Films in which the story of British industries are told using archive and interviews with the workers
The story of the British coal mining industry, told with rare archive and interviews with the people who worked in it. The programme features the original 1980s documentary on the industry, followed by a new film which brings the story of our coal mines right up to date.
Coal had powered Britain's industrial rise, with her mills and furnaces, railways and steamships depending on it. In the peak years a million men laboured in the mines, many in poor and dangerous working conditions like those contributor Dick Martin found when he began as pit boy aged 14. Miners and managers tell of the poor conditions, insecurity and technical backwardness that helped the case for nationalisation in 1947. But the new NCB over-estimated the future need for coal. After massive post-war modernistaion programme, too much coal was being brought up by too many miners, and with the cutbacks came more conflict.