The National Coal Board Collection Volume One

Portrait of a Miner: a beguiling invitation into the domestic, community and working life of miners and their families.

Elemental, visual, dramatic: coal mining is not only deeply cinematic, but as a huge part of British life for centuries, has profoundly shaped our society. This collection showcases and celebrates the extraordinary work of the National Coal Board Film Unit – operating between 1947-1984 – producing films to inform, entertain and galvanise working people across the country.

From intimate drama-documentaries and sublime cartoons to the sheer pleasure of topical tales from the Mining Review cinemagazine, this collection is a beguiling invitation into the domestic, community and working life of miners and their families.

With stories from coalfields across Scotland, Wales and England – from pit ponies to brass bands, cutter loaders to the five-day week – this set presents over five hours of remastered material, and contains an extensive booklet featuring newly commissioned contributions from Lee Hall (writer of Billy Elliot), the BFI’s curators and other researchers.

“It’s a tour de force collection of unusual and recently archived documentaries about the industry… All the films in this five-hour collection are so good they ache for repeated viewing.” Ken Russell, The Times

Disc one

  • Mining Review 1st Year No 1 (1947)
  • King Coal (1948)
  • Nines Was Standing (1950)
  • Miners Health Centre, from Mining Review 2nd Year No 3 (1948)
  • Mining Review 2nd Year No 10 (1949)
  • Mining Review 2nd Year No 12 (1949)
  • Plan for Coal (1952)
  • The Shovel (1953)
  • Time Out from Mining Review 7th Year No 8 (1954)
  • Balletomines from Mining Review 7th Year No 12 (1954)
  • Hungarians in Britain from Mining Review 10th Year No 8 (1957)
  • New Power In Their Hands (1959)
  • Mining Review 13th Year No 4 (1959)
  • Stormy Genius from Mining Review 13th Year No 8 (1960)
  • Arthur Clears the Air (1961)
  • Whitehaven Whippets from Mining Review 15th Year No 7 (1962)
  • Mining Review 16th Year No 6 (1963)

Disc two

  • Songs of the Coalfields (1964)
  • Big Job (1965)
  • Portrait of a Miner (1966)
  • Nobodys Face (1966)
  • The First Adventures of Thud and Blunder (1964)
  • Mining Review 20th Year No 9 (1967)
  • Hands, Knees and Bumps a Daisy (1969)
  • Mining Review 22nd Year No 5 (1969)
  • What About That Job? (Case Studies for Management No 1)(1970)
  • The Bother Breeder (Case Studies for Management No 4 (1970)
  • Man Failure (1971)
  • Ill See You (Too Late Now No 2) (1976)
  • A Beautiful Memory (Too Late Now No 3 )(1976)
  • You Pick the Moment (Too Late Now No 4)(1976)
  • Miners (1976)
  • Review 32nd Year No 1 (1978)
  • 40 Years on (1978)

Product information

    • Certificate


    • Colour

      Colour and Black/white

    • Sound


    • Running time


    • Original aspect ratio


    • DVD region

      • 2 Europe (except Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus), Middle East, Egypt, Japan, South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, Greenland, French Overseas departments and territories

    • Catalogue number


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