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Absorbing overview of coalmining in the early years of nationalisation.

Documentary 1950 36 mins Silent


This absorbing coalmining documentary reveals a great industry - and workforce - undergoing great change. The film, sponsored by the then still new National Coal Board, was aimed at schools. Once you get past a rather austere style and deliberate pace (common to educational films of the time), it becomes an interesting longer-form counterpart to the NCB's Mining Review series, which was directed at adult audiences.

The film is of course partly intended to aid recruitment from among its older classroom viewers. Paralleling the division between technology and social stories in Mining Review, it's divided into three rather unequal parts. The first and longest, taking us through a 'typical' miner's shift underground at Hilton Main colliery, Staffordshire, works well as a self-contained documentary and a primer on the technological state of play in 1950 (still early days in the NCB's mechanisation strategy). Then we have a section on miners' leisure emphasising, as in Mining Review, miners as individuals living varied - and cultured - lives above ground. Finally comes 'Mining and the Future', which could almost have wandered in from another film, outlining in urgent tones the reform of the industry that began with nationalisation only three years earlier. In the 1960s, The Miner was withdrawn from circulation as both its content and style were judged outdated - which by then they certainly were.