This film is part of Free

Jim Bullock: Miner Extraordinary

A rare example of social mobility as an ex-miner crosses the class divide, while still retaining some loyalty to his former community.

Documentary 1969 37 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


This is a fascinating portrait of a man that neatly encapsulates the transition from pre-war to post-war Britain. Former miner Jim Bullock, born in 1903, rose to pit manager to landlord, straddling the class divide by having to deal with the miners’ union and also setting up a new union for management; all the time remaining a socialist. His discussions with fellow Yorkshireman Austin Mitchell in 1969 open up the vanished world of mining communities and trade union power.

This documentary follows up on a four-part series of conversations with Jim Bullock aired on Radio 4 in December 1968, around the time of his retirement as President of the British Association of Colliery Management, a position he had held since 1956. Following the publication of his autobiography in 1972, ‘Them and Us’, another three programmes were made by BBC North; and a further film, ‘The Boy From Bowers Row’, was made after his second book of memoirs with the same title was published in 1975. Fryston closed in 1985, along with 22 other pits, in the immediate aftermath of the great miners’ strike. At the time of this film there were over 82,000 miners working in 50 collieries in Yorkshire, there are now none.