This film is part of Free

Island Built on Coal

Insightful documentary charting the decline of industrial relations in mining culminating in the 1984-85 strike

Industry sponsored film 1986 42 mins


"You've got to be a miner to understand how drastic and final are the effects of a pit closure". Made in the immediate aftermath of the tumultuous UK miners' strike (1984-85), this enlightening documentary charts the gradual decline of industrial relations in the coalmining industry from the point of nationalisation in 1947 to the closures of the 1980s. The strains of Mozart's Requiem over excerpts from Mining Review newsreels depicting lifeless collieries and deserted villages conjure an aptly elegiac tone.

The film includes interviews with current and former representatives from both sides of the coalmining industry. The Newcastle-based Trade Films made campaigning films and videos for the trade union movement between the mid-1970s and the mid-1990s. An Island Built on Coal was one of many Trade films on the subject of industrial relations. Horden colliery, Durham, whose fate was hanging in the balance at the time of filming, was closed on 7 February 1986, after the film was completed.