The Yorkshire Film Archive collects, preserves, and shows film made in, or about Yorkshire. Our collections are non-fiction, dating from the 1890s to the present day, and providing a rich and visually compelling record of all aspects of lives, cultures, landscape, industries, major events and everyday activities, many of which are available to watch, free of charge, on our website.
This film is part of Free
Selby: The Saving Face for Coal
The most advanced deep coal mine in the world opens while those who work it stand by their fellow miners, as the future of both the miners and coal mining is decided on the picket line.
Documentary 1984 23 mins
From the collection of:
A rather inauspicious time for one of the largest, deep coal mines in the world to come on stream, as the miners enter a year long bitter battle with the government in 1984. Amidst the state of the art coal cutters and the high hopes for the £1 billion complex, the miners demonstrate both their bravery and their solidarity; while as hostilities intensify, the two main protagonists, Arthur Scargill and Ian MacGregor, take time out to state their case.
The defeat of the miners’ strike in 1985 was a decisive turning point for the trade unions in Britain. Although ostensibly the strike was purely over the closure of unproductive pits, some argued that defeating the miners was also part of a political agenda of the Thatcher government to disable the power of the trade unions. The documentary repeats the NCB line of closing 20 pits, although Cabinet papers released in 2014 revealed that Scargill was right in his claim that the real figure was above 70 pits. The Selby complex proved not to be “the saving face of coal”, failing to last the 30 years predicted in the film, but rather started to make a loss shortly after being privatised in 1995, eventually closing in 2004.
Coal on Film
Documentary 1950 36 mins Silent Location: Featherstone
Absorbing overview of coalmining in the early years of nationalisation.
Animation & Artists Moving Image 1964 2 mins
Miners' safety training - marked by stylish animation and gallows humour.
Advert 1935 42 mins Silent Location: Cardiff/Caerdydd
Coal, between the world wars, makes the industrialised world go round and Cory Bros & Co Ltd, with collieries in south Wales and oil refineries across the globe, is a major player.
Industry sponsored film 1978 7 mins Location: Blaenavon
Memories of Blaenavon Colliery, Monmouthshire, as it nears its end.
Documentary 1954 18 mins
Elegiac sponsored film imploring viewers to "allow the sun to penetrate the haze of ignorance" and relieve British cities of pollution.
Advert 1975 1 mins
Deliriously kitsch recruitment ad for the implausibly glamorous world of coalmining.
Factual TV 1983 3 mins Location: Selby
Yorkshire’s long and proud history of rhubarb cultivation is rejuvenated and protected in this insightful news piece.
Amateur film 1981 17 mins Location: Selby
Outdated gender stereotypes aside, this detailed and well-made film captures the profound competitiveness of locals at the Selby Gala.
1936 16 mins Silent Location: Selby
Evidence of a time when people commonly kept budgies in cages, did card tricks, went to Sunday school, raced motorcycles on Scarborough beach and were transported by A4 Gresleys.
Cinemagazine 1974 10 mins Location: Selby
Fascinatingly wrong 1970s predictions of how UK energy needs will be met in the future.
Amateur film 1963 5 mins Silent Location: Selby
A chance to see men busy welding and fitting out at one of the many small shipyards that used to dot the country, filmed by one of their fellow ship workers.
Campaigning film 1936 31 mins Silent Location: Hyde Park
Poverty and hunger compels angry, jobless workers - including Jarrow's crusaders - to make a historic march to London to petition government.
Mark Kermode Online In 3D with Richard Curtis - A Love Actually Special Mark Kermode Online In 3D with Richard Curtis - A Love Actually Special
Discussion programme 2020 38 mins
This festive season, Mark Kermode takes a deep dive into his favourite ever Christmas movie, Love Actually, with writer and director, Richard Curtis..
Anthology 2020 52 mins Silent
Immerse yourself in an enchanting compilation of newly-restored rare images from the first years of filmmaking.
Mark Kermode Online In 3D with Kathleen Turner, Henry Blake and Julien Temple Mark Kermode Online In 3D with Kathleen Turner, Henry Blake and Julien Temple
Discussion programme 2020 30 mins
The funniest, best loved and most respected film critic in the UK talks to an array of guests from the world of film including Kathleen Turner, Henry Blake and Julien Temple.
Mark Kermode Online in 3D with Meera Syal, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Greg Proops and more Mark Kermode Online in 3D with Meera Syal, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Greg Proops and more
Discussion programme 2020 65 mins
The funniest, best loved and most respected film critic in the UK talks to an array of guests from the world of film including Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Meera Syal, Ben Roberts, and more!
Mark Kermode Online In 3D with Riz Ahmed, Aleem Khan, Joanna Scanlan, Tricia Tuttle and Ben Wheatley Mark Kermode Online In 3D with Riz Ahmed, Aleem Khan, Joanna Scanlan, Tricia Tuttle and Ben Wheatley
Discussion programme 2020 45 mins
Mark takes a look back at the 2020 BFI London Film Festival, speaking to Festival Director Tricia Tuttle about the challenges of this year and chatting to the creators of two of the Festival’s most talked about titles: Mogul Mowgli and After Love.
Mark Kermode Online In 3D with Morfydd Clark, Rose Glass, Segun Akinola and Be Manzini Mark Kermode Online In 3D with Morfydd Clark, Rose Glass, Segun Akinola and Be Manzini
Discussion programme 2020 56 mins
The funniest, best loved and most respected film critic in the UK talks to an array of guests from the world of film including Morfydd Clark, Shola Amoo, Be Manzini, and more!
About the archive
Know this place?
Do you recognise a place, building or location in this film?
Help us populate the Britain on Film map by spotting and plotting the street or location you know. This is a BFI project and anyone can help.
Go to our Britain on Film crowdsourcing site and contribute to our mapping mission – to identify locations within our archive films.Add a location