This film is part of Free

Mining Review 1st Year No. 2

A mass street football game in Workington, and fascinating debates in Glamorgan.

1947 10 mins


Free-for-all footballing in the mean streets of Workington is the rowdy highlight of this second ever issue of the National Coal Board's famous newsreel series. But it's the sober final item that's most fascinating. Miners from Cwmgrach Empire Colliery in Glamorgan frankly debate mechanisation and productivity at their union meeting - revealing tensions in the newly nationalised industry.

This discussion was of course staged for the camera: 'fly-on-the-wall' filmmaking was many years away and not technically possible with the 1940's cumbersome documentary equipment. But these are real miners and by giving fair play to their often sceptical opinions the filmmakers show a disarming honesty - which makes for a subtler piece of propaganda. Together with the fun Workington story, plus informative items on training and opencast mining, it's a thoroughly absorbing snapshot of the late 1940s state of the coalmining nation. This government film is a public record, preserved and presented by the BFI National Archive on behalf of The National Archives, home to more than 1,000 years of British history.