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The Cumberland Story

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The Cumberland Story U rating

Humphrey Jennings’ post-war documentary chronicles the modernisation of the Cumberland coal mines in the 1940s.

Government sponsored film 1947 45 mins

Overview

In this documentary from Humphrey Jennings, miners and managers provide an account of the modernisation of the Cumberland coal mines in the 1940s. The film includes a dramatic reconstruction of the Ladypit disaster of 1837, when 36 men died after workings beneath the Irish Sea flooded, which was blamed on lack of safety provision by callous mine-owners.

Although made shortly after Jennings’ more famous war-time propaganda pieces, The Cumberland Story displays the director’s continuing social conscience, and his flair for crafting affecting stories out of real-life incidents. This said, most Jennings fans consider it one of his lesser productions.