This film is part of Free
Mining Review 2nd Year No. 11
American actor and singer Paul Robeson visits an Edinburgh colliery, where he regales miners with a rendition of 'I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night'.
The highlight of this 1949 issue is the visit of American actor and singer Paul Robeson to Woolmet Colliery near Edinburgh. Robeson was also a renowned (and often persecuted) left-wing political activist and he made several visits to British mining communities. On this occasion he sings 'I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night' for miners in the canteen, a song about an American trade unionist who was allegedly framed on a murder charge and executed in 1915.
Robeson had long been something of a hero to the British mining community, ever since he starred in the film Proud Valley (d. Pen Tennyson, 1940) as an American sailor stranded in Cardiff who finds work in a Welsh colliery (the newsreel opens with a short clip from the film). The other segments of the newsreel are Safety First, a report on reducing accidents in mines, and Paying For It; an item on the increasing cost of coal.