When the coal mines were nationalised in 1947 the National Coal Board set up a film unit which captured a slice of social and industrial history which has all but vanished now. The monthly short film, The Mining Review consisted of dramas, documentaries, news items, musical interludes, even animation that would be regularly shown in the cinemas before the main presentation.
As well as seeing the workers at the coal face, latest trends in health, safety and technological innovation such as hydraulic pit props there were training films telling you how to shovel, miners doing ballet dancing years before Billy Elliot (whose author is featured here) visiting singers such as Paul Robeson from the USA and renowned British folk singer Ewan MacColl. There were also the battle of the colliery bands. It was not all men, you see the miners families on holiday, taking part in various arts, crafts, sports and even at one point beauty contests presumably featuring the teenage daughters of the mineworkers.
By 1983 the film unit had its day and by 1984 the miners strike lead to the industry to a severe decline. These film reels are what is left of the days when coal was king.
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