graves but he notes signs of hope for a revival in the town, especially when he tucks into a tasty local lobster thermidor.

This early 70s Tyne Tees TV documentary on Seaham harbour and environs is tinged with children's television presenter Johnny Morris's nostalgia for his home town in South Wales, also a victim to the fortunes of coal mining. Seaham town and port were originally developed by Charles Stewart, the 3rd. Marquess of Londonderry, to better manage his coal industry. The fate of the East Durham mines was finally sealed in the decade after the divisive miners' strike of 1984. Work at Dawdon Colliery ended in 1991. As this fascinating documentary reveals, Seaham Hall was once the home of a 'prophet of the computer age', Ada Lovelace, daughter of Lady Anne Isabella Milbanke and infamous poet Lord Byron.