This film is part of Free

Our Smallest Colliery

A Lancashire farmer's fields yield an unusual crop

Non-Fiction 1927 2 mins Silent


The small team of miners at Paradise Farm colliery, Shevington (near Wigan), seem both competent and content, but their equipment betrays the constraints of a small operation: their descent into the pit is lit by candles, not safety lamps. It's an easier ride out on cable railway wagons bringing coal to be sorted and bagged for the consumer. From farm to fireplace, this is local fuel for local people.

The colliery's diminutive size provides the novelty interest that attracted cinemagazine Gaumont Mirror to this story. But the film adds some political grit with a reference to the pit's easy labour relations. Contemporary cinemagoers wouldn't fail to remember the previous year's General Strike in support of mine workers' pay and conditions. Alas, though, the jobs of the seven men working here were far from secure. The Wigan coalfields had already passed peak production and this tiny pit closed a few years later.