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.
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.