At the Coal Face

PDC2020

In the 1940s the mines of Britain were poised for great changes. Generations had faced poor pay and dangerous conditions, and bad management had blighted lives at the coal face. So when a new manager arrives at the Cumberland coal fields he has to gain the trust of the miners and their union leaders to strike a new agreement including a daily wage, which will ultimately pave the way for nationalisation.

With miners and management as actors, The Cumberland Story (1947) is a true account of the modernisation of the mines in the 1940s. It includes a dramatic reconstruction of the Ladypit disaster of 1837, when callous
mine-owners neglected safety and 36 men died as workings beneath the Irish Sea were flooded.

Rhondda and Wye (1948) explores the famous Welsh valleys and contrasts the development of the Rhondda’s
collieries with the pastoral scenes of the farmlands and plains of the Wye valley.

DIRECTED BY: HUMPHREY JENNINGS

TOTAL RUNNING TIME: 60 mins, b/w.

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